Yesterday afternoon, Laurie Kellman of the Apparatchik Press -- er, the Associated Press -- opened a supposedly straight news report with the following:
Forget Sarah Palin. The female maverick of the Republican Party is Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Kellman's opening is revealing on a number of levels. To bring Palin into this at all exposes the establishment press's obsession with dissing her at every conceivable opportunity. It also classically employs the "sudden respect" technique the media has used for decades to buck up Republicans who sell out core principles. Finally, it sends a message to male Republican "maverick" John McCain that he's being upstaged, and that to keep his media cred he should join hands with Snowe in acquiescing to statist health care.
Here are other paragraphs from Kellman's Snowe congratulatory:
.... "When history calls, history calls," Snowe told her colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee, several hours into the debate.In other words, per the last paragraph, Snowe's vote carried zero political risk. Maverick, schmaverick.
Snowe had kept virtually all of Washington guessing how she would vote, not even letting Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., or Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana in on her secret. She did call her Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Tuesday morning to break the news about her plans.
.... There was much relief in Democratic ranks when she finally said, "Aye," and the bill was approved 14-9.
For months, Obama had pursued her support in phone calls and meetings. Snowe could be the Democrats' 60th vote required to overcome Republican objections to the bill and give the final version the barest quality of bipartisanship.
At the White House, shortly before the vote, the president singled out "in particular Senator Snowe," for thanks.
.... Breaking with her party is a role Snowe has played many times, from her vote for Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus bill to her defiance of then-President George W. Bush on a bill to provide health are to millions of uninsured children.
Snowe also was one of the "Gang of 14" Democratic and Republican senators who resolved a standoff over judicial nominations.
In Maine, former Gov. Angus King, a political independent, compared Snowe's decision to the late Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith's "Declaration of Conscience" speech in which she called for the nation—and her own party—to reject McCarthyism.
.... "I don't think there's any possible negative political implication," said Sandy Maisel, director of Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. "She is untouchable electorally in the state of Maine."
Allahpundit at Hot Air is spot-on in his critique of the vapid quote that began my excerpt:
The Palin comparison is useful, though. If Sarahcuda had said something as comically insipid as “When history calls, history calls,” Tina Fey would have an entire skit built around it on SNL this week. As it is, our moronic media’s treating it as some sort of faux-profound rendezvous with destiny.
Snowe's vote was really a rendezvous with desertion.
I should also point out for the benefit of Angus King and others that Margaret Chase Smith was wrong about the presence and influence of communists in the 1940s and 1950s, and Joe McCarthy was right ("Most scholars, having also used Soviet archives, concede his [author M. Stanton Evans's] position [that McCarthy was right] and argue now only over secondary matters").