Sen. Susan Collins still has Politico reporters Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine snowed. Check out this lede: “Susan Collins has watched countless gun debates stall out over the years. But this time, she says, will be different. The Maine moderate has long been a lonely voice on guns in the GOP.”
Brave, brave Susan Collins, standing up to her party for all these years. Years in which, by the way, the Republican Party has only become more beholden to the NRA, more extreme in fighting anything resembling a sane approach to gun violence. But this time will be different, Senator? This time they’ll listen to you? Uh huh.
She’s talked to Sens. Pat Toomey and Rob Portman and White House legislative director Eric Ueland about potential gun safety reforms, she says, and plans to talk to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We’re determined that we take something up. Plus, the White House this time is it at least open to something,” she says. Uh huh.
“The president is key on this,” Collins said. “He does seem to be calling for some sort of background check tightening and also some sort of red flag bill. Now obviously the details matter a great deal but if he advocates those two positions that will help us with members of the Republican Caucus.” Uh huh.
Here’s her plan, according to Politico. “Tweaking the background checks bill sponsored by Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to gain GOP support, passing a ‘red flag’ law that allows temporary removal of guns from people deemed imminent threats, and cracking down on straw gun purchases.” That’s Collins playing the same game Republicans and the NRA have been playing FOREVER: pretend to take up legislation and look like you’re doing something, then water it down or poison it so much that it can’t get any Democratic support and fails.
This is a glaringly transparent move for Collins to try to sell a disillusioned Maine electorate on her still being the moderate they’ve been voting for all these years. She’s not. She’s a useful tool for Mitch McConnell. If she truly wanted to make a difference on gun safety, she’d be joining with Democrats in demanding that the Senate come back and vote on the House bills.
She’s being completely disingenuous in this, and Politico is falling for it.