Friday, June 29, 2007

AWKWARD SITUATION IN MAINE: SNOWE, MICHAUD, ALLEN vs COLLINS

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Together, they covered up for Bush and made it worse-- much worse

There are very few senators who glom on to another senator and just copy their every move; most have more self respect. But there are always an exception or two. I've noticed that Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas' pathetic reactionary senator-- well the woman one; the male pathetic, reactionary is Mark Pryor-- always copies the equally pathetic and reactionary Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, the Democrats' most endangered incumbent-- not Republican enough for the Republicans and too Republican for the Democrats. The Senate will be a far better place without her. But what will Blanche do? I guess she'll just have to find someone else to mimic. Susan Collins (R-ME) did. For her entire senatorial career she has basically just done whatever Maine's senior Senator, Olympia Snowe did. Their voting records are very close, although Collins is always a little more likely to hew to the GOP line and it is always a big drama when Snowe takes an independent position and poor Collins gets confused and upset trying to figure out what to do.

But now she doesn't have to worry about that any longer. She's finished copying Olympia Snowe. Bizarrely, she has chosen a new mentor, Joe Lieberman, like herself, a reflexive rubber stamp for Bush and Cheney, each from a progressive state where there is a need to cover that posture up at every opportunity. This week the Lewiston Sun Journal blew the whistle on Collins-- at least in terms of the escalation in and occupation of Iraq. Republican Snowe agrees with Democrats Mike Michaud and Tom Allen that Mainers want the U.S. out of Iraq. Like her new role model, Lieberman, Collins is sticking with Bush and Cheney on that one.

Just as her re-election campaign kicks off-- with a Lieberman-sponsored fundraiser-- Collins finds herself the odd man out. Senator Snowe acknowledges that Iraq is "the paramount issue in Maine, as it is across America." Collins' opponent, Rep. Tom Allen, is happy to reach across the partisan divide on this and welcome Senator Snowe aboard. He's been pointing out the folly of Bush's policies in Iraq from the very beginning. He says it's the top issue in the state. "People are overwhelmingly looking for an exit strategy and support setting a deadline for getting our troops out of harm's way," said U.S. Rep. Tom Allen's spokesman, Mark Sullivan. Michaud agrees with Snowe and Allen, explaining that his constituents "have consistently and overwhelmingly called for an end to American military participation in Iraq."

So while the 2 Democrats who represent between them the whole state, and Senator Snowe, who also represents the whole state, claim their constituents, in Snowe's words, "range from those looking for our present course in Iraq to end or change dramatically, to those who are calling for phasing out or completely withdrawing our troops," Collins seems to think she represents a different place that isn't Maine. Of course, it isn't Connecticut either, but her deceptive rhetoric is very reminiscent of... well, you guessed... Joe Lieberman's.
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Iraq is a big concern, but not the top one.

Unlike the other three, Collins' office said the consensus from constituents isn't to get out of Iraq right away, or even soon. Her constituents have many different opinions about the war, said spokesman Kevin Kelley.

However, Collins "agrees with Mainers who believe that the current strategy in Iraq has failed to achieve the goal of a peaceful, stable democracy," Kelley said.

Collins has said that if President George W. Bush's surge strategy does not demonstrate results later this year, "Congress should consider all options including a gradual but significant withdrawal of our troops next year."

Collins is about to find out that most Mainers have already made up their minds about Bush's escalation and they don't agree with her footdragging or her mimicking of Lieberman's reactionary policies. Lieberman has, however, managed to get his K Street buddies to donate huge amounts of lobbyist cash to Collins' campaign. I urge all DWT readers to consider a donation-- even $5 or $10-- to Tom Allen, someone who has consistently opposed Bush's and Cheney's toxic agenda and will be a fantastic replacement for Collins in the Senate. One Joe Lieberman is more than enough. Please donate here.

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