There is no deader horse to beat in the gutters of Blogistan than Susan Collins’s endless fandango with her amazingly malleable political conscience. Entire generations, it seems, have been born and gone to dust in the time it takes for Collins to make up her mind and come to the usually inevitable conclusion that she’s a Republican and, therefore, crazy. If Collins were a weathervane, she’d spin so fast that the entire roof of the barn would come off and sail away across the landscape.
On Tuesday, though, we may have had a masterclass in Collinsology. She took entirely predictable dives on two major issues involving the president* who so often gives her great cause for Serious Concerns. First, she’s decided, along with the slightly less predictable Lisa Murkowski, to line up with Mitch McConnell’s effort to short-circuit the impeachment trial in the Senate. Collins followed that up with a characteristic bit of forelock-tugging on the question of whether the president* can make war on Iran on his own. It is an altogether remarkable parlay of cowardice masquerading as thoughtfulness.
First, from The Hill, as to the impeachment trial:
[Susan] Collins told reporters at Monday evening votes that the Senate should follow the 1999 precedent and consider the question of subpoenaing additional witnesses and documents only after House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team present their opening arguments.
She noted in a statement Monday that then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) adopted a resolution in 1999 to set out the rules for the proceeding that didn't include any agreement for specific witnesses to testify.
“The process moved to a period during which the Senate debated and voted that three witnesses should be deposed. I believe that this process — the Clinton approach — worked well,” she said. Murkowski also urged colleagues to follow the path laid out during the Clinton trial. “I think we need to do what they did the last time they did this unfortunate process and that was to go through a first phase and then they reassessed after that,” she told reporters.
There are a number of problems with this approach, which is tantamount to telling Mitch McConnell he can chloroform the proceedings any time he wants. The most obvious one is that El Caudlillo del Mar-a-Lago is not Bill Clinton, and his crimes in office are a genuine threat to the stability of constitutional government. In addition, in the Clinton impeachment, witnesses were allowed. Here’s Lindsey Graham on CSPAN in 1999, talking about why that should be the case. Oh, and here’s Mitch McConnell agreeing with him in a clip exhumed by CNN. Anybody want to bet that Collins and/or Murkowski will turn on McConnell after the “first phase” is over?
The question of unleashing the president*’s incoherent war plans on Iran is a newer one and, therefore, Collins has retreated into her book-lined and drafty mental attic. To be fair, she has a lot of company there, including a tap-dancing Aqua Buddha from Kentucky. From Politico:
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a measure on Friday that would force the Trump administration to stop hostilities with Iran that are not authorized by Congress — unless the United States faces an imminent attack. Because the resolution was filed under the War Powers Act, Kaine can force the Senate to take up the matter on the floor as soon as next Monday...
Last summer, four Republicans broke with their party to support an amendment offered by Kaine and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) to require congressional approval for military action against Iran: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah. Paul said on Monday he supports the concept of Kaine’s resolution and plans to discuss the details with the Virginia Democrat. “The death of Soleimani, I think, is the death of diplomacy,” Paul said. “There are people who do believe that Congress should declare war, and there’s more than just me on that. … There have also been some people on both sides who have been consistent in saying that we can’t give up this power.”
Collins said she wants “to look at the specifics” of Kaine’s proposal, but added that “it is important he not infringe on the president’s role as commander in chief to respond to an imminent threat...This is one where the language really matters,” she said.
This is now the state of moderate Republicanism. You think long and hard before involving yourself in the next disaster. It’s mummery with a loaded gun.
Date Posted: Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 , Total Page Views: 2511
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