Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has long enjoyed being described as a moderate in the national and local media, although any close observer knows that when it counts, Collins most often sides with her party. Collins was the first chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and now is the minority lead on it, and as such takes an active role in foreign affairs.
It is under that guise that Collins appears to be politicking in Massachusetts.
After meeting yesterday, Collins blasted UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who many expect President Obama will nominate as the next Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton is expected to step down in January). Echoing the complaints of her Republican colleagues, Collins went further, insinuating that Rice may have been in some way culpable for the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania:
"Those bombings in 1998 resulted in the loss of life of 12 Americans as well as many other foreign nationals, and 4,000 people were injured,” Collins told reporters after her hourlong, closed-door meeting with Rice.Collins conveniently avoids mentioning 13 attacks on US diplomatic missions that occurred between 1998 and the Benghazi attack in August.
“And what troubles me so much is that the Benghazi attacks echoes the attacks on those embassies in 1998 when Susan Rice was head of the African region for our State Department. … She had to be aware of the general threat assessment and of the ambassadors’ request for more security.”
But Collins again goes further than her colleagues by actually recommending someone should could support:
“I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues,” Collins said.Ahh yes: if Sen. John Kerry were to go to State, that would force a special election to fill his now vacant seat, providing an opportunity for soon-to-be former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) to rejoin the Senate. Collins campaigned with Brown earlier this year.
It is doubtful that this will tarnish the image that the main stream media has of Collins. My guess is that a few outlets will actually report this as another example of Collins playing the moderate, suggesting to the President a compromise, while ignoring the politicking behind it.