Jim Fossel writes in his Sept. 6 column that Sen. Susan Collins “firmly occupies the center lane,” noting that she “votes with [the president] less often than any other Senate Republican.”

This statement misses the point. Collins creates the illusion of being a moderate, generally by being “concerned” about the important issues of the day; but when her vote really counts, she fails to stand up to Trump and votes counter to her professed moderate values.

Three key examples: First, her support of the president’s tax legislation, 80 percent of which benefits big corporations and wealthy Americans (both rare birds in Maine); second, her support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who in private convinced her he strongly supported “precedent” in making court decisions, right before voting to overturn precedent on the first abortion rights case that came his way; and third, her vote not to impeach the president (when she was so obviously distressed by his unethical and illegal behavior that she sought to distance herself from him).

Collins is said to view Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who famously stood up to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s unhinged campaign to ferret out communists in the government and elsewhere, as her inspiration and role model. That moment was Sen. Smith’s public “profile in courage,” and put her in the history books.

Sen. Collins’ most important votes have not been profiles in courage, and all her other votes don’t compensate for her failure to rise above her political calculations.

Steven Price

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