No GOP retaliation against Snowe

Even though it might feel good to stick it to the Maine senator, and punish her for her vote on the Finance Committee, the fact is that her lone wolf stand on health care reform was only "to move the process along," as she says in this Politico piece by Lisa Lerer and Manu Raju:

"My job as whip is not to twist her arm but to bring all the information that we can bring to bear on the issue and hope that people vote the way we would like to see them vote," said McConnell's No. 2, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

Kyl said a heavy-handed approach "doesn't work."

And indeed, it could backfire - not just with Snowe but with other Republicans who've indicated that they could cross over to help Democrats pass some of President Barack Obama's top domestic policy initiatives.

In an op-ed in The New York Times over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested that he's open to supporting a Democratic climate change bill. And in an interview published this week in POLITICO, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said he was willing to try to find common ground with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on rewriting the rules for Wall Street.

Republican leaders know that if they crack down hard on Snowe, they risk pushing her and other wavering Republicans into the arms of the Democrats. So, instead, they'll lobby their own intensely in order to keep the GOP united and force the Democrats to find 60 votes by themselves.

Snowe has indicated that she may draw the line at a public option - an almost certain part of any final bill given the liberal's stance on the issue. So perhaps she will vote "No" against any bill that comes out of conference committee.

As for Graham, he is a lost cause. Anyone who would think that cap and trade bill will create a single job more than all the jobs that will be lost is simply ignorant. His grandstanding won't change things anyway.

What is remarkable to me is that so few Republicans are signing on to these major items in the Obama agenda. Denying the Democrats the fig leaf of bi-partisanship won't stop them from becoming law, but it will certainly make it easy to assign blame once the public realizes exactly what the Democrats are up to.