Snowe Tacks Right With Tea Party
Last week, colorful Tea Party activist Andrew Ian Dodge announced that he will be the second Republican entering the 2012 primary election against Senator Olympia Snowe.
The day before, in what is likely more concerning news for the Senator, the Tea Party Express, a powerful national activist group known for defeating moderate Republicans, announced it has begun raising money to launch a campaign against her re-election.
News like this, along with low poll numbers among likely Republican primary voters, seems to have made Snowe a bit more conscious of the need to reach out to her party's conservative wing. This became apparent yesterday when she submitted a long letter in response to a set of questions sent to her by the Tea Party group Maine Refounders.
Some of the answers from her response shows a different side of the Senator than the one most Maine people have known in the past.
In March of 2010, when the Affordable Care Law passed, Snowe's objections to the law were mostly about process and technical issues within the law. The only time she mentioned the individual mandate in her contemporary press releases on the subject or in her
Where Snowe's tone was once dissapointment about the outcome of the bill, now it's anger.
Snowe's statement to the Tea Party calls the Affordable Care Act an "egregious assault on individual freedom and the free-market system," particuarly the individual mandate.
She tactfully declines to endorse the Maine Republican Party's Tea Party-inspired platform, but there are other answers where a shift to the right is also apparent.
The first question that Snowe answers stands out. Snowe is asked "Would you support a law Banning Sharia Law in the U.S.?" Instead of choosing not to endorse the Tea Party's conspiracy theory that Muslims are attempting to take over America's legal system, she decides to give their paranoia the official stamp of a U.S. senator.
Snowe says that "I would strongly oppose any and all attempts to apply Sharia law in the United States," then lists some of the worst aspects of the islamic legal system, such as amputations and stoning, then takes things a step further, declaring that "I oppose the use of foreign laws in interpreting federal or state laws or - even more troubling - the U.S. or state constitutions."
Members of the Tea Party group say they sent questions to all four of Maine's members of Congress. Snowe was the only one to reply.