By Froma Harrop

To many New Englanders, Olympia Snowe had come to resemble Marilyn of “The Munsters” TV family. The senator from Maine seemed a normal Northeast Republican surrounded by party leaders sprouting fangs and cooing at bats — but who regarded her as the odd one.

“You can’t be too careful these days,” Herman Munster, a Frankenstein-monster clone, would tenderly advise the wholesome Marilyn. “There are a lot of strange people in this world.”

To the right wing, Snowe was the fiend, the No. 1 RINO (Republican in Name Only) on its hit list. Having apparently tolerated her last neck bite from supposed allies, Snowe has decided not to seek re-election. And so goes another moderate Republican, a dwindling species that once freely roamed the Northeast, Midwest and Northwest.

New England has already lost Senate Republicans Jim Jeffords, of Vermont, and Lincoln Chafee, of Rhode Island. That leaves Scott Brown from Massachusetts and Maine’s other RINO, Susan Collins. Are their days numbered, as well?

Only Brown faces re-election this year. Though still polling strong, Brown faces some challenges unique to Republicans in socially liberal states. His likely Democratic opponent will be the formidable Elizabeth Warren, the brains behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. No angle will be left on the shelf, we can be sure.

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