When you’re as far ahead as [PDF] Senator Susan Collins – one of the widest margins of any incumbent United States Senator in the nation – it’s utterly natural for your opponent to desperately try to become relevant. Democrat Shenna Bellows has been doing just that in her quixotic quest to unseat Susan Collins. That’s to be expected.
What’s not to be expected is to have the local press carry the water for such an underdog candidate, making her points for her. The latest tortured example is Rebekah Metzler trying to tie Collins’ willingness to negotiate on the minimum wage to Bellows’ position on it.
Of course, as the Washington Post article to which Metzler linked makes perfectly clear, a willingness to negotiate is nothing new for Susan Collins – not even on this specific issue. She’s always been willing to work with her colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and this is just the latest example. The idea that she’s only negotiating on an issue in reaction to an opponent who she leads by more than thirty points is silly.
This year has just been the norm for Collins, who’s worked in a bipartisan way on issues ranging from beer (yes, beer) to CIA oversight to the unemployment insurance extension. It’s not an “election year ploy”, it’s simply how Susan Collins has operated throughout her career. Maine voters know this, which is why she remains so overwhelmingly popular and a heavy favorite for reelection.
You can expect Susan Collins to spend a lot of time reaching out to the voters of Maine between now and November, as she always does. What you won’t see is her changing her policy positions in reaction to Shenna Bellows, because she’s never done that. She didn’t when she ran in more competitive races, and she certainly won’t be now.
If Susan Collins is negotiating on an issue, you can bet that it’s because she’s trying to do what she believes is best for Maine and the nation. One might not agree with her, but to question her motive based on a political threat that just doesn’t exist is absurd.