Following from that previous post —
If history is about chaps, and geography about maps, what to say about the State of Maine?
Just as the shape of Ireland on the page has a sort of teddy-bearish look to it (even down to Lough Neagh providing the eye), Maine might, just might be Homer Simpson in a bad light.
Then the State seems a bit of an after-thought, the left-over of the American Colonies — and it was never one of the Colonies, only achieving separation from Massachussetts as an aftermath of true War of 1812. If you don’t see the connection between the secession in 1820 and that rather pointless, pathetic War, it’s because the mercantile classes of Maine sympathised with the British and refused to defend against an invasion from Canada.
In politics, Maine has two quite-remarkable Senators, both (by contemporary standards) “moderates” — and Malcolm fully recognises that term damns them in the eyes of extremists. Angus King is an Independent (though caucuses with the Democrats) and Susan Collins is that most egregious of creatures, a RINO, and one of “the last survivors of a once common species of moderate Northeastern Republican“. At one stage Collins and Olympia Snow were the two Senators from Maine — which must mark some kind of feminist achievement (or recognition of talent by the electors) — and were instrumental in getting President Clinton extricated from that jumped-up impeachment.
Well, Susan Collins is at it again
As the government shutdown dragged on, Senator Susan Collins of Maine was spending another weekend on Capitol Hill, staring at C-Span on her Senate office television as one colleague after another came to the floor to rail about the shuttered government.
Frustrated with the lack of progress, Ms. Collins, a Republican, two Saturdays ago quickly zipped out a three-point plan that she thought both parties could live with, marched to the Senate floor and dared her colleagues to come up with something better. A few days later, two other Republican female senators eagerly signed on — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who overcame the Tea Party to win re-election in 2010, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who benefited from the Tea Party wave.
Together the three women started a bipartisan group whose negotiating framework formed the centerpiece of a tentative Senate deal nearing completion Monday to reopen the federal government and avert a disastrous default.
Let me count the ways (and means)
The “three-point plan” sounds simple, but isn’t:
First of all, the first point of the plan would fund government for the next 6 months at the level of $986 billion. So that would allow for government to immediately re-open.
Second, it would repeal the tax on medical devices and equipments such as x-ray machines and pacemakers. This tax will only serve to drive up the cost of health care because it will be inevitably passed on to the consumer. It will stifle innovation. And industry estimates it will lead to the loss of some 43,000 jobs. It is a tax that does not makes sense.
The third point of our plan … would provide flexibility to federal managers in dealing with sequestration, but it does so in a way that preserves the important congressional oversight.
The first of those acknowledges that the GOP line is for a short-term commitment — whereas the Obama choice would be a longer-term increase to the overall debt ceiling. The second would almost certainly attract wide support from all sides: the tax is profoundly unpopular. The third amounts to budgetary column-shifting, a “virement”.
We few, we happy few, we band of sisters
Just four of 46 Republican Senators (8.6%) are women — apart from the three mentioned above, the fourth is Deb Fischer from Nebraska (pro-life, pro-guns, “staunch conservative”). There are sixteen Democrats, out of 52 (30.7%).
What intrigues is how women — and women as “moderate” as modern Republicanism just about tolerates — seem to be making the running.
Credit where it is due.