Collins and the junior senator from Maine, independent Angus King, who also co-sponsored the legislation, practice a pragmatism that caused a Democratic colleague to ask Sen. King: “Is there something in the water in Maine that gives people common sense?”
No, that's probably not it. I wish it was though. We could use a shipment here in the upstate NY region.
This is classic Senator Collins, working her colleagues with calm persuasion, facts, and analysis, looking for common ground on one of the country’s most contentious issues. She is, say senators on both sides, a highly respected bridge-builder at a time when Washington is at a defining moment on divisive gun politics.
Take a look at her record, Elise.
The NRA graded her at C+ in 2012. Similarly, the anti-tax group Club for Growth gave her a 37 percent lifetime score in 2013 – the lowest of any Republican senator. Yet in 2014, she soared to reelection for a fourth term, her constituents rewarding a conscientious legislator who last year cast her 6,000th consecutive vote.
With anti-endorsements like that, she's a Republican I might actually vote for. Maybe the only one in the country.
Collins vows to keep working on this issue. “I never give up,” she said after coming off the Senate floor. The shortfall shows a Congress in need of more people like Collins, often described as one of the last Republican moderates on the Hill, says former Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, a storied bridge-builder himself.
“I hope [she’s] not a dying breed,” says the senator, who lost in the primaries to a tea party candidate in 2012.
I hope not, as well. I'm afraid that along with the dodo, the Northeast liberal Republican will fade into extinction or transform into independents a la James Jeffords.