Profiles in Cowardice
May 15, 2009, 11:30 am
Filed under: Ian | Tags:

dawnRemember yesterday’s news that wealthy right-wing groups are lining up to fund attacks on GOP Senators who vote in favor of the President’s Supreme Court nominee—no matter who that nominee turns out to be?  Today brings news that two austensibly pro-choice Senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both Republicans from Maine, are “undecided” on whether to break the filibuster blocking Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to head up OLC.

As I’ve written about before, some conservatives claim that Dawn must not be confirmed because she is pro-choice, even though OLC plays virtually no role in setting the Administration’s policy on abortion.  But this makes no sense as an explanation for why two Senators who claim to be pro-choice themselves would oppose her nomination.  Similarly, many conservatives oppose Dawn because of her unapologetic oppostion to torture, but neither Snowe nor Collins strike me as particular sympathetic to the Dick Cheney view regarding torture; and if Snowe and Collins lack the courage to publically disclose the fact that they are blocking Dawn because they support allowing U.S. officials to rape children in front of their parents, then they are both monsters and the worst kinds of cowards.

I suspect, however, that a different kind of cowardice is at play.  Snowe and Collins probably fear that the same kind of groups which demand scorched earth assaults on President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee will also come after them if they allow a qualified, anti-torture nominee to be confirmed to head OLC.  So they’ve become exactly like the Mitch McConnells of the world out of fear that someone, somewhere might say something mean about them.


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