In her nearly 45-minute speech that rocked the Senate floor and the country, Collins walked America through her logic and gave a stern scolding, calling the confirmation process something “that has become so dysfunctional it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion.”
With clarity, candor, and ferocity, Collins laid out her reasoning for voting “yes” for Kavanaugh. Largely: “The four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred.”
Collins also did not hesitate to utterly skewer Democrats in their handling of this nomination, admonishing them. She spared no criticism for the Democrat who leaked Dr. Ford’s letter to the press originally and she said she hopes the last month’s antics will propel the Senate to ditch the current nomination process and find a new method of confirming judges.
“I suspect, regrettably, we will never know who did it. To that leaker, who I hope is listening now, let me say that what you did is unconscionable. You have taken a survivor, who is not only entitled to your respect, but who also trusted you, and you have sacrificed her well-being in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you’re fighting. My only hope is that your callous act has turned this process into such a dysfunctional circus that it will cause the Senate and, indeed, all Americans to reconsider how we evaluate Supreme Court nominees. If that happens, then the appalling lack of compassion you afforded Professor Ford will have some unintended positive consequences."
Collins makes an interesting point that few politicians, particularly on the Senate floor, have had the chutzpah to make: Not only was there little, if any, evidence corroborating Ford’s claims, but the more time passed, the more the FBI looked into the allegations, and the more the media seemed to collude with Democrats, the more the process looked like a dysfunctional circus masquerading as a political crusade.
Collins was the perfect person to deliver this sort of scathing speech because she is a woman and hardly to the far-right ideologically. She chastised Democrats who would hijack an entire movement meant to bring justice to women who have been wronged and flip it around to aid them in a game of political chess, knocking down queens and becoming their own kingmakers. Collins didn’t let her femininity nor her moderation keep her from seeing the entire picture: This wasn’t just about a single charge of alleged sexual assault. This was a game meant to bring a good man down. This kind of clear-thinking, particularly at the end, will be a one-two punch for the books.
Before she even finished her speech, Collins began receiving mixed reviews. While Republicans are undoubtedly applauding, as President George H.W. Bush said, her “political courage,” she also received negative feedback on social media, and local news reports are saying some constituents are disappointed too. This, no doubt, comes from the fact that Collins isn’t exactly a hardcore conservative, which is why Democrats and Hollywood stars lobbied Collins so much on this vote. Still, Collins took an opportunity to not only bolster Brett Kavanaugh and Republicans trying to nominate the right judge for the Supreme Court, but she did so while pointing out how flawed this process was and how badly it needs to be reformed.