The Universal Notebook: Congratulations, Sen. Collins

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So Sen. Susan Collins has won a fifth six-year term in office. Congratulations, senator. In doing so you established a new low in negative campaigning, running the dirtiest race in Maine political history.

Lies, of course, are what politics is all about these days, and this time around Collins stopped pretending she was above such Trumpian prevarication and promoted the biggest lie of the 2020 election, that Sara Gideon protected a sexual predator.

Just to set the record straight, Gideon was the only person in Maine who actually did something about former Rep. Dillon Bates, the Westbrook legislator accused of having sexual relations with underage girls. The police did nothing. The district attorney and attorney general did nothing. The Republicans in the state Legislature did nothing. Collins did nothing. Gideon asked Bates to resign, which he did, just not soon enough for those who twist the truth for a living. 

If accusations of sexual misconduct (in Bates’ case, anonymous accusations in an alternative newspaper) were enough to defeat a candidate or nominee, Donald Trump would never have become president, and Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh would not be on the U.S. Supreme Court.  

Bottom line: Gideon removed an accused sexual predator from the Maine Legislature. Collins confirmed an accused sexual predator to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Congratulations, Sen. Collins.

Gideon was a strong candidate, performing well under pressure despite all the mud slung at her and her family. Dirty politics was expected from the Republican swamp in Washington, but the most damaging muck was hurled by someone who should have been a Democratic ally, retired Maine TV newsman Bill Green.

Green apparently became Collins’ shill because his sister is a friend of Collins. Green called the anti-Collins ads funded by out-of-state dark money flowing into the Gideon campaign “shameless,” completely ignoring the fact that Collins benefited just as much from out-of-state dark money as Gideon did. What’s more, it was Collins who cast the deciding vote to allow dark money groups to keep their donors anonymous.

Pollsters say one of the reasons they failed to call the Maine senate race correctly is that they under-estimated the number of voters who voted for both Joe Biden and Susan Collins. You might call them jackass voters. And Green is a classic Maine jackass, a Democrat who voted for Democrat Biden and Republican Collins. Everything you get by electing Biden, Bill, you lose by re-electing Collins.

A lot of GOP noise was made about Gideon being a millionaire from Rhode Island and Collins being an Aroostook County girl, but Collins, too, is a millionaire and the daughter of a millionaire family. She is no more of an average Mainer than Gideon is. Anyway, the fact that someone was born in Maine is absolutely meaningless, witness Virginia native Angus King’s excellence as governor and now senator, and Minnesota native Chellie Pingree’s admirable service in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A lot has also been made of the fact that Gideon outspent Collins 2-to-1 and still lost. To me, that just goes to show how truly disliked Collins is. People from all over the country were willing to contribute tens of millions of dollars in hopes of making one of Trump’s chief enablers stay home in Maine.

But now, thanks to the jackass vote, Susan Collins is back in D.C. defending Trump’s refusal to follow the rule of law and acknowledge the results of the election.

Congratulations, Sen. Collins.

Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix, where he also writes the monthly Art Seen feature.