Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has disappointed both the voters in her home state of Maine and around the country time and again with the constant betrayal of her reputation as a “moderate” Republican.
Her methodology is always the same: she initially claims to be undecided on a crucial issue with enormous consequences in which her vote could help tip the balance away from the slim GOP majority in the Senate. Then, after much speculation and drama in the media, she invariably ends up voting the party line.
Senator Collins did it with the vote to confirm beer-loving, accused sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.
She did it with her vote to forgo the calling of additional witnesses and subpoena withheld evidence in the ludicrously-managed impeachment trial of Donald Trump last week.
Now, on the eve of the shameful Senate vote that will likely allow Trump to go scot-free despite the ample evidence of his guilt in the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Senator Collins is defending her pre-announced verdict in the impeachment trial with an excuse that will ring laughably hollow to those who have already fallen for her “reasonable Republican” schtick before and have learned that you can’t be considered a moderate when voting with the extremists who now control the party under the thumb of the lunatic in the White House.
After confirming that once again she will be siding with the Trump administration and GOP leadership and voting to acquit the president of the impeachment charges against him, Collins defied all reason and the plainly observable behavior of the vindictive, mentally-challenged occupant of the Oval Office by making this lamest of explanations for her decision:
“I believe that the president has learned from this case,” Senator Collins told Norah O’Donnell of CBS News in an interview today. “The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson.”
“He was impeached. And there has been criticism by both Republican and Democratic senators of his call,” she added, before exhibiting a credulity that belies her college education and long political pedigree. “I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future.”
She may as well have been swearing that the alligator in her backyard pond was a vegan now after having been chastened for devouring the next-door neighbors’ children.
The Maine Senator tried to maintain her cloak of reasonableness by admitting that the president perhaps deserved a reprimand for his actions towards Ukraine, but continued to insist on parroting the cowardly GOP trope that the offense didn’t cross the line into being an impeachable action, which at this point in the Republican party would seem only to be warranted by a president who would murder new-born babies on live TV or sign legislation passing sensible gun regulations.
“The president’s call was wrong. He should not have mentioned Joe Biden in it, despite his overall concern about corruption in Ukraine,” Collins said. “The president of the United States should not be asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival. That is just improper. It was far from a perfect call.”
Still, Collins did not disappoint those who long ago wrote her off as the ultimate in political hypocrites and who have helped her overtake even the reprehensible Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Morning Consult rankings of the least popular Senators in their most recent poll.
Her ultimate statement on the role of politics in her decision — a statement so blatantly false at face value, given the evidence she heard in the impeachment trial — shows how she earned that ranking.
“I’m sure there are going to be people unhappy with me in Maine. All I can do is apply the constitutional standard. And that’s my job,” Collins told CBS. “My job is not to weigh the political consequences, but to do impartial justice to live up to the oath that I took.”
You can watch a clip of Maine Senator Susan Collins’ apologia tour on CBS in the excerpt below.
CBS NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) tells @NorahODonnell she will vote to acquit Pres. Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, adding that she believes "the president has learned from this case."
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 4, 2020
Original reporting by John Bowden at The Hill.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.