Senator Snowe, in your Times editorial you said you wanted to fix the GOP rather than leaving it. Sorry, Senator, but the GOP leaders are like addicts, who can't quit because they can't admit they have a problem. It can't be fixed.
The GOP is a car you really liked to drive, for years and years, but now it's a wreck, it can't go anywhere, and it's time to take it to the car-crushing machine and trade up to the new model. The Democrats.
The Republican party is deeply, deeply ill and splitting apart, like the Democrats in the 1970s when the entire southern wing of the party, enraged by Johnson and civil rights, defected to the GOP. That war was dominated by the same southern loons who are now destroying the GOP. The current Republican civil war is dominated by folks like the Club For Growth who openly advocate expelling moderates like you out of the party: moderates are a potential life-saver for the party, but the loons see the moderate wing of the party as a tumor on the body politic, something dangerous which must be cut out. They keep targeting "RINO's" like you and Voinovich and Chafee for either political pressure, or outright defeat in a primary challenge; they openly threatened Specter, which was stupid since he survived cancer and isn't afraid of anybody. A number of hardliners said flat-out that they want you, specifically, out of the party. They prefer to support people like Michelle Bachmann and Michael Steele.
They're just not that into you. But we are!
They've been pulling in the opposite direction from you in almost every area: you want moderate policies, they want extremism; you want sensible budgets, they want titanic deficits. You are supposed to be a leader of the party, and your voice is only heard when you go over the wall and join the Democrats. But then you hop right back over the wall again. Join the Dems and your wall-hopping days are finally over!
If you become the 60th Democratic Senator, you have incredible power to make or break legislation, the dream of every Senator. If you switch before Collins does (a realistic prospect, these days), you get to be #60, which has much more clout that #61. If you switch before the Senate reorganizes this summer, you get better committee seats. If you switch now, you also make the Minnesota fight irrelevant, saving both parties a costly court fight, and you make Franken a friend for life. The Republican enemies you make will be laughably outnumbered by the Democrats who will come to your aid: if Obama promised to campaign for Specter, #59, he'll definitely do it for #60. In quitting you lose nothing but the now-toxic "Republican" tag, and you can still champion all you favorite causes, especially working with fellow moderate Obama.
The Republicans won't learn their lesson until they are completely crushed. Your departure will begin that process.
As the Bible says in Numbers 32:
And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.
The Republicans need to spend many years in the desert, until the Nazis who destroyed this country are finally cycled out of the party system. But you shouldn't be out there in the desert with them -- you're too good to waste.
Come to the Blue Team, and bring your friend Susan!