It’s safe to assume President Obama isn’t going to be dusting off any of the old “no red states or blue states” taglines during his reelection, at least not unless he wants to give the country a very big laugh. But the president does still try to pay lip service to the importance of bipartisanship every once in awhile, most recently when Sen. Olympia Snowe, one of the most moderate Republicans in the Washington, announced she wouldn’t run for reelection this year.
Here’s Obama’s glowing statement about Snowe last month:
“For nearly four decades, Olympia Snowe has served the people of the great state of Maine.
Elected to the state House in 1973, Olympia went on to be the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress.
From her unwavering support for our troops, to her efforts to reform Wall Street, to fighting for Maine’s small businesses, Senator Snowe’s career demonstrates how much can be accomplished when leaders from both parties come together to do the right thing for the American people.
Michelle and I join Mainers in thanking Senator Snowe for her service, and we wish her and her family all the best in the future.”
Snowe has a long history of reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats, and has given Obama bipartisan support on his most significant legislative accomplishments. Considering that, and the recent high praise from Obama, it may surprise you to learn that Snowe hasn’t had a substantial meeting with the president in two years, ABC reports. In fact, Snowe says Obama has met with her less frequently than any other president since she first came to Congress in 1976:
If there were ever a Republican for President Obama to work with, it was Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. She was one of just three Republicans in the entire Congress to vote for his economic stimulus plan in 2009 and even tried to work with him on health care, but in an interview with ABC’s senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl, Snowe makes a remarkable revelation: She hasn’t spoken to President Obama in nearly two years.
Snowe said that if she had to grade the president on his willingness to work with Republicans, he would “be close to failing on that point.” In fact, Snowe, who was first elected to Congress in 1976, claims that her meetings with President Obama have been less frequent than with any other president.
ABC’s Jonathan Karl poses the obvious follow-up: “If he’s not reaching out to you, who [on the Republican side] is he reaching out to?”
“That’s a good question,” replies Snowe.
If the president didn’t even make an effort to build a relationship with Olympia Snowe, then he didn’t make an effort to fulfill his bipartisanship promise, period. Let’s see the White House try to blame that on Republican obstructionism.