Olympia Snowe: I Quit Because Senate Is Hopeless

Maine senator says it's become a depressingly partisan knot

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 2, 2012 11:59 AM CST

(Newser) – Olympia Snowe has had it with the Senate's intractable partisan gridlock. In a Washington Post op-ed, Snowe explains her impending retirement, and she doesn't mince words. "Simply put, the Senate is not living up to what the Founding Fathers envisioned," she writes. "The greatest deliberative body in human history is not living up to its billing." Today's Senate "routinely jettisons regular order," legislates via partisan brinkmanship, and eschews open debate.

Part of the problem is that America "is increasingly divided into red and blue states," such "that there is no practical incentive for 75% of the senators to work across party lines." Things are so dire that she doesn't think the Senate can be fixed from within, so her new goal will be to build public support for the political center from the outside. "I am convinced that, if the people of our nation raise their collective voices, we can effect a renewal of the art of legislating." Click to see why one person thinks Snow might have a third-party run for the presidency in mind.

In this Feb. 28, 2012 file photo, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine speaks to media outside her office on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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