Thursday, March 10, 2011


Did Jonathan Riskind at PPH botch the story on the Senate budget vote? Did Sen. Collins flip-flop?

Those seem like the only two possibilities, but there may actually be a third: That Collins wants Mainers to swallow the idea that she voted for a bill which she nonetheless does not support.

It's actually not as crazy as it sounds. After all, pretty frequently legislators face votes where the outcome is in doubt, and where the bill has some provisions they love and others they loathe. In those situations, pols have to choose between backing a bill they see as fundamentally flawed or voting against legislation with lots of goodies buried inside it.

It's a professional hazard and it happens all the time. But let's be clear: This isn't one of those situations.

Why? Because as Collins acknowledges in her press release, the House GOP budget was never going to pass. The vote was all about sending a message.

And in that case--when symbolism is the only thing at stake--there's simply no reason to vote for a bill unless you actually support it. To suggest otherwise is to be guilty of incoherence.

The junior senator, of course, is not above a little strategic incoherence every now and then.

But if that's what she's up to here, shame on the Maine press for letting her get away with it.

UPDATE: From Collins' press release:

"I am left with a choice between a proposal that doesn't go nearly far enough and one that makes many wrong choices."
That's just false. There were two separate, up-or-down votes on two separate bills. At no time was the junior senator forced to choose one over the other.

Susan Collins is lying.

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