It would be easy to over-interpret this statement from Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), but it would be a mistake to dismiss it.
“I’ve always been a Republican for the traditional principles that have been associated with the Republican party since I became a Republican, when I registered to vote. And that is limited government, individual opportunities, fiscal responsibility, and a strong national defense. So I think those principles have always been a part of the Republican party heritage. And I believe that I reflect those views and I haven’t changed as a Republican. I think more that my party has changed.
So is Snowe about to pull an Arlen Specter? That would be wildly speculative. But is it a sign that she feels out of step with her colleagues as they try to kill health care reform? I think so. And when you compare that to the fulsome praise she offered President Obama, and her statement commending the Baucus bill, it seems pretty clear that–at least in public–she’s leaning toward working with the Democrats on health care reform, specifically Baucuscare.
And she wants the GOP to know that she has an ace up her sleeve if they try to retaliate against her.