When you can’t debate, resort to theatrics.
Via Daily Beast:
On a rainy day in mid-September, a small group of students from Bates College and a Democratic candidate for Senate descended upon Sen. Susan Collins’ Lewiston office and pretended to die.
Protest die, that is.
Some held “Stop Kavanaugh” signs with bandages around their heads, others had arms in slings. One young woman had fake blood plastered down the inside of her legs with a wire hanger hanging from her black shorts.
“As we go in, we are going to fake die,” one student said, telling fellow protesters to position the signs they were carrying over their bodies. The student instructed the others to say “whatever we think will move Susan Collins but also having the image be a big part of moving her in itself.”
Collins was not moved.
The Maine senator cast her vote in favor of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Sunday but not before taking the opportunity on Friday to give a speech on the Senate floor in which she took a swipe at those who—she said—tried to bully her into voting no.
Among those who made such an attempt were the students captured in a video posted on Democratic Senate candidate Zak Ringelstein’s Facebook page in mid-September. But there were plenty others too. Over the past few weeks, protesters, sexual assault survivors, Democratic activists and individuals staging “die-ins” have all gone to Collins’ offices in D.C. and Maine and even to her home in hopes of swaying her vote on Kavanaugh. What they discovered is that the senator will listen to constituents and hear opposing viewpoints. But, when push comes to shove, she simply doesn’t respond to pressure campaigns. […]
Jim Manley, a former Democratic leadership staffer said that Collins often is among the more difficult senators to persuade, precisely because she votes Republican while maintaining the veneer of a sensible centrist. That was true with respect to Kavanaugh. And it’s been true at other times too.
During the 2009 stimulus vote, Manley recalled, Collins spent a lot of time with then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) negotiating in his office.
“As far as [Sen. Harry] Reid was concerned, if you want to try to get Collins’ vote, you had to spend a lot of time to convince her to get to your point of view,” Manley said. Even after she demanded that Democrats ultimately reduce the amount of the stimulus, Reid never tried to exert negative pressure on her. “She was too quirky for that to work,” Manley said.
Eventually, Collins chose to support the measure, just one of three Republicans to do so.
In other major legislative debates, those trying to win Collins’ vote haven’t shown the adequate finesse. During talks over tax reform, environmentalists walked into her office dressed as reindeer in an attempt to convince her that the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve should not be opened up for drilling, as it was under the bill.
“It just annoyed her,” the first former staffer said. “She has thick skin. She doesn’t mind being annoyed.”
When the Senate was trying to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the “skinny” version, a different left center group chose to approach her as a potential ally. Instead of public protests or massive social media campaigns, they presented how Maine would be impacted by the proposed legislation. Collins ended up being one of three Republican holdouts on the bill, effectively killing it.
“They went at her as if she were a lawmaker that wanted to get herself where she could stand solidly on data and say, ‘I’m making this decision because I’ve been provided information by these people,’” the former staffer said.
Collins came to her vote on Kavanaugh in similar fashion, those who know her say. And, as has been the case in previous high-profile debates, the political fallout has been the same. The senator is, once again, under immense criticism from one side of the ideological ledger, with heightened talk of her being unseated in the next election.