Speaking about the House health care bill, the "moderate" Olympia Snowe sounds off:
"I do not know what world they live in," Snowe said in an interview. "But all I know is it is totally detached from the average person, the average business owner who is struggling to keep their doors open and to have that level of taxation is breathtaking in its dimensions. I just think it is so out of proportion with reality and with mainstream America that it is hard to believe, frankly."
On a day when the $1 trillion House bill picked up support from key interest groups -- which, in turn, prompted President Barack Obama to make a personal visit to the White House press room to tout the endorsements -- Snowe's words are a reminder of the dissent surrounding the bill.
Out of all of the election results from yesterday, the anti-tax ballot measures in Maine and Washington (known as TABOR) provide a better political tea leaf into voter attitudes going into the 2010 election cycle than anything else. The good news is, progressives won big on a topic that will likely define the nature of the midterm election.
A central tenant of the right-wing agenda has been rejected with the defeat of TABOR (known deceptively as the "taxpayer bill of rights") in these two states -- states that are diverse from each other in almost all respects. Maine's measure went down with a resounding defeat, 60% to 40%, while Washington's campaign came from behind with a 55% to 45% rebuff.
A few weeks ago, conservative columnist and tea party champion John Fund wrote in the WSJ that: "If voters in Maine or Washington state pass a taxpayer bill of rights, it will be a clear sign that even in blue states the public is coming to believe that government spending is out of control and that elected officials can no longer be trusted to rein it in. That's a message that will likely reverberate in Congress regardless of who wins in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races."
As Washington reels from the news of 10.2 percent unemployment, the Center for Responsive Politics is out with a new report describing the wealth of members of Congress.
Among the highlights: Two-hundred-and-thirty-seven members of Congress are millionaires. That’s 44 percent of the body – compared to about 1 percent of Americans overall.
“Many Americans probably have a sense that members of Congress aren’t hurting, even if their government salary alone is in the six figures, much more than most Americans make,” said CRP spokesman Dave Levinthal. “What we see through these figures is that many of them have riches well beyond that salary, supplemented with securities, stock holdings, property and other investments.”