Susan Collins Is Concerned, And That Can Only Mean One Thing
Susan Collins is deeply troubled. As a person. But also about Donald Trump's latest hobby of firing all of the Inspectors General he deems insufficiently loyal. Like ones who might go and investigate Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for getting a Schedule C employee (that is, a political appointee who works for another political appointee) to "conduct personal activities" for him and his family.
As such, Collins took to Twitter last night to let it be known that she thinks Inspectors General are great and that Donald Trump should not have fired State Department watchdog Steve Linick for making Pompeo paranoid. She thinks that what he is doing here and the way he is doing it is bad. Bad enough to say something on Twitter in hopes of getting good press for saying something about it, but probably not so bad that if it came down to some kind of vote she would vote against it.
No, he hasn't! But the thing of it is, he really doesn't have to. He can fire a thousand Steve Linicks! Who is going to hold him accountable? Who is going to stop him? Not Susan Collins! Certainly not the same Susan Collins who voted to acquit Donald Trump of the charges of abuse of power and the obstruction of congress because she thought he had really learned his lesson there. Clearly, it didn't take.
Collins, who is probably still worried that voters might hold her accountable for the impending loss of Roe v. Wade, because of how she voted to confirm an accused rapist who totally hates abortion to the Supreme Court, has been going hard toting her bipartisan street cred ahead of Maine's Senate election in November. Running as being awesome at bipartisanship is pretty much like putting a big sign on your head reading "I swear I'm not a total monster. Just half a total monster."
Senator Susan Collins - Ranked “most bipartisan senator" for 7th year in a row youtu.be
This is, however, a pretty good tactic in Maine -- a state where your old Volvo could get elected by running as an Independent beholden to nobody. While people in other parts of the country celebrate party loyalty and unity, New Englanders tend to eye such things with great suspicion. Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire all have more registered independent voters than voters of either party. There are only four other states in the country where that is the case, one of which is New Jersey, which is kind of like a giant Rhode Island anyway. Vermont would probably be right up there too, if they even had voter registration, which they do not, because Vermont.
This is generally how Collins keeps getting elected there, and also running without much strong competition. Because people are like "Oh, she's a rebel who plays by no one's rules but her own." However, it's been pretty clear these past few years that this supposed maverick streak disappears when voting time comes along.
Now, Collins is facing some pretty formidable challengers. From Democrats, who will hold their primary in July, we've got frontrunner and DCCC choice Sara Gideon, speaker of the Maine House of Representatives; Betsy Sweet, a pro-Medicare For All progressive and former director of the Maine Women's Lobby; and defense attorney Bre Kidman, who is running primarily on an anti-corruption and pro-criminal justice reform but is also pro-Medicare For All.
Also running against her are several independent challengers who seem pretty great as well — and since it's Maine, they have as good a shot at winning as anyone. Challenger Danielle VanHelsing hopes to become the first trans member of Congress, and school teacher and former Green Independent Candidate Lisa Savage, who supports basically everything that is good — Green New Deal, M4A, etc. There's also a Libertarian Party candidate named Justine Arnone, though I can't find anything about him outside of a Reddit post in which he says he is for a government that is "fiscally sound" and "socially tolerant."
Because Maine has ranked choice voting, Mainers will have the opportunity to vote for so many people who are not Susan Collins, which should be very exciting for them.
Anyway, this is now your open thread! Talk amongst yourselves!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse