Olympia Snowe Self-Deports from Senate

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 29 2012 10:30 AM

Olympia Snowe Self-Deports from Senate

The immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama share a principle: If life becomes extraordinarily difficult for illegal immigrants, they will pack up and leave. Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, who helped write both states' laws, calls the phenomenon "self-deportion."

I think of those laws when I read Olympia Snowe's statement on her retirement from the Senate.

With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.
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Don't we associate Spartans with taking insurmountable numerical disavantages and winning anyway? Well, regardless: What Snowe describes here is a total surrender to the Forces of DeMint-ism. It's the same factor Evan Bayh cited when he retired. And it doesn't ring as false as the old "more time with family" self-eulogy.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.