Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has written an op-ed for the Washington Post stating she cannot vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump because his controversial remarks mean, somehow, that he cannot be trusted with the nuclear codes.
It is a version of the argument Democrats have made for several weeks, and that hardcore “NeverTrump” narcissists have plastered all over social media: that what Trump has said is worse than what Hillary actually did in the Obama administration.
One would think that launching a war against Libya without congressional approval, cheering the unauthorized assassination of its leader, and letting the region slide into terrorism and chaos all argue against letting Hillary control a water pistol.
But no — Trump cannot be trusted with life-or-death decisions because he made fun of a disabled reporter, was rude to Megyn Kelly, unfairly suggested a Mexican-American judge was biased, and responded to a political attack by Gold Star parents.
Collins makes does not even bother to apply an equal standard to Hillary Clinton, who accused the Benghazi parents of lying, joked about “colored people’s time,” blamed “white privilege” for police shootings, and circulated articles by an antisemite.
Instead, Collins says she will not vote for either nominee — as if she can evade responsibility by going third-party. Not voting Trump means helping Hillary: each non-vote is one less vote Hillary must worry about, in a state that splits its electoral votes.
This would not be the first time Collins has been on the wrong side of a crucial issue. Breaking with the party is one thing; voting for a disaster like Obama’s stimulus, which wasted $862 billion and provoked the Tea Party into being, is another.
She compares Trump to the ideal rather than comparing Trump to Clinton — the only comparison that matters. Moreover, her argument is neither original, nor unique to Trump. In 2008, Obama said Sen. John McCain’s “temperament” made him unsuited for the presidency. But Bill Clinton has a volatile temper, as did Lyndon Johnson, yet neither nuked the world.
Collins presents the argument for Trump as a matter of mere party loyalty — as if keeping Hillary Clinton, and her radical policies, away from the White House were not a matter of principle. But Collins lacks the credibility to make that argument.
Though she frequently dissents from her GOP colleagues, the main reason anyone outside of Maine cares about Susan Collins is because she has an (R) after her name.
Republicans raise money for her despite her idiosyncrasies because they need her vote. And she has committee posts only because other Republicans elsewhere voted to give her party a Senate majority.
If she cannot support the party’s nominee, then, in good conscience, Collins should resign those leadership positions.
But Collins, like the rest of the NeverTrump faction, is about preening, not principle. She would rather cede the White House, and the Supreme Court, than endure Trump’s poor taste. That is pure, elitist vanity.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.