Today’s committee vote for a key health-reform measure isn’t the first time Sen. Olympia Snowe has broken with fellow Republicans—and leads Laurie Kellman to call her, and not former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s real maverick. Snowe also voted for President Obama’s stimulus package, Kellman notes for the AP, and against President Bush on bill extending health coverage for kids.
“This is a vote of conscience and a vote of concern for her constituents and concern for the country. And I think it took plenty of courage,” said Angus King, a former governor of Snowe’s notably independent home state of Maine. “I don’t think it’s possible for any of us to fully appreciate the pressure she's under and has been under to vote with her Republican colleagues.”