Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: Susan Collins’ slow turning

Al Diamon

That grinding sound you hear is caused by Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ political gears gradually shifting her to the right. Collins has activated the ponderous position-changing machinery because there’s no longer any reason for her to pretend to be a centrist.

There’ll be those who’ll claim the senator’s newfound attitude is meant to accommodate her party’s conservative shift. These respected experts will insist that to accomplish anything in a Washington dominated by Neanderthals, Collins must turn a blind eye to racism, sexual harassment, human-caused climate change and the president’s utter inability to interact with the truth.

These political knowers don’t know doodly.

Even with the GOP gains in the Senate in the November election, the divide is still too narrow to allow the party the luxury of ostracizing any of its members, just because a couple of them might believe in evolution, a woman’s right to control her own body or that the earth isn’t flat. Collins has no need to alter her ideology to curry favor with a caucus that can ill afford to alienate her.

The real reason Maine’s senior senator has decided to purge herself of any whiff of liberalism is she no longer has any use for liberals. The local leftists have made it clear they hate her, and she’s now free to admit she’s never much cared for them.

This refreshing dose of honesty began with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process. Democrats and allied progressives insisted that if Collins didn’t oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, they would support somebody – anybody – who ran against her in 2020. They backed up their pledge by raising more than $4 million through crowdfunding for the campaign of this yet-to-be-discovered opponent.

Collins called that a bribe and an attempt to blackmail her. Neither of those descriptions seems accurate, since the money wasn’t offered to her (which is a key factor in bribery), and there was no request that she pay anything to anyone (without which there isn’t much in the way of blackmail). The whole escapade was merely another way for her constituents to attempt to influence her position on a matter of public concern -- something fairly central to the concept of representative government.

It’s also difficult to figure why Collins would object to big money being raised for a political campaign, since the Republican Party has long advocated for the unfettered use of bucket loads of cash to influence elections. If anybody should have been condemning this fundraising effort, it’s the liberals who are conducting it.

Setting hypocrisy aside, Collins took some nasty shots from protesters, particularly after she voted to confirm Kavanaugh. She, her husband and her staff received threatening letters and emails. Her Wikipedia page was hacked. An actor from Texas called for a boycott of Maine. In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, a lawyer from Massachusetts accused Collins of “intellectual and moral dishonesty.” Small wonder that during a congressional speech, Collins called the attacks a “caricature of a gutter-level political campaign.”

The vehemence with which the anti-Collins activists expressed their dismay may have been over the top, but it also appears to have been effective in swaying certain segments of public opinion. A Morning Consult poll taken after her Kavanaugh vote showed a huge drop in her approval rating among Democrats when compared to previous surveys. A Critical Insights poll found an 11 percent loss of support among women. But both surveys indicated Collins had regained a lot of ground with the GOP. If she runs for re-election in 2020 (far from a sure thing), her base is now more secure, and the chances she’ll face a serious challenge from a right-winger in the Republican primary is diminished.

As the slowly grinding gears indicate, Collins’ conversion to conservatism is a gradual process. When a memo surfaced suggesting a nominee for a federal judgeship had been involved in attempts to deny black people voting rights, Collins didn’t immediately rescind her support. She just told reporters it required “further research.” When acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whittaker was exposed as an advocate for limiting or firing special counsel Robert Mueller, she slid around it by telling the press it was a “great cause for concern.”

Nobody is going to mistake her for Mississippi’s GOP U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, she of the racially charged remarks and whites-only education. A PAC affiliated with Collins may have contributed to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, but that doesn’t make them ideologically identical.


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11 Responses »

  1. To pretend that Al is the doodle know-it-all of political reason is the equivalent to turning to Elmo for dating advice.

    Collins has moved to the right because of a vote for Kavanaugh????? (insert confused emoji here)

    You really can’t suggest that with a straight face, unless your getting paid to fill up space on the interweb.

    Apparently left out of this article, word count as an excuse I’m sure, Collins has never seen a nominee she didn’t like, including Sotomayor and Kagan.

    Kagan, the most unqualified judge to ever sit on the bench, had never presided over two kids arguing over who gets to sit in the front seat, let alone something that involved the court room.

    I can assure you as soon as a close vote arises in the next two years and there is a chance she can get on national TV for a free makeup tutorial, Collins will be there riding the fence to get attention from both sides. Which way she jumps is still anybodies guess. (see obamacare repeal)

  2. An actor from Texas called for a boycott of Maine. In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, a lawyer from Massachusetts accused Collins of “intellectual and moral dishonesty.” Wow the actor needs to realize people are less interested more and more everyday what they think or say. Haha the lawyer should look in the mirror they are paid to defend guilty people everyday by tax payers. As far as Collins goes she is still a rhino and should be voted out in 2020.

  3. Al... Possibly I missed it but I am looking forward to you telling us how 'independent' our other Senator is.. What do you think Awww?

  4. Our other Senator is as big about as independent as anyone on the tax payer dole. He has been on the news whining about what President Trump is doing to the “ACA”. He wants to waste money on advertising and leaving open enrollment going longer. If people don’t know about this sham by now then they haven’t been living here very long. It’s too bad we didn’t have a better option last month so we could have replaced the lieing bos.

  5. Who on Earth would want to run for re-election.............??

  6. Al, all u have said here is that Collins isn't politically correct enough...
    If that's the case,, she had my complete support.

    According to you it's a crime because she didn't immediately condemn someone based on a "suggestion" contained in
    Some "surfaced memo".. !!??
    YES OMG!! We all know every suggestion in every report Missy be true if it involves one of the lefties pet peeves....

    Collins is my hero for the way she handled that question..

  7. I hope Senator Collins supports 'Building The Wall' and building it high. So high that the drugs fall out of the illegal pockets trying to climb it. The wall works in Israel, and it will work for the United States.
    We finally have a President with enough guts to stop this Communist Crap moving throughout our society which is supported by the major television networks. Channel 6-8-13 just spew the 'Party Left Nonsense all day long.

    Donald Trump is the hardest working President this country has ever elected and he deserves the help and support of all who love a free America.
    How many Immigrants are you going to take in at your house Angus King ? You spend so much of your time worrying about them when this country has homeless Vets sleeping under highway overpasses to stay warm.

    Fence riding days are over for the 'Beltway Do Nothing Gang'

  8. The bar for what constitutes political incorrectness seems to have risen a bit. I would think that one of the "lefties pet peeves" is appointing rapists to the Supreme Court. Ms.Collins said she voted for confirmation because the accusations against Kavenaugh could not be corroborated. The reason for this was that the GOP would not call Mark Judge to testify. I know it was way back in October, but that hearing was a sham.

    Again, Nixon had a 24% approval rating on the day he resigned. Pretty much the same percentage as Seth Carey got in Franklin county. People like this have always been around. It's just now they constitute a part of Trump's base.

    Finally, anyone complaining about the lack of evidence into collusion found by the Republican controlled House oversight committee should steel themselves for next month. When the Democrats are allowed to issue subpoenas into Trump's obvious Russian moneylaundering and tax evasion it should make quick work of that crook. The fact that a quarter of the country still won't believe their eyes won't make it any less true.

  9. So the bar for what constitutes guilt seems to have changed a lot. No longer innocent until proven guilty. No longer is evidence required. All it takes is one persons recollection from high school that none of her classmates remember. Or maybe the word of a disgraced attorney or a porn star. Again no evidence just words. Or maybe a 2 year long multi million dollar investigation that results in unrelated charges or subpoenas of foreign nationals nobody ever heard of and will never hear from. Im thinking there are a lot of people sitting in their basements with tin foil hats on just waiting for the socialists to take back the white house. We finally have a president whos actions are doing great things for the hard working average citizens of our country. Stop focusing on the words and focus on the results. Hes doing a great job. The democrats will spend the next two years obstructing and investigating, come up empty handed and looking like the spoiled crying children they are.

  10. Same ole Same ole...The only bi-partisanship I have seen only results in more taxes, fees and regulations for the working class. CUT SPENDING! Especially wasteful spending. This will never happen while Republicans or Democrats are in office.
    The elite only take care of themselves, this includes everyone on the hill. Corruption is rampid throughout. Everyone, including the news media is lying to us. We are told our vote counts. B.S. maybe on the local level but on the national level we get to vote every 2 years. Once our officials are sworn in it's game on. (what's in it for me competition).

    Abolish the 2 parties!

  11. The Lion Roars - The Eagle Soars, Channel 6-8-13 just spew the 'Party Left Nonsense all day long. Not surprising seeing where they are based.