The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com.
Gregg Ginn of Cape Elizabeth is a retired attorney.
The Lincoln Project’s attack ad calling Susan Collins a “Trump stooge” is not only a new low in Maine politics, but flies in the face of her record. Simply put, it is false advertising by an organization founded by Republican operatives well-known for engaging in dirty politics.
The ad claims “Susan Collins never stands up to Trump,” yet Collins has repeatedly proven her mettle when it comes to taking on Donald Trump. She opposed implementation of Trump’s major campaign promises — to build a wall and to repeal the Affordable Care Act — voting against the wall and casting a critical vote to preserve the ACA. She has opposed Trump on withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, on terminating DACA and on LGBTQ issues.
Five Thirty Eight has identified Collins as the Republican senator least likely to vote with Trump, and her record bears this out: no Republican in the Senate votes less often with the Trump administration than Susan, not even Mitt Romney.
The Lincoln Project ad states, “Susan Collins is not an independent, she’s a fraud.” But Georgetown University and the Lugar Center have repeatedly confirmed her independence, naming Collins the most bipartisan senator in the nation seven years in a row. The statement in the ad is simply false.
The tactics of the Lincoln Project are worthy of its founder, George Conway, a New York lawyer and major player in the Clinton impeachment, whose flip flop from giddy Trump supporter in 2016 to Trump gadfly calling for his impeachment in 2019 — while his wife is a close Trump aide — is old news.
The Washington Post reported that he did everything he could, along with Ann Coulter, to keep a constant drip of leaks around Clinton’s personal life, which ultimately led to the Clinton impeachment by Congress. While Conway worked to impeach Clinton by prurient exposure of Clinton’s personal sexual escapades, Collins showed the decency, good judgment and independence to oppose the highly partisan Clinton impeachment.
By his own admission, Conway supported and voted for Trump in 2016, donating $2,750 to the Trump campaign. On election day in 2016, along with his wife, Kellyanne, Trump’s campaign manager, he was ecstatic about the Trump victory. He later said, “My wife did an amazing thing.” And he hoped to serve in the Trump administration. While Conway was riding the Trump bandwagon, Susan Collins was courageously announcing in an August 2016 Washington Post editorial that she would not be voting for her party’s nominee, and she denounced Trump as unfit for the presidency.
According to The Atlantic, the Lincoln Project itself has to date spent over a million dollars lining the pockets of its founders and their political consulting companies. Rick Wilson, another Lincoln Project founder, has a resume that includes creating a political ad questioning the patriotism of former Sen. Max Cleland, who lost two legs and an arm while serving in Vietnam, by linking him to Osama bin Laden and Suddam Hussein.
In a Vox article last month, Wilson’s work is cited as an example of the Lincoln Project members’ use of offensive and bigoted language: “repeatedly calling people ‘retards,’ attacking Muslims, and mocking news coverage of Trayvon Martin’s killing in 2012.” The Lincoln Project and its founders have a proclivity for name-calling that rivals Donald Trump’s, the article said. In addition to the ad slandering Collins, the Project is currently running an ad calling Arizona Sen. Martha McSally a “hack.”
In The Atlantic article Andrew Ferguson writes: “The project partakes the spirit of a famous Republican President, all right. But he is not Lincoln.” No doubt Lincoln, a man of honesty, independence and integrity, is rolling over in his grave at the attack on Collins, a Republican senator with a proven record of taking on Trump.
Gregg Ginn of Cape Elizabeth is a retired attorney. He is a graduate of Caribou High School and served in the U.S. Air Force.