Monday, January 14, 2008

We Noticed

You'll remember that a couple weeks back we expressed confusion about Sen. Collins' curious, questionable alliance with State Department official Stuart Bowen.

Today, the Washington Post--in a piece aptly-titled "It's Maine. Who's Going to Notice?"--unpacks some of that confusion, and answers a few of our questions:

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr., whose own office is under investigation by the FBI and three other entities for waste and mismanagement, raised a few eyebrows last week when he showed up in Maine with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and told the state's leading paper she was the "most consistent and effective supporter of our oversight in Iraq."

Collins is in a tight reelection battle in a blue state where the war, and her prior support for it, could be a critical factor. Last year she helped save Bowen's office, which has exposed enormous waste and fraud in the Iraq rebuilding effort, after House Republicans tried to kill it.

Bowen, a former top aide to President Bush in Texas, last week went to Maine with Collins to speak at a college and then joined her at an editorial board meeting of the Portland Press Herald-Maine Sunday Telegram, where he praised her for supporting him.

His trip didn't go unnoticed in Washington. A senior State Department official said he was "puzzled" by Bowen's appearance alongside Collins. "I wondered what he was doing," the official said. "This is the kind of thing we're taught not to do."
Let's be fair: It's not as if Sen. Collins has single-handedly politicized the executive branch.

But her willingness--and seeming eagerness--to participate in the Bowen charade shows poor ethical judgment: An inspector general's legitimacy depends on a perception of independence and political neutrality, and Collins ought to know that.

It also underscores that for whatever reason, seven years in, the junior senator still desperately craves the Bush administration's seal of approval.

(And by the way, if Collins has been the "most consistent and effective supporter of our oversight in Iraq" then Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is a pacifist.)

4 comments:

mainefem said...

Pop Quiz~

Who is the President of Husson College?

Bill Beardsley--note campaign contributions to Collins & Snowe.

"In December 1994, Senator Collins became the founding executive director of the Center for Family Business at Husson College"

Chertoff was in Bangor this fall w/Collins, also (Suze is "protecting us" from thim evildoer Canadian terrists/tourists).

...while "bravely" dodging a storm of acorns (not an oak tree in sight near the federal building).

Furthermore, how in the world does Jonathan E. Kaplan manage to teleport himself from D.C. to Portland (in his new role as _PPH_'s Washington "correspondent")?

I thought Maine's Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc.'s employees were experiencing mass layoffs.

Is Kaplan's gig pro bono?

Maine Owl said...

WABI just showed us how S.C. is protecting us from terrorists by touring the new Bangor police headquarters. Oh, maybe more Terror War money is forthcoming too...

mainefem said...

Well, new Bangor P.D. police chief, Ron Gastia wants a piece of action w/the TRIPwire program (charter buses filled with "thim terrist" Canadians must be setting off IEDs while in Bangor-Brewer shopping)?

Let's tack up Maine's borders with barbwire, too (I'm sure that racist and xenophobic McCain would approve)--every pine tree; and along the entire coastline.

Marden's is under siege...oh, no!!

'Terrists' can research on Google, re: how to make a bomb.

[...]

"This computerized database called TRIPwire can allow police departments across the state to learn more about the techniques terrorists are using, to identify bomb components and other warning signs such as the unwarranted purchase of chemicals that could be used to make a bomb," Collins said after the press conference."

[....]

Chertoff just *happened* to be on hand (how much did that trip cost U.S. taxpayers?) on 11.2.07.

Furthermore, the _BDN's_ "objective" reporter is similar to Kaplan--out of Boston (Rebekah Metzler
Boston University Washington News Service); so was she actually present at said "news conference?"

If so, who pays Metzler's commuting costs (harken to Suze meeting w/the editorial boards of Blethen & _BDN_ of late)?

*cough*

To my knowledge, all Maine newspapers have experienced mass layoffs; and subscriptions/ad revenues are tanking.

_BDN's_ office is less than two miles from the federal building on Harlow St.

A local would know that there isn't an acorn tree anywhere near the federal building, for starters (even across the street, into the accessory parking lot--would need to be quite a puff of wind to elicit anyone braving a so-called acorn "storm").

Pfffft.

Fast forward to 1.4.08--breaking news:

Bangor chief returns from FBI academy

Contrapositive said...

Folks,

I appreciate the news and insights--which I wish there was more of in our Comments. Going forward, though, I'd like to try to keep the conversation more or less centered on the topic of the post itself.

I'm not saying there's no room for moving the discussion forward, tangents, etc. But I'd like things not to stray *too* from from the subject at hand.

Collins Watch