What the hell is it going to take for Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins to stop being the “moderate” darling of the traditional news media and clueless Senate Democrats? That perception of her as a good faith negotiator, willing to put aside partisan politics, is completely skewed. We already saw that from her on Supreme Court confirmations. But trusting her on elections reforms—which Senate Democrats are doing is just downright dangerous.
Collins is leading a group of bipartisan senators looking at how to reform the Electoral Count Act, with the blessing of Mitch McConnell. Which in reality means McConnell’s faithful tool Collins worked to peel Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema away from the necessary Freedom to Vote/John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The ECA governs election certifications by Congress, the process Trump was attempting to use in his coup. The coup attempt for which he was impeached by the House. Collins was one of seven Senate Republicans to vote to convict him.
So Collins thought he was guilty of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, and she is ostensibly attempting to tighten up the ECA to make it harder to use Congress to do a coup. But she’s also not ruling out supporting Trump for another run in 2024. Read that again. Susan Collins will not categorically say Trump is unfit for office.
Collins was on “This Week” on ABC Sunday, and when George Stephanopoulos her about Trump, she demurred. He even prefaced his question with this: “As you’re working on this reform, former President Trump is out on the campaign trail. He was out in Texas last night suggesting he may pardon those—if he were elected in 2024—those who were part of the Jan. 6 riots.” And when he asked, “Can you imagine any circumstances where you could support his election in 2024?” she wouldn’t say no, there was no circumstance in which she would support him.
“Well, we’re a long ways from 2024,” she dithered. “But let me say this, I do not think the president should have made—that President Trump should have made that pledge to do pardons. We should let the judicial process proceed.” Wow, way to go out on a limb there. “Why can’t you rule out supporting him in 2024?” Stephanopoulos pressed (sort of). “Well, certainly it’s not likely given the many other qualified candidates that we have that have expressed interest in running. So it’s very unlikely,” she answered.
She. Can’t. Say. No. More. Trump.
For her pains, Trump issued a statement calling her “Wacky” for looking at ECA reforms. They deserve each other.
Since we’re here and it’s Collins and no Democrat should ever, ever trust her, how about another load of bullshit from the same interview? Stephanopoulos asks her about Biden’s potential Supreme Court pick and whether she’s open to supporting them, a question she uses to launch an attack on Biden.
“I would welcome the appointment of a Black female to the court,” she says. But. “But the way that the president has handled this nomination has been clumsy at best. It adds to the further perception that the court is a political institution like Congress when it is not supposed to be.” Yeah. Coming from the person who is personally responsible for the Brett Kavanaugh stain seeping into the SCOTUS fabric. But “isn’t it exactly what Senator Reagan did when he said he would appoint a woman to the Supreme Court?” Stephanopoulos asks. “Isn’t it exactly what President Trump did when he said he would appoint a woman to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?”
What follows is the Susan Collins version of, “I did my own research.”
“Actually, this isn’t exactly the same. I’ve looked at what was done in both cases. And what President Biden did was as a candidate, make this pledge. And that helped politicize the entire nomination process.”
Wrong. Oct. 15, 1980, three weeks before the presidential election: “Ronald Reagan, striving to refute charges that he is insensitive to women’s rights, said today he would name a woman to ‘one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration.’”
Of course, Stephanopoulos didn’t challenge her deceit. If he did that, she might not come back on his show next Sunday. And he can't have that. They all have to keep up the pretense of a “moderate” Republican and her promises of a bipartisan unicorn.