My latest piece for Newsweek.com just posted, this exploring whether Maine senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are vulnerable on their right in these Tea Partying times.
As you'll read, the fate of Maine's senators is also that of the old Northeastern (or "Rockefeller") Republican tradition, the one that created the G.O.P. and ran it for the first century of its existence. These "old school" Republicans claim to uphold a decidedly Yankee combination of frugality and (government-directed) social reform, both outgrowths of the Calvinist mission of the early Puritans. But the Sunbelt-controlled national party has swerved to the right since the mid-1960s, declaring government the enemy (and, often, Jesus as their policy adviser), driving many Rockefeller Republicans into the ranks of the unenrolled or into the arms of the Democrats. Their supporters gone AWOL, moderates can find themselves in a tough spot in winning over increasingly conservative Republican primary voters.
There's input from both senators, Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee, a national pollster, and a wide range of Maine politicos. After reading, you may wish to peruse Public Policy Polling's polls -- here and here -- on the Maine Senators' alleged vulnerability. I've also written in more detail about the state of the Maine G.O.P. in this article at Down East.
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