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Senator Susan Collins Is a 'Yes.' It's Over

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 5, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | October 5, 2018 |


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3:15 Update: Susan Collins is a “yes.” It’s over. Kavanaugh will be confirmed tomorrow. Collins is not just a “yes,” either. Her speech is a thumb in the eye of sexual assault survivors, or “protesters whipped into a frenzy” by special interest groups, that special interest being the interest in NOT HAVING THEIR BODIES VIOLATED.

For what it’s worth, as a Maine resident, if she runs in 2020, I will do everything in my goddamn power to ensure she is not re-elected.

——-

12:08 Update: Flake is a yes. Murkowski is a no. If either Collins or Manchin votes yes, it’s over.

Update — On the cloture vote, Collins, Manchin, and Flake voted yes. Only Lisa Murkowski voted no. Now it goes to the full floor vote, and Susan Collins and Joe Manchin are expected to make their votes known on that this afternoon on the floor of the Senate. Seems like Murkowski is a no, and Manchin is likely a yes, so even if Collins swings to “no” on the final vote, Kavanaugh is confirmed on Manchin’s yes vote, unless Flake also flips (which isn’t going to happen).

In either respect, thank you, Lisa Murkowski. At least someone had the courage to stand up against their party.

—-

I keep seeing pundits warning Democrats that the longer the Kavanaugh confirmation is drawn out, the more national politics plays into the midterms, a notion that apparently favors the Republicans. OK, well: 1) This, in a way, is its own referendum, about the way in which sexual assault survivors are treated in this country. We don’t get a vote in it, but we sure as hell get a say, and 2) it’s October 5th. There’s a month until the midterms. Do you know how long a month is in Trump years? Do you know how many scandals will have come and gone in a month?

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota knows what’s up. She decided yesterday to vote “no” on Judge Kavanaugh. It wasn’t a political decision, because voting “no” is going to damage her already struggling chances of re-election in November. She’s basically the last Democrat in North Dakota, and this vote will almost sink her re-election bid. But, as she said, it was about doing what was right.

Meanwhile, Brett Kavanaugh made a last-minute appeal in the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal.

I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times. I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said. I hope everyone can understand that I was there as a son, husband and dad. I testified with five people foremost in my mind: my mom, my dad, my wife, and most of all my daughters.

Going forward, you can count on me to be the same kind of judge and person I have been for my entire 28-year legal career: hardworking, even-keeled, open-minded, independent and dedicated to the Constitution and the public good. As a judge, I have always treated colleagues and litigants with the utmost respect. I have been known for my courtesy on and off the bench. I have not changed.

This non-apology was designed to assuage the fears of the four “moderates” who will more or less decide today if Kavanaugh will be confirmed. Some might have been shaken by comments from former Justice John Paul Stevens, who doesn’t believe that Kavanaugh is fit for the court because of his temperament.

It’s also a sign of how uneasy Kavanaugh and the White House are about the vote today. They don’t have 50 votes yet, although most widely expect him to get them.

I’m going to say this: I have no doubt that Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Joe Manchin, and Lisa Murkowski are anguished over this decision. I genuinely believe they feel torn over which way to vote, and what’s kind of remarkable here is that voting against Kavanaugh is not likely to hurt any of their electoral chances. It may actually help Murkowski and Collins more than it would damage them; Flake is not running again; and Manchin has a sizable lead in West Virginia. For Collins, Murkowski, Flake, and Manchin, this won’t be a decision based on their own re-election prospects. It’s not one borne out of self-interest. It will be one based on their own conscience. It will be based on what they believe is right and just and moral.

And that’s exactly why it will hurt so much more when they refuse to take Heidi Heitkamp’s lead. We’re going to find out exactly where their consciences lie today. I suspect we will find that they are lacking. That they will side with the party with a President who mocks sexual assault survivors, who mocked Al Franken last night for resigning, for “folding like a wet rag,” and they will side with a Senator who told sexual assault survivors just last night to “grow up.”




Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.



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