May 10, 2011

TWO NEW ENGLANDERS OUGHT TO BE BETTER AT HIDING THEIR FEELINGS:

Maine senators may not like each other much, but they share love of state, job (Martha Sherrill, May 5, 2011, Washington Post)

The most exasperating fact of life for a U.S. senator is not wrestling with those impossible, angry windbags across the aisle. The true test of civility is forging a relationship with that one other person who was sent to Washington to work alongside you. That unwanted sibling with whom you must share everything: a beloved home state, a prestigious job and all the voters out there in the dark.

If you happen to be members of the same party? Even worse.

Same-state rivalries abound in the Senate. And delicious tales of clashing egos and epic grudges are widely shared — doled out by insiders like pieces of Hill candy. Some of these special relationships matter more than others. For years, tensions along the border of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry fascinated Senate-watchers, because both Massachusetts patricians had such sway.

Now the complex partnership to watch is the team from Maine. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both moderate Republicans, are wedged into a tight political corner together. As the polarized right and left duke it out for airtime and dollars, these two women — often ignored — have unprecedented power.

Publicly, the duo is known for voting together. Lockstep. Straight down the middle. In the past 15 years, they have voted in unison on war, taxes, gays, guns, health care and the stimulus package. And when it came to the 2008 presidential election, they both went early for John McCain.

But raise their names among staffers, journalists, even other senators, and the first thing mentioned isn’t their voting record, but the wintry chill between them. Their Capitol Hill nickname, The Sisters, reflects both their public synchronicity and their private conflict.

“Did you say you were writing a dual profile — or, is that d-u-e-l?” asks Sen. Joe Lieberman with a chuckle. He is a close friend and colleague of Collins. “Oh, I shouldn’t have said that.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted by at May 10, 2011 6:35 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« ISN'T THE TRUE IMPORT OF THE DEED...: | Main | TAX WHAT YOU DON'T WANT: »