Republican Sens. Snowe and Collins — Hurting Their Own Chances in Future Elections?

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I saw on TPM’s Election Central that moderate Republican senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are endorsing John McCain for president. It’s a bit odd because Snowe and Collins, both from Maine, have come out against the surge that is so thoroughly associated with John McCain that is being called the “McCain Doctrine.” But they have years of experience working together in the Senate back when John McCain was a moderate, so I can understand the move.

But it got me wondering. A ton of people are talking about John McCain’s presidential hopes like they are dead in the water, because McCain is the main proponent of a failing and miserably unpopular war and because McCain’s move rightward to embrace social conservatives/extremists has lost him support amongst independents and failed to convince some of the most important figures of the religious right. If McCain becomes persona non grata in a few months — previously unthinkable, right? — will House and Senate candidates avoid him on the ’08 campaign trail the same way Republicans avoided Bush in 2006?

Let’s say that is the case. The folks who are going to eat it the worst are the moderates, because a leftward shift in American voting (I won’t say a leftward shift in America, because I think this is still a conservative country) will swallow up those closest to the water mark. Witness the loss of Lincoln Chafee in last year’s midterms. That means Snowe and Collins are up next. Snowe was just reelected in 2006, which is why she can afford to align herself with a potential political landmine like McCain, but Collins has a reelection battle coming up in less than two years. Trouble brewing…

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