October 7, 2018

Susan Collins is definitely enjoying this moment in the spotlight.

Never mind that the senator from Maine utterly failed the women of America and disingenuously gave up her alleged pro-choice reputation by being the deciding vote to place a rabidly conservative anti-choice activist judge on the Supreme Court on the land, thereby rewarding the Trump administration for tainting yet another institution of this country.

Never mind that she ignored the thousands of women who marched, sat, protested, wrote, called and begged her to believe survivors.

Never mind that she had to twist herself into logic pretzels so convoluted that they contradict themselves mid-sentence.

Susan Collins allowed the Republican Party to gaslight America and now she's going to use that spotlight to do it some more on the Sunday shows.

On CNN's State of the Union, Susan Collins told guest host that while she absolutely believed that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was sexually assaulted as she said she was, she also believed Brett Kavanaugh just a little bit more that it wasn't him who did it.

"I'm not saying she was not sexually assaulted. I believe she was and that horrible experience has upended her life, but it does not mean that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant."

Sorry, Susie, it doesn't work that way. You cannot simultaneously say you believe women and then say that you don't believe she knows who attacked her. That's the definition of not believing.

Collins got noticeably angry when guest host Dana Bash suggested that this particular stance has hurt her with the reproductive rights crowd, dismissing Planned Parenthood as a group that just reflexively is against any Republican nominee, whether or not they prove to be personally pro-choice.

“First of all, I have never disregarded, disrespected or mocked survivors. That is just plain untrue,” Collins insisted, even though she had literally just disregarded Christine Blasey Ford not 30 seconds earlier.

"And I would note that Planned Parenthood opposed three pro-choice justices just because they were nominated by Republican presidents. David Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice [Anthony] Kennedy. They said the same thing: women will die, and this is just outrageous.”

It's probably an inconvenient fact that any rulings that may be viewed as pro-choice by these three justices came after they were seated and that none of them professed an opinion during their nomination hearings, a practice that Republicans have encouraged to avoid confirmation of their radical views. It's also part of the reason that Republicans felt so betrayed by Souter, who was nominated by George HW Bush and assumed to be as conservative as he.

But then again, why should we ever expect Susan Collins to be fact-based?

It wasn’t so much the “yes” vote, which you could see coming, as it was the overt and shameless gaslighting about Kavanaugh’s decisions and history. It wasn’t just the gaslighting, but the perceptible smirk evident throughout her delivery of a profoundly insulting, degrading, and condescending speech during which Collins self-righteously and blithely dismissed both the truths and the pain expressed by survivors of sexual assault and harassment across the country. It wasn’t just the blanket dismissal, but also the overt mocking of highly credible claims made against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford in a way that was only marginally less inhumane than Trump’s performance earlier in the week. It wasn’t just the treatment of claims of sexual assault, but the wholesale revision of Kavanaugh’s record, throughout which she tried to say we don’t see and know what we all clearly see and know. And if all that were not enough, Collins, the queen of “will-she-or-won’t-she,” a woman with an obviously wildly inflated sense of self-importance matched only by her outright disdain for real people, once again made herself the center of a drama the outcome of which will adversely affect the lives of millions.

It was a sinister, cynical, deeply anti-democratic speech. It was the height of double-speak. Collins, for example, has taken millions from corporations and dark money PACS to do their bidding, but called grassroots fundraising efforts to influence her vote a “bribe.” She spread conspiracy theories about citizens exercising their democratic rights; simultaneously claimed to “believe” a survivor of sexual assault while going on to claim that very survivor she doesn’t know what she’s talking about; and lauded a grossly incomplete FBI investigation that was manipulated and limited by the White House and the Senate GOP. She, in effect, exonerated a powerful white man and elevated him to further power by ignoring the pleas for justice of several women and many, many corroborating witnesses who were eager but not allowed to be interviewed. Collins also decried dysfunction in the confirmation process without ever mentioning the fact that Obama nominee Merrick Garland never even got a hearing, nor acknowledging that her own party refused to release tens of thousands of critical records to the committee tasked with evaluating Kavanaugh’s fitness. She, of course, did not address Kavanaugh’s multiple lies and evasions under oath. To do that, she would have had to tell a truth: She voted to put a perjurer on the Supreme Court.

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