Mr. Reid will gather the group in his office, on the second floor of the Capitol for its first official meeting on Wednesday. The group includes Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, the Finance Committee chairman, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, who was acting chairman of the HELP committee when it passed its health care bill and representatives from the White House.
Jim Manley, a spokesman for Mr. Reid, said that Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, the lone Republican on the Finance Committee to vote in favor of the bill, would be invited to future sessions. And Mr. Manley said the Democratic leader was prepared to go to substantial lengths to hold Ms. Snowe’s support.
“He is prepared to do what he can to keep her on board while putting together a bill that can get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster,” Mr. Manley said.
After all, many presidents (Nixon, Clinton, Truman, Johnson) have tried and failed to get the health care bill they wanted passed the United States Senate. Snowe is basically being told that she can write whatever health care bill she wants. This is more say than has been offered to any president in the past 100 years.
You see Snowe has achieved a level of power far in excess of that of a mere president in our multi-branch system of government with its checks and balances. The mock title “President Snowe” simply does not do justice to the amount Max Baucus, Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama have invested in her. Her sway on the issue of health care reform is closer to that of absolute monarch than of any American president in history. I think Empress Snowe more properly summarizes how completely some in the Democratic leadership are prepared to defer to her.