Yesterday, during the Senate debate, Susan Collins took to the Senate floor to decry the politics surrounding the war debate — not the war itself necessarily, but the politics surrounding it. Yes, Susan is tired of the politics of the war in 2008, but as we shall see, she loved the war politics when it worked to her advantage in 2002.
First, let’s just say the difference between Collins and her opponent, Tom Allen, could not be more stark. She was pathetic during her floor speech last night. Matt Stoller thought she looked “frightened.” Bob Geiger also weighed in:
Unclear on the concept award goes to Susan Collins (R-ME) who said many times in her speech tonight that the Senate needs to “move past politics” in resolving the Iraq quagmire.
Note to Collins: “Politics” is defined by Dictionary.com as “the science or art of political government.” In other words, it’s not a dirty word — it’s your job description.
Now, having the blood of thousands of U.S. troops and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians on your hands — that’s dirty stuff.
Compare that to Tom Allen who spoke at the rally on Capitol Hill last night. Chris Achorn has the video. As you watch that video, keep in mind that Tom could defeat Collins and be the next Senator from Maine. So, you’ll probably want to contribute to Tom’s campaign.
Earlier this week, Collins told the Politico she wasn’t sure if Bush would campaign for her this year. She’s stood by George Bush on the war for the past five years — barely wavering in her loyalty to the leader of her party. Things were so different for Collins back in 2002. That’s when Republicans could use war-mongering to their political advantage. Back in 2002, Bush campaigned for Susan Collins — TWICE. Yep, those were the days when GOPers LOVED using the Iraq war for politics. I re-read Bush’s speech at the August 3, 2002 fundraiser and at another event in Bangor on October 22, 2002. It was a disturbing look back. Back then, Bush was laying the groundwork for the invasion of Iraq based on faulty intelligence and lies. Back then, Susan had Bush’s back. Here’s an excerpt from Bush’s remarks at the fundraiser for Susan Collins in August 2002:
Our task and our responsibility to history is more than just an Al Qaida network. We owe it to the future of civilization not to allow the world’s worst leaders to develop and deploy and therefore blackmail free, loving countries with the world’s worst weapons. I’m a patient man. I’m a patient man. I’ve got a lot of tools at my disposal. But I can assure you, I understand history has called us into action, and this country will defend freedom no matter what the cost.
Two months later, as the election neared, Bush was using more menacing language — truly politicizing Iraq for Susan’s benefit. Here’s what Bush said as he stood by Susan’s side in October 2002:
I want to remind you that we’re dealing with a man who has used weapons of mass destruction on his own people, on people in his neighborhood. This is a man who has defied the United Nations 16 times over an 11-year period. The world has said, you must do what you said you would do, Saddam Hussein, and that is disarm. And 16 times the United Nations, over and over and over again, has written resolution after resolution, saying, Mr. Saddam Hussein, you must disarm. And he has defied and international body.
So I gave a speech, and I said to the world, for the sake of peace, for the sake of peace at home, for the sake of peace in the Middle East, for the sake of determining whether or not that international body is going to be the League of Nations or the United Nations, Saddam Hussein must disarm, and we expect you, the world, to disarm him. (Applause.) For the sake of peace, for the sake of security for our country. It’s his choice to make. You said you would disarm, disarm. The United Nations has asked you to disarm, they need to work together to disarm. But my fellow Americans, if they won’t act, and if Saddam Hussein won’t act, for the sake of peace, for the sake of our security, we will lead a coalition to disarm that man. (Applause.)
Well, you know the rest. Bush started the war with Susan’s full support. Now, we know the costs. And, with Susan in the Senate, there’s little hope for change. Her heart and soul belong to George Bush. In 2008, they can retire together. And, again, to make sure Collins loses, contribute to Tom Allen. It matters. It really, really matters.