Snowe Departure Exposes GOP Rift
Corker says Americans trust the GOP on “Big Issues” - but he’s living in the past because that all changed when the GOP threatened a fragile economy by holding bills hostage and surely did not survive this primary season’s clowncapades.
Sen. Olympia Snowe’s bombshell retirement announcement brought into focus the fault line within GOP ranks: Conservatives are demanding a sharper focus on bedrock principles, and party strategists are more concerned with courting swing voters.
It is a fight that has raged inside the GOP since the rise of the tea party movement in 2009 — the “electability” vs. “real conservative” argument — and is also playing out in the nominating battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
The abrupt departure of the moderate Snowe could heighten those intraparty tensions within the Senate. Snowe complained that toxic partisan battles have made the Senate unworkable, and she acknowledged Wednesday that the GOP’s task of winning the majority may be more challenging because of her retirement.
Some Senate Republicans — despite the fact that they have to defend only 10 seats vs. 23 for Democrats — worry that they may not win a majority this year and are concerned that Republicans have yet to offer a compelling governing vision for voters.