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by
Bridget Johnson

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November 1, 2013 - 7:09 am

The GOP senator behind forging a deal to reopen the government last month said she agreed with the cause of stopping Obamacare but thought the tactics used were a “fantasy.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said low approval ratings for the GOP in the wake of the shutdown are “certainly a clarion call for the Republicans, for my party, to do a lot of self-examination.”

“I think it’s worth noting that the president’s approval ratings are down as well. The Democratic Party’s is down,” she told PBS. “But you’re certainly right that no one is lower than the Republicans right now. This reflects a loss of confidence in the ability of Washington as a whole to govern responsibly.”

“And I believe that the shutdown of this past month of government for 16 days, the nearness that we came to defaulting on our debts, and the lack of a long-term fiscal plan to deal with our $17 trillion debt are the reasons why. The American people are clearly frustrated and fed up with the partisan gridlock and the excessive partisanship that they’re seeing in Washington.”

Collins stressed that she believes in “a big-tent Republican Party, where there’s room for a variety of views.”

“I have greatly disagreed with the tactics that led to the shutdown of government. There was no way that shutting down government was somehow going to lead to the defunding or repeal of the president’s signature achievement of Obamacare,” she said. “I opposed Obamacare, voted against it, have voted many times to repeal and reform it. But that was just a tactic that made absolutely no sense. And I think those poll numbers are reflecting some frustration. Having said that, I think that the Tea Party, the other influences in our party have kept a focus on the size of government and on our $17 trillion national debt that is an important focus for our party.”

“But I certainly disagree with the strategy that was adopted. It was never going to be successful, and it was a fantasy to think that it was.”

Collins acknowledged that centrists in Congress have been a dying breed, but says she sees a comeback on the horizon.

“In the last few years, we have seen, through a combination of factors, including gerrymandering, I would argue the 24/7 news cycle, a lot of different factors have combined to elect people who are at the extremes of both parties, the far left and the far right,” she said.

“And that has led to a shrinking middle. But I think that the pendulum is starting to swing back. And evidence of that is the group of 14 senators that I put together, seven Republicans, six Democrats and an independent, to work together on a plan to pave the way to the end of the shutdown impasse. That’s a pretty large number of senators working together and ultimately agreeing on a six-point plan. And that gives me hope that the center will come back. In addition, I think the center is where most people of this country are, and they just need to make their voices heard.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
What's a fantasy is this idea that there is a "center" to all issues.

Take abortion for example. People who oppose abortion generally do so because they believe beyond any doubt that abortion ends a human life. There's no compromise to that. You can't say "you want to murder a thousand people, I want to murder none, so I'll meet you in the middle and let you murder 500". It doesn't work that way.

Obamacare is another good example. Either you believe people have the right to live their own lives and conduct voluntary business in a free market or you don't. Either you believe people should have their wealth forcibly taken and given to other people or you don't. There's no reasonable middle ground there.

These are arguments of principle that have to be settled one way or another so we can determine what kind of nation we're going to have.

What politicians like Collins are looking for isn't some Platonic ideal public policy. What they want is to assume the maximum possible amount of power and unearned profit for themselves without having the little people complain too much.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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What exactly IS a "centrist Republican"?

Is it a Republican who compromises with DemocRats on unsustainable spending?

Is it a Republican who compromises with DemocRats on ruinous levels of taxation and regulation?

Is it a Republican who compromises with DemocRats on social issues? Letting the government fund in-utero infanticide, redefine the Sacrament of Matrimony, and continue a Racial Spoils system for alleged past wrongdoing by Caucasians,(whose ancestors may not have even lived in the US at the time of the alleged wrongdoing)?

Why would any Republican wish to support a Republican that engages in any of the above practices?
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Listen carefully Susan. You are sent to Washington to do the will of the American citizens whose votes sent you there. If you fail to do so, you will be replaced. We tell you what to do and you do it. Failing to comply gets you fired. We are not your servants, you are not our masters. If you get sassy with your employers you will find yourself seeking other employment.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
The trouble with so-called Centrists is that they're largely willing to accept the situation "as is" and only tinker with it around the edges. Thus the gradual movement of the government to the Left and Centrists like Collins getting mad at the people trying to genuinely fix the problem -- the Right.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Centrists ‘Just Need to Make Their Voices Heard’

Why?
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
'Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said low approval ratings for the GOP in the wake of the shutdown are “certainly a clarion call for the Republicans, for my party, to do a lot of self-examination.”'

The low approval ratings are because your base does not approve of you either. Perhaps you should do a self-examination, Suzie. (The visual- yuck.)

'“And I believe that the shutdown of this past month of government for 16 days, the nearness that we came to defaulting on our debts, and the lack of a long-term fiscal plan to deal with our $17 trillion debt are the reasons why. The American people are clearly frustrated and fed up with the partisan gridlock and the excessive partisanship that they’re seeing in Washington.”'

That is perhaps the most succint rendition of Democrat talking points I have ever heard. And people say she is dim.

Others say she is what McCain would be after a sex change.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's a fantasy is this idea that there is a "center" to all issues.

Take abortion for example. People who oppose abortion generally do so because they believe beyond any doubt that abortion ends a human life. There's no compromise to that. You can't say "you want to murder a thousand people, I want to murder none, so I'll meet you in the middle and let you murder 500". It doesn't work that way.

Obamacare is another good example. Either you believe people have the right to live their own lives and conduct voluntary business in a free market or you don't. Either you believe people should have their wealth forcibly taken and given to other people or you don't. There's no reasonable middle ground there.

These are arguments of principle that have to be settled one way or another so we can determine what kind of nation we're going to have.

What politicians like Collins are looking for isn't some Platonic ideal public policy. What they want is to assume the maximum possible amount of power and unearned profit for themselves without having the little people complain too much.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
centrists cant make their voices heard until the limits are established- otherwise, how does one know it is the center?

judging by this bobbsey twin's comments- the center seems to consist primarily of the totally confused
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
centrists cant make their voices heard until the limits are established- otherwise, how does one know it is the center?
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
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