Recently, I have been astounded by liberal women who casually toss into a conversation the statement that they “love” Susan Collins.
First of all, I would like to point out that Susan Collins is a Republican. She votes with the Republicans most of the time, and supports Republican policies. Second, she is not a moderate even though she has tried repeatedly over the years to portray herself as such.
There are two recent votes that tell you everything you need to know about Susan Collins. First, she provided what David Leonhardt of the New York Times (12/10/17) called a “crucial vote” for the criminal GOP tax bill which benefited the obscenely rich in this country at the expense of all the rest of us. The second was a yes vote on Gina Haspel, a woman who was complicit if not directly participated in the torture of other human beings. When Haspel was told to torture, she tortured, and when she was told to destroy the evidence of that immoral behavior, she sent out directions to do so. And, then, in her confirmation hearings she promised not to do it again. What kind of person tortures other human beings and what kind of person believes the promises of a person who destroys crucial and incriminating evidence on command. Various Democrats argued that Haspel would “stand up” to Trump. On what evidence? She tortured when told to and destroyed the evidence when she was told to. What makes anybody think that she will do any differently now?
Those two votes alone should tell anyone that Collins is not an acceptable candidate for anything or even someone whose positions should be taken seriously as anything other than part of this right-wing Republican take-over of democracy. Collins just tries to make herself appear friendly and reasonable and honorable.
If you want another example, there’s Jeff Sessions:
In an article in the Nation entitled “Susan Collins Just Disgraced Herself at Jeff Session’s Confirmation Hearing,” John Nichols pointed out that Collins had been not merely a neutral observer of the Sessions hearings, she was an “ardent partisan” for Sessions. She also did her “best to dismiss credible criticisms of the nominee.” She maintained, according to Nichols that people who opposed Sessions did so because they just didn’t know him. She described him as a “genuine, fair-minded person” and a “decent man.” She also maintained during the hearing that Sessions was “not motivated by racial animus.”
The Tax Bill
Collins’ behavior regarding the rip-off tax bill passed by Republicans is especially revealing of her propensity of conning her constituents and everybody else and trying to make herself seem free of the Republican crazy-taint. Collins voted for the GOP tax bill, after assuring her constituents that she had secured an “ironclad” agreement with Mitch McConnell and Vice President Pence, that legislation would be passed by the end of 2017 that would fill the gap that repealing the individual mandate in the ACA would leave. She expressed concern that the Tax Bill would mean devastating changes in existing health care plans. But, in her wisdom she had secured promises, promises, that this would all be fixed.
Not only were these promises on their face almost impossible to make (McConnell couldn’t assure anybody that a particular bill will pass), but according to the editorial board of the Washington Post (12/11/17) the bills in question would not have stabilized the obamaCare premiums even if passed.
So, Collins publicly weaseled about her vote saying that Republican leadership had promised to fix any problems.
Within days of the passage of the tax bill on the Senate floor, Republicans started saying that they didn’t give a damn about Collins’ deal (Leonhardt, 12/10/17). Then, when they didn’t fulfill their end of the bargain, Collins was said (Bolton, 12;21/17) to have been “disappointed.”
After the Congress refused to pass the bills in question (the ones Collins assured everybody would fix the problem) she didn’t even accuse Mitch McConnell of breaking his pledge. When journalists pointed out that nobody but an idiot would have believed McConnell and Pence and that she had been “duped,” Collins whined that the coverage was unfair and “unbelievably sexist.” As a woman, that particularly offends me.
One of the things Collins said she wanted in this “ironclad agreement” was for congressional leaders to promise “to undo Medicare cuts automatically triggered by the deficit from the tax cut.” Collins even said that the deal wasn’t for show (Leonhardt, 12/10/17). She promised that it would protect Medicaid and Medicare. On Meet the Press, Collins said: “I also got an ironclad commitment that we’re not going to see cuts in the Medicaid/Medicare program as a result of this bill.” (Leonardt, 12/10/17). But, Republicans, including Paul Ryan have repeatedly said that they intend to use the deficits created by the tax bill to justify cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. Ryan cited them as a top priority for 2018.
In an article in Splinter News (12/12/17) Emma Roller writes about the Collins promise scam:
“Any Senate Republican who has been semi-conscious for the past eight years should know there is zero to no reason to trust Mitch McConnell to follow through on his promises….”
“Further, it’s effectively impossible for McConnell to promise to pass any legislation that requires making it through the House, where Republican leadership has been clearly in thrall to its most extreme members for years. Did Collins really think McConnell could speak for the intentions of the House Freedom Caucus, a gang not even House Speaker Paul Ryan can get to fall in line?
“To assume that Collins was “duped” into voting for the tax bill requires thinking that she is profoundly stupid. She might be, but I don’t think she is. An alternate analysis is that Collins is not naive; that she knew all along that McConnell’s promises were worthless; and that she simply wanted a reason to justify (to constituents or to herself) voting for the tax bill. Vote for the bill, then perform disappointment when McConnell pulls the rug out from under you or the House refuses to even consider the “deal” you claim you were promised.”
“…McConnell and Ryan too — have moved sharply to the right. They are rushing through a bill without the normal procedures. They are making verifiably false claims about it. And they have decided that taking health insurance away from Americans is a core Republican principle.
Reporters like Leonhardt assume “…Collins is telling us her plans in good faith, and extrapolating from there. But maybe Occam’s Razor holds here. Maybe the simplest answer is the correct one. Maybe Collins didn’t make a mistake in voting for the tax bill on December 2. Maybe she voted for the tax bill because she wanted to vote for the tax bill.”
“Susan Collins is not an innocent bystander to the country’s destruction by her party, and it’s time for political commentators to stop treating her as such.”
Leonhardt, David (12/10/17) “Susan Collins’s Big Mistake,” New York Times.
Nichols, John (1/10/17) “Susan Collins Just Disgraced Herself at Jeff Session’s Cinformation Hearing. The Nation.
Roller, Emma (12/12/17) “Susan Collins Ins’t Being Duped Into Anything,” Splinter News.
Washington Post Editorial Board (12/11/17) “Susan Collins is Getting it Wrong.”