In Washington's overly partisan environment it is easy to lose sight of just how moderate and centrist Snowe has been in recent years. She braved firestorms of Republican and Tea Party abuse to support Barack Obama's health-care provision early on in committee and, on the floor of the Senate, to vote in favor of Obama's national-stimulus plan and the appointment of Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan.

There are only five female Republican members of the Senate. Kay Bailey Hutchison has already announced that she is retiring. And with the bozos and boyos of the right wing intent on waging war on America's women by seeking to limit insurance coverage for birth control, Snowe's loss will be doubly mourned.

There was once a great and noble tradition of Republican moderation exemplified by the likes of now dead and departed senators such as Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, John Heinz of Pennsylvania, and John Chafee of Rhode Island. These lawmakers have been Snowe's guideposts. In retirement, she will join them in a caucus of the memorable to serve as examples for others when a politics of reason, sanity, and integrity again returns to Washington.

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