Collins asserts someone else assaulted Ford

Sen. Collins with a grinning Brett Kavanaugh back in August: Was the fix in ahead of time? 

In a TV segment taped Saturday for Sunday airing, GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who cast the pivotal vote that put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, claimed she believes someone else assaulted Sen. Christine Blasey Ford.

The rest of her party abandoned the “mistaken identity” defense immediately after Dr. Ford convincingly testified she was “100% sure” that Kavanaugh was her attacker, but Collins is sticking with this weaker-than-weak defense in a lame attempt to justify her vote without appearing to attack Dr. Ford — which, of course, is exactly what she is doing.

Collins said, “I do believe that she was assaulted. I don’t know by whom. I’m not certain when.” That is patently ridiculous on its face.

A Senate confirmation hearing is a political proceeding, not a legal one, a fact made amply clear by the final vote: No Republican voted against Kavanaugh, and only one waffling red-state Democrat worried about his re-election prospects voted for him. Nevertheless, Republicans have tried to clothe this kangaroo confirmation in the robes of legal due process; Collins herself, in her self-serving Friday speech, rambled at length about “fairness.”

Of course, in the end, she was “fair” only to Kavanaugh, and ultimately decided only he was entitled to any benefit of doubt; and there was nothing fair about the GOP’s efforts to limit investigations, exclude witnesses, and keep the FBI’s final report secret.

Moreover, GOP Senate Majority Leader McConnell had made it clear from the outset, before any witnesses were heard, that Republicans’ minds were made up and nothing Dr. Ford said could affect the result. Indeed, he tried to prevent her from testifying at all. And even after they themselves described her testimony “compelling,” their obvious intention was to neutralize it, not seriously consider it.

Collins, now trying to justify her indefensible vote, sounds like the woman in the parable who wanted King Solomon to cut the baby in half. If you’re a mother, I’ll leave it to you to decide what to make of that approach.

Robert Kuttner, a liberal journalist with impressive academic credentials, tore into Collins’ meticulously cultivated image as a thoughtful moderate in an op-ed published Sunday by Huffington Post, arguing that her voting record portrays her as a McConnell flunky . You can read his piece here. This suggests Collins’ vote for Kavanaugh was in the bag from the beginning, which would explain how McConnell could honestly claim he had the votes to confirm Kavanaugh even before Dr. Ford testified.*

(* Journalists who know McConnell well say he isn’t given to idle boasting, and when he says he has enough votes, he always does.)

Kuttner’s thesis seems plausible. Collins clearly read her speech on Friday from a script, and I now strongly suspect her script was written by a team of GOP lawyers in consultation party leaders. It makes perfect sense that they recruited Collins, a woman who has cultivated an image as an independent-thinking “moderate,” and tried to maintain that image throughout this confirmation process, to deliver their defense of the end result of that process — with two other GOP female senators sitting serious-looking in the background as props.

My suspicion isn’t lessened by the fact I had no trouble knocking down her (their) arguments (here). My previous exposures to GOP lawyers left me with the impression they’re not very good, and are further hampered by the fact they usually don’t have good cases to work with, Dino Rossi’s 2004 election contest lawsuit being a case in point; and they certainly didn’t this time.

Here’s something else to consider. Collins didn’t have to be the GOP’s point person to deliver their defense of this charade. She was a willing, if not eager, participant. Two years from now, Maine voters will have to decide whether they want her to continue representing them in the U.S. Senate. You can help them decide here.



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