Here’s the thing about Susan Collins: like nearly all other Republican Senators, she can’t ever be trusted. And during the Kavanaugh debacle, we learned that Collins in particular is capable of an almost monstrous level of corruption in the name of trying to hang onto her Senate seat.
But when it comes to the public jockeying that plays out over something like a Supreme Court nomination, it’s not about who can be trusted to do the right thing. We already know the Republican Senators are each going to do whatever they think is best for their own career path. If necessary, they’ll sell out the country, they’ll sell out Trump, and they’ll even sell out their fellow Republican Senators in order to selfishly do whatever they think is best for them.
That brings us to the fact that Susan Collins just announced that she doesn’t think a Supreme Court nominee should be brought to a vote before the election, and that the seat should instead be filled by whoever wins the election. True to form, she’s left herself some wiggle room; she’s not specifically vowing to vote “no” if a vote does happen. And of course she can’t be trusted. But this isn’t about trust; it’s about leverage.
With this statement, Susan Collins just basically asked Mitch McConnell not to nominate anyone, for fear it’ll cost her whatever slim shot she has left at keeping her seat. She’s making McConnell’s life a lot more difficult by putting this out there, because now McConnell will have to face a barrage of questions about why he’s going against Collins. But hey, every Republican jerk for himself.
Keep in mind that if four Republican Senators object to this process, it dies. Lisa Murkowski stated less than a week ago that she would be opposed to filling a seat if it opened, so she’ll have a hard time backtracking from that. And Mitt Romney, who still wants to run for President someday, could come out in opposition as well. That would be three objections, out of the four needed, right off the bat.
Susan Collins like to play things safe, and take credit in advance for things that she thinks are going to happen anyway. Her decision to make this statement suggests that she thinks there’s a good chance no nominee will be confirmed, and she’s trying to take advantage of the situation. Rather than wasting time debating whether Collins can be trusted (she can’t), let’s take this as an indicator that there must be other GOP Senators who are also leaning against nominating someone, and let’s lean on them even more.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report