Monday, February 26, 2007

Breaking out the Kid Gloves

The Kennebec Journal lets Sen. Collins off way too easy in this editorial on the junior senator's decision to renege on her 1996 commitment to serve no more than two terms:

Collins' answer to her critics is that when she made the pledge, she wasn't truly aware of the power of long-term incumbency--and now she is. We're a little suspect of that explanation...Susan Collins was an experienced political hand when she made her pledge who surely knew, at some level, the power of seniority.

We'd be happier with the good senator if she just said what really appears to be the case: She changed her mind. She likes being a U.S. senator (who wouldn't?) and wants to stay on the job. Changing one's mind is generally a signal of openness to new ideas and evidence, not political perfidy...

Certainly, it would be nice if none of us made promises we can't keep, or don't intend to keep. But who among us--except the saintly, perhaps--has not changed our mind at least once, an act which could be interpreted by some (often our children) as a faithless about-face?

Note to Kennebec Journal: This isn't about "changing one's mind." It's not about white lies or personal foibles and it's got nothing to do with failing to live up to the expectations of your children.

It's about a public commitment to voters, made in the context of a political campaign.

Collins wanted something from the people of Maine and the promise was a way to help get it--plain and simple. She signed a contract with Maine citizens and she's now getting ready to fink on her end of the bargain.

We can argue about the significance of Collins' broken promise--how important it should be to voters in 2008. But can we all please agree that it's more serious, and tells us more about Collins' character, than a broken dinner date?

Read Craig's take at Turn Maine Blue here.

1 comment:

tomforsenate said...

Well said.

What's at stake here is nothing less than Americans' faith in the word of their elected officials. If the campaign pledge, something that should represent a sacred trust between a candidate and the voters, is allowed to devolve into a clever campaign tactic that implies no true commitment, the strength of our democracy suffers.

And people wonder why Americans care so little about politics.