An unlikely new star has lit up the conservative skies. Why unlikely? Because I never expected anything from Sen. Susan Collins except silence, and damned little of that.
Now that conservatism has proven its value on the playing fields of real life, it still seemed like pulling teeth after the ship’s doctor ran out of Novocaine to get Republican Sen. Collins to do or say anything that might make conservatives feel warm and fuzzy. Besides, her far northern Maine accent fell like a crash-landing on my deep-Southern ears, and her demeanor reminded me of my high school librarian. Sorry. Sen. Collins just seemed plain old odd. And then came Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, a date which will live in the annals of image reversal and great political joy!
The media kept telling us Collins would announce her voting intention at 3 p.m. Eastern time that Friday. I expected a brief interruption at which time the senator would take the podium and announce her voting plans, and that would be that. It was like expecting Weight Watchers hors d’oeuvres and instead getting a Bulgarian wedding feast! Collins spoke for 50 minutes, which may have been the most valuable 50 minutes in the history of American media.
Sen. Collins started with an earthquake and worked up to a climax. She tilted her talk so that almost from her first words you knew she was going to vote for Kavanaugh, and you knew Kavanaugh would prevail, thereby teaching the bad guys a good lesson. (Although, 24 hours later, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, impervious to that lesson, was still catatonically mumbling about what a terrible choice for the high court Kavanaugh was!)
Sen. Susan Collins’ unexpected and unparalleled declaration immediately engulfed the head and then, without stopping to reorganize its force, went straight for the heart. She made me ashamed I’d ever doubted her efficacy. She invoked the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, and cited the letter of long-ignored parts of the Constitution and even the Federalist Papers. As she spoke, I swore I could hear the strains of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” performed by Kate Smith!
I wanted to dive headlong into my TV set and dog-paddle through the troposphere right up to the Senate podium and give her a huge hug!
How do we now harness the power of Sen. Collins’ statement the way we harness a waterfall or a new oil well? America is the country that least understands itself. For proof I give you former first lady, senator and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, after losing to Donald Trump, proposed that we discard the Electoral College and elect our presidents by straight popular vote. One can understand why Hillary would favor that, but the mere suggestion betrays a breathtaking lack of understanding of what America is all about. America is not a “country.” America is 50 countries, sovereign states living under a miraculous federation that really works.
I say, let’s use Sen. Collins to teach America to Americans. There was a teacher in high school who kept nagging us to read the Federalist Papers. We hated him. I once tried to persuade a bunch of young people to read the Constitution. They hated me. And too bad. The idea of reading the Constitution is daunting, but it’s actually an easy read, not at all up there where the elephants make love – and you feel good after you’ve read it.
Let’s produce and distribute what will officially be known as “Senator Susan Collins’ Announcement of her Vote for Brett Kavanaugh.” We’ll nickname it
“Susan’s 50 Minutes.” If it goes viral, America will officially be great again.
Meanwhile, Sen. Collins, let me bestow upon you a glittering compliment they gave to the exceptionally brave soldiers during the Civil War.
You, Dear Senator, stood in the hedge and took up the gap!