I am proud of Maine’s senator, our senator, Susan Collins.
When it really mattered, she came through for what was right. While she could have caved to peer pressure and confusion, she voted for now-Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite a well-choreographed smear campaign.
Collins stood up for what she believed was right and became the embodiment of one of my favorite books – she is a profile in courage.
If he were still alive, I’m sure John F. Kennedy also would be proud of Sen. Collins. She belongs among the other courageous people profiled in Kennedy’s book. (I’m not sure, however, if any of Kennedy’s profiles of brave government servants had their staff members threatened with rape, as Collins experienced. Such were the uncivil depths to which the anti-Kavanaugh campaign sank.)
Collins is a heroine today because she didn’t cave to the intimidating pressure perpetrated by the Kavanaugh haters. While her Democrat colleagues were busy prejudging Kavanaugh and his record, Collins calmly and without fanfare went about her business trying to analyze Kavanaugh’s record and the late-breaking allegations of sexual harassment from 35 years ago.
She surmised, quite rationally, that all the fears regarding his record were outlandish and that the rape allegations were simply unsubstantiated, uncorroborated and therefore couldn’t be determined to be true. She then held firm to the noble American ideal of presumed innocence. Collins, in the hot seat as a pivotal vote, was the epitome of civility and rationalism.
Some are already saying Collins will lose votes if she runs for the Senate again in 2020, but she won’t lose mine. She might need it, if the current anti-rational fervor lingers. Kavanaugh’s haters are infuriated with Collins for providing the boost he needed to sit on the nation’s highest bench, but there are probably many more moderate and conservative Mainers who, in the wake of her disciplined decision, are impressed with her steadiness and conviction.
But what we think of her doesn’t matter. She persists, as the bumper sticker goes, with her own line of thinking while she also resists, as the other bumper sticker goes, the spirit of the age. She has principles not built on the sand of peer pressure. She cares about the law. She cares about history.
Collins’ historic speech last Friday afternoon shot huge holes in the well-funded and coordinated campaign against Kavanaugh. There were a few lines worth remembering. First, Collins bravely called out the left’s attempt to sully any Trump-nominated judge’s reputation, not just Kavanaugh’s, thereby proving their hateful prejudice:
“The president nominated Brett Kavanaugh on July 9th,” Collins said. “Within moments of that announcement, special-interest groups raced to be the first to oppose him, including one organization that didn’t even bother to fill in the judge’s name on its pre-written press release – they simply wrote that they opposed ‘Donald Trump’s nomination of XX to the Supreme Court of the United States.’ A number of senators joined the race to announce their opposition, but they were beaten to the punch by one of our colleagues who actually announced opposition before the nominee’s identity was even known.”
Next, Collins took on the abortion questions swirling around Kavanaugh:
“Opponents frequently cite then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to nominate only judges who would overturn Roe,” Collins said. “The Republican platform for all presidential campaigns has included this pledge since at least 1980. During this time, Republican presidents have appointed Justices O’Connor, Souter, and Kennedy to the Supreme Court. These are the very three justices –Republican president-appointed justices – who authored the Casey decision, which reaffirmed Roe. Furthermore, pro-choice groups vigorously opposed each of these justice’s nominations. Incredibly, they even circulated buttons with the slogan ‘Stop Souter Or Women Will Die!’ Just two years later, Justice Souter co-authored the Casey opinion, reaffirming a woman’s right to choose. Suffice it to say, prominent advocacy organizations have been wrong.”
Collins is a strong woman. But that’s not enough for the women of the so-called tolerant left. They can’t tolerate a strong female with a conservative voice. Liberals don’t want strong women, they want strong liberal women. And they’ll stop at nothing, made evident by this case, to silence those dissenting female voices.
As a result of her Kavanaugh vote, Democrats have already raised millions of dollars online to challenge Collins in 2020. This outside money may eventually go to help Rep. Chellie Pingree, her daughter Hannah Pingree, former Collins’ aide Jared Golden, or even President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice (of Bengazi fame, let us not forget).
Collins need not fear. Real Mainers will remember the day she stuck to her principles – traditional American principles of due process – and saved rational political discourse from certain death at the hands of liberal Democrats.
John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.