A Profile in Cowardice

What The Folly?! recognizes Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for her impassioned speech on why she thinks Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be repealed. It takes a special kind of courage to profess support for the repeal on moral grounds only vote against it (minutes later) for political reasons. Sen. Collins offered this feeble explanation:

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine)

I find myself on the horns of the dilemma: I support the provisions in this bill, I debated for them, I was the sole Republican in the committee that voted for the Lieberman-Levin language on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I think it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s only fair. I think we should welcome the service of these individuals who are willing and capable of serving their country. But I cannot vote to proceed to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down debate and preclude Republican amendments…That too is not fair. Now is not the time to play politics simply because an election is looming in a few weeks.

When it mattered the most, Sen. Collins did not bow to public pressure (especially from Lady Gaga) to vote for the repeal. She decided to stand up for a less-sympathetic but nonetheless a repressed minority: the Republican Senators. She thought it was fundamentally unfair that her Republican colleagues were being denied the procedural right to submit amendments to the bill. The right to file amendments outweighed the importance of approving the 1.4% pay increase for the troops, $725 billion for the Pentagon, $159 billion for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ‘Dream Act’ provision that would provide a path towards citizenship for youths who are in the country illegally. The junior Senator from Maine deserves applause for choosing politics over principle while declaring “Now is not the time to play politics simply because an election is looming in a few weeks” with a straight face. Her cowardice should be recognized by all. The Republicans are lucky to have her.

 

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