Susan Collins is without doubt the mistress of self-promotion. Over her twenty-two years in the Senate she's created a mythical persona as the kind of Republican even Democrats could at least respect, if not love. I think she's finally shattered that myth. Her air of moderation and sweet reasonableness has been destroyed, blown away by forty-five minutes of concentrated hot air in praise of political expediency.
Senator Collins' position on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation is just the latest in a string of disappointing political accommodations. For twenty-two years she has burnished her reputation as a political centrist, a moderate Republican in an age of troglodyte conservatism. She has been able to give the impression that she and perhaps she alone was THE Republican in the Senate who was willing to come over to the over side of the aisle and discuss compromise. And yes, she has always been willing to DISCUSS compromise. She seldom votes that way. When the rubber meets the road, Susan Collins always seems to be on the side of the most radically conservative elements of the Republican Party.
Now one can't entirely fault her faux moderation. After all, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, Susan Collins IS a politician. More to the point, she's a Republican politician in this Age of Trump. In the Age of Trump, Republican moderates have become an extinct species. And so, in order to survive, Susan Collins has thrown away her moral compass, abandoned the values and virtues of a lifetime and followed the path of political expediency in the mistaken notion that she will be able to artificially extend her tenure in the Senate that way.
Following her role in the Kavanaugh confirmation controversy, Senator Collins may have avoided the land mine of a Republican Senate primary in 2020. All she had to do is take the path of least resistance and join hands with the forces of Trumpian extremism, although it remains to be seen if she is totally safe from a primary challenge. After all, tried and true conservatives don't trust Susan Collins much, if at all. But even if she does manage to wriggle free from the clutches of Tea Party conservatives, Democrats in Maine HAVE to paint a bullseye on her back and target her for special attention when she bids for re-election.
The sad fact is that with her role in Brett Kavanaugh's elevation to the Supreme Court she has destroyed the myth of her reasonable bi-partisanship. Now we know. Now we know who and what Susan Collins REALLY is. I have written here many times that elections have consequences. The future radicalization of the Supreme Court proves that. But, in the context of the United States Senate, VOTES gave consequences as well. Susan Collins won't be able to escape responsibility for what she has done. She has bought into Brett Kavanaugh's entire tenue on the Supreme Court. When Mr. Justice Kavanaugh votes to either overturn Roe v. Wade or to kill it with the death of a thousand cuts, it will be Susan Collins who effectively cast the deciding vote. When the Supreme Court eviscerates the Affordable Care Act, thus endangering the lives and health of literally thousands of Maine residents, it will have been Susan Collins who pulled the plug.
The final scene in the Phantom of the Opera shows the Phantom stripped of his mask, revealing the horror underneath. The Kavanaugh confirmation battle has done the same thing to Susan Collins. It has stripped her of the pretense of sweet reasonableness and shown her to be the craven politician she has always been. The rest of the story rests with the good people of Maine. If the Kavanaugh affair has erased the myth of the Collins bi-partisanship, then it is up to the voters in Maine to erase Susan Collins. They may not be able to erase her perfidy entirely from their collective memories, but they can and they should eliminate her from the voting rolls of the United States Senate!
Filed under: Politics