Snowe: I no longer recognize Republican Party

I saw this clip circulating Facebook today and thought I’d share:

Speaking to CNN Newsroom’s Ashleigh Banfield on Tuesday morning, former Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said “extreme” elements within her party have made it unrecognizable from the one she joined many years ago.

Snowe said people she spoke with were “disgusted” by the government shutdown, and had this to say when Banfield asked whether the Tea Party had “co-opted and threatened” the GOP so much that there was no longer any room for moderates:

“Well, there’s no question that that’s a problem within the Republican Party. Obviously it’s moved to the extremes. I wouldn’t characterize everybody within the Tea Party movement, but certainly there are broad elements within the party now that are driving their own agenda for their own advantage, irrespective of what implications it has for the Republican Party. And certainly, this isn’t a party that I recognize and the party that I joined when I first enrolled, and that’s regrettable.

“This is not helping the Republican Party currently, that’s for sure, and I think that clearly there’s going to have to be a rebuilding within the party, and to recognize that this imperils the future of the party as it stands today. But I would urge people to get involved right now in citizen activism, and engagement. Weigh in with your lawmakers, use social media, use your online technology and communicate how disgusted and fed up you are with this process and this shutdown, and tell them to go back to work and to solve the problems for this country.”

During the interview, Snowe also called for open primaries so that no ideological faction could operate unchallenged in the power vacuum of gerrymandered House Districts.

Snowe, respected during her 18 years in the Senate as a pragmatic moderate, opted not to run for re-election last year, citing hyper-partisanship and Congressional dysfunction.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.