It’s not surprising that GOP Senator Susan Collins decided to vote “yes” on Brett Kavanaugh today. It was always going to come down to a political calculation for her with regard to reelection: did she want to enrage mainstream voters, or did she want to enrage wealthy conservative donors? It always going to be a 50-50 proposition for her. But here’s what is nothing short of utterly shocking: that speech she just gave.
If Senator Susan Collins simply wanted to vote “yes” on Brett Kavanaugh because she thought it gave her the best shot at reelection, or GOP donor money, or helped her cause in any way, shape, or form, she’d have simply voted “yes” and then ducked out the back door (see Jeff Flake, for instance). If Collins were even thinking about reelection when she gave this speech, she would have tried – as she’s always done – to pander to both sides. It’s what moderates from moderate states do. But that’s not at all what we just watched.
Collins gave an endless, lie-filled, extremist, insulting, horrifying speech. She made a point of attacking sexual assault victims everywhere. She made a point of insulting women. She made a point of alienating everyone. She attacked the Resistance. She attacked Michael Avenatti, for crying out loud. It was a literally insane speech. She just threw away everything. She has no career prospects now. Zero chance of reelection. She’ll never be able to set foot outside her front door without protesters greeting her.
Susan Collins, life is, all but literally, over – not just because she voted “yes” but because she made a point of rubbing it in everyone’s face as painfully as possible, while acting like a psychotic asshole. So why on earth did she just do this? This was the kind of deranged speech that only Donald Trump could love. It’s the kind of speech that a non-extremist would only give in the desperate and fearful hope of satisfying Donald Trump. What’s he holding over her? Whatever it is, she just threw her whole life away, for fear it would come out.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report