Power Point: Grow the tribe

April 30, 2009, 1:34 AM UTC

“Being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of “Survivor” — you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe.”

— Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine in an Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times, referring to Senator Arlen Specter’s flight to the Democratic party. Snowe’s passionate argument is that her party could have avoided losing Specter, but “we overreached in interpreting the results of the presidential election of 2004 as a mandate for the party…Republicans turned a blind eye to the iceberg under the surface, failing to undertake the re-evaluation of our inclusiveness as a party that could have forestalled many of the losses we have suffered.”

Snowe, who has been a Republican senator since 1995, is ominous about the GOP’s future: “There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party.”

I stopped by to see Senator Snowe this afternoon. It was an off the record visit, but she told me that she and her staff wrote the Op-Ed in three hours. It was easy to pull together, she said, because those fervent opinions of hers were already in her head.