Hannibal Hamlin of Maine had the courage to oppose slavery. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had the courage to speak out against McCarthyism. Until recently, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was another voice for reason, moderation and even (gasp!), liberalism. No more.
The leaders of the deeply conflicted GOP in Washington and Augusta have stifled any progressive and independent thinking in favor of ideological rigidity and conformity to the party line. Sadly, Collins has abandoned her independence in favor of following her Republican bosses, even if that meant voting to shut down the government in 2013 unless Congress defunded Obamacare (and even though she has taxpayer-subsidized health care).
Currently advertising her vote to end the shutdown cannot erase the fact that she voted twice to start it. Democrat Shenna Bellows promises to reinvigorate the liberal and independent traditions of Maine. She has my vote.