Salting Snowe

Erick Erickson is angry at liberal Republican Olympia Snowe’s announcement yesterday that she’d sign on to the Baucus version of health care reform in exchange for a seat at the negotiating table.

Olympia Snowe has sold out the country. Having been banished to our world after Aslan chased her out of Narnia, Snowe is intent on corrupting this place too.

So we should melt her.

What melts snow? Rock salt.

I’m going to ship this 5 pound bag of rock salt to her office in Maine. It’s only $3.00. You should join me.

It is a visible demonstration of our contempt for her. First she votes for the stimulus. Now this.

When I saw the post this morning, following a link from memeorandum, it struck me as a monumentally silly idea but not interesting enough to bother to write about.  After further consideration, though, I’ve changed my mind.

First, as John Cole points out, Erick is not only urging readers to send rock salt to a United States Senator but to do it via an Amazon affiliate link that nets money for RedState!  (I wonder if this violates the new FCC disclosure rules?)

Second, as Duncan “Atrios” Black observes, “sending large quantities of a white somewhat powdery substance to Senate offices” might be a tad problematic.

Third, he’s having readers send said salt to a suite in Maine rather than to her Capitol Hill office.

Fourth, Steve Benen correctly notes that the scheme makes no sense to begin with:

A right-wing blogger who isn’t a Snowe constituent has sent rock salt to a Senate office — a package that the senator will never see — even if sent to a district office in Maine.* He wants others, most of whom will also not be Snowe constituents, to do the same. None of these packages will ever actually reach

And then what? The Republican senator will be vaguely aware of the fact that right-wing activists don’t approve of her moderation? I’m pretty sure she knows that already. Is this supposed to influence Snowe’s issue positions? Is she likely to think, “Well, I was going to vote for this bill, but some folks outside Maine sent me rock salt so perhaps I’ll reconsider”?

Indeed, an intrepid commenter points out “Sen. Snowe can probably make a lot of her constituents happy by distributing free bags of rock salt this winter. Thus boosting her re-election prospects.”

Sending her bags of salt is going to befuddle her, perhaps, but it’s not going to change her mind.  The bottom line is that Snowe is a liberal Republican who’s superbly attuned to her constituency.  Maine isn’t a Red state and few of its residents read Red State.

It’s conceivable, even somewhat likely, that Snowe’s voting with the Democrats will further alienate her from her caucus. Perhaps she’ll even be stripped of key committee assignments. In which case she’ll join Arlen Specter in bolting to the Democratic Party.  Which, given the unlikelihood of the Republicans regaining the majority soon, might be in her interests, anyway.

Is it frustrating that Snowe and perhaps Susan Collins will vote with the Democrats and make it easier for Obama to pass a bill that’s anathema to most other Republicans?  You betcha.  But unless we’re going to become a permanent minority party, we’re going to have to be able to win some seats in the Northeast.  That’ll mean accepting something less than lockstep party discipline on issues where there’s serious regional disparities in viewpoint.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    Perhaps she’ll even be stripped

    The thought of Ollie Snowe being stripped is enough to make me puke.

  2. Erick Erickson? Let’s hope his son breaks the patronym.

  3. kth says:

    There are two ways you can hope to influence a Senator from the state of Maine: your vote (i.e., you have to live there), and/or your campaign contribution, and the promise/threat thereof. Stunts like the salt bags fall into neither category.

    Also, salt packets (like from a McDonald’s) would not only be cheaper, but also cuter and a nice tie-in with the teabags they were mailing out a couple of months ago. (you could even fit a teabag and a salt packet in one first-class envelope!)

    E.g.., “dear sen. snowe: here’s hoping this salt packet will melt some of the “snowe” making your heart so cold as to help ‘president’ barry hussein soetero destroy the greatest nation in the history of the universe”.

  4. legion says:

    James, you’ve just given this pathetically cheesy attempt at ‘activism’ more thought than Erickson – nay, anyone _at_ RedState – utilizes in an entire week’s worth of bloviating. Just build a macro that posts “News Flash – RedState full of useless boneheads!” and copies a link…

  5. Alex Knapp says:

    Erick Erickson? Let’s hope his son breaks the patronym.


    I think you’re missing the possibilities here. Think of his son: Erick ErickEricksonson.

    And his grandson:

    Erick ErickEricksonsonson.

    And his great-grandson:

    Erick ErickErickEricksonsonsonson.

    And, of course, his great-grandson:

    Erick ErickErickErickEricksonsonsonsonson.

    I think that would be awesome…

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    For me its not that it is anathema to Republicans, but that it is a bad bill that will further entrench the system we currently have. This is precisely the wrong way to reform health care.

    And, of course, his great-grandson:

    Erick ErickErickErickEricksonsonsonsonson.

    I think that would be awesome…

    Are you Georeg Costanza…and are you going to name your first child Seven?