Why? It’s the only question left to ask after GOP Senator Susan Collins not only voted for screaming liar and alleged serial sex offender Brett Kavanaugh, but made a point of doing it in the most jarring and self defeating manner possible. It raises uncomfortable and scary questions about what might really be going on here.
Susan Collins has never been a party loyalist. In the past two years alone, she’s cast multiple deciding votes against the GOP on major issues, including the attempted Obamacare repeal, and the original Senate Intelligence Committee decision to investigate the Trump-Russia scandal. So no matter how many social media posts might claim that “Collins voted this way because she always votes the party line,” that’s a factually false statement. No, this has to be about something else.
Collins has always cared far less about party loyalty than she has about reelection. And since she’s from the moderate state of Maine, she’s always tried to pander in equal part to both sides, no matter which way she was voting. But today she did the precise opposite. She told everyone to watch her speech this afternoon, and then proceeded to spend the entire speech trying to set the American left and middle – and her own career – on fire. She made the speech as ugly, as deranged, and as vicious as possible. That’s not a reelection strategy. That’s begging not to be reelected.
If Susan Collins had decided that she needed to cast a very unpopular “yes” vote on Kavanaugh for the sake of her reelection prospects (translation: billionaire conservative donors), she could have quietly cast her vote and hoped people might forget by 2020. Instead, she took outlandish steps to make sure people never forget what she did today. There are simply not enough pro-Trump extremists in Maine to give her even a remote chance at reelection. One of the meekest people in the Senate knowingly ended her career today with both proverbial middle fingers in the air. It was one of the ugliest things that American politics has ever seen, and it simply made no sense. Is she being blackmailed, or did she just snap today?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report