Sen. Collins wants new tax incentives for energy-saving homeowners, even though she's never adequately explained how we can afford the current slate of President Bush's tax cuts for the mega-rich. (Which she supported.)
She says she wants to reduce dramatically our military presence in Iraq, even though she's opposed every attempt in the Senate to achieve such a reduction.
Look: I want to end global warming and usher in an era of sustainable living. But if I fly to Spain every weekend, drive a gas guzzler to work and protest a new wind farm because it may harm my sea view--at a certain point, you have to question the seriousness of my commitment.
When someone refuses, year after year, to act on her professed desires, it's a signal. It doesn't mean the person is lying. But it does mean that these "wants" should be seen as something more akin to "aspirations" than concrete, binding pledges.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with aspirations. But a legislators power is the power to act: To hold hearings, to craft legislation, to vote.
So let's all try to filter out the lofty, gauzy rhetoric. Legislators need to be judged on the basis of what they do, and what they commit to doing.