As she wraps up her final year on Capitol Hill, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), to her credit, doesn’t mind calling out her own party – at least on contraception access.
Just a few years ago, Snowe recalled, she stood with President Barack Obama as he signed the Fair Pay Act named after Ledbetter. The political debate today “comes to contraceptive coverage,” Snowe said.
“You know, it really is surprising, because I feel like it’s a retro-debate that took place in the 1950s,” Snowe said. “It’s sort of back to the future, isn’t it? And it is surprising in the 21st century we would be revisiting this issue. And Sandra Fluke should have been commended, not condemned, for her courage in expressing her own views and beliefs before members of Congress.”
Snowe’s right and it’s a welcome sentiment. But I can’t help but notice the Republican senator had a different concern last week.
Snowe complained bitterly to ABC last week that President Obama deserves a grade “close to failing” when it comes to cooperating with congressional Republicans, adding that the president stopped reaching out to her after she refused to cooperate with him on bipartisan proposals.
The two thoughts are not unrelated. Perhaps Obama has found it impossible to work with congressional Republicans because (a) they’re more interested in restricting access to contraception than governing in the 21st century; and (b) even ostensible moderates like Snowe balked at working in good faith with the White House?