More on Collins

September 20, 2020 7:06 a.m.

Mainer TPM Reader AF follows up with some important detail and correction about my note on Susan Collins and her statement. I stand by the point I made last night. But it was an – I hope – uncharacteristic imprecision to call it a “promise”. As AF states, it’s definitely not. If Collins thinks it is in her interest I definitely think she will vote to confirm before the election. And I think it’s highly likely she’ll do so, win or lose, during the lame duck session after the election. But my same point holds, she’s judged it is strongly against her interest to vote at all before the election. It’s Democrats’ challenge to press her on this purported commitment and her history of breaking such commitments for the next six weeks. TPM Reader AF

Susan Collins’ statement is punditry, without any promised actions.

Collins said a vote on a nomination should wait until after the election. She didn’t say a word about what she would do or not do.

Take a closer look at Collins’ statement. She says Trump has the right to make a nomination. She says she has “no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials.” After that she says there shouldn’t be a vote before the election.

As a senior advisor to the NRSC points out, that doesn’t say anything about the lame duck session.

And there is no promise in her statement about what would happen if a nomination was brought to the floor before the election.

Collins could have said she would not vote for a nominee before the election or, should Biden win, during the lame duck. But she didn’t.

This is a typical Collins statement, allowing readers to read things into it that simply aren’t there. It also manages to generate the headlines she wants suggesting she’s independent.

But she’s just giving an opinion, like when she said Trump’s Ukraine call was “inappropriate” and then voted against removing Trump for abuse of power, or the many times she says she’s concerned or disappointed and then does nothing to stop Trump or hold him accountable.

Meanwhile, she’s giving a green light to Trump naming a nominee AND the Judiciary Committee starting its work.

Collins has never missed a roll call and never voted against a Supreme Court nomination. There is no reason to think she’ll start now.

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