That's the headline from the failed vote for a two-year moratorium on the practice, isn't it? In March , an earmark moratorium went down 68-29, and Snowe voted against it. Today the moratorium failed by a 56-39 vote, and Snowe was among the Republicans who switched her vote to oppose it.
What changed? Bob Bennett, Mike Castle, and Lisa Murkowski lost Republican primaries. Tea Partiers have made it crystal clear that
they're going to challenge Snowe in 2012
, with a resurgent Republican electorate in that state clearly ready for the fight. This, again, is the real impact of the Tea Party movement. Whether it costs Republicans a seat or two is almost irrelevant. Its ability to force discipline and demand ideological concessions from Republicans is uncanny.