The campaign of the Maine Democrat trying to unseat Republican Sen. Susan Collins has a massive Me Too problem. After launching her candidacy to unseat Collins because of Collins’s support for due process during the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon is now going out of her way to ignore the detailed accusations of sexual impropriety and harassment by presumptive Democrat nominee Joe Biden.
Gideon and the leftist groups funding her efforts have repeatedly said Collins must be removed because she supported due process for Kavanaugh when he was accused, without any substantiation, of attempted sexual assault. Collins’ speech on the Senate floor defending rule of law, explaining standards of evidence, and advocating for presumption of innocence is a focal point of the anti-Collins campaign.
Gideon featured the speech in her campaign launch video and has repeatedly told reporters it motivated her to run against the incumbent. Gideon regularly posts pictures tying Collins to Kavanaugh. She has said that Collins’ speech defending due process “felt like a betrayal” of sexual assault survivors. And on the one-year-anniversary of the Kavanaugh hearings, she posted this picture saying she believed Christine Blasey Ford:
At the time of the hearings, Gideon posted a Planned Parenthood video that asked, “How do I respond when someone shares an experience of sexual assault?,” saying the proper response is simply: “I believe you.” Yet at no point has Gideon ever similarly praised Tara Reade for bravery or courage in confronting the man she claims sexually assaulted her. Gideon publicly supports Biden and voted for him in the Maine primary. Planned Parenthood and nine other groups that advocate abortion have gone “dead silent” on the Biden allegation.
In fact, now that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is facing a serious sexual assault allegation, Gideon and the leftist groups backing her in Maine have all been silent about whether they think he should be held to the same standard they held Kavanaugh to fewer than two years ago. That standard was that the seriousness of the accusation alone, despite the lack of supporting evidence, meant Kavanaugh should be removed from public life and public service.
Unlike the allegation Kavanaugh faced, Biden’s accuser has evidence she met him and has evidence she told many people of the alleged attack at the time she claims it happened and shortly thereafter. By contrast, Blasey Ford has no evidence, other than her claim, that she ever met Kavanaugh or told anyone of any alleged attack until after he was a prominent federal judge. While Reade has offered significant contemporaneous evidence, including her own mother calling CNN’s Larry King show in 1993, none of Blasey Ford’s alleged witnesses corroborated her account.
Leftist groups organized anti-Kavanaugh protests and raised $4 million in what some legal analysts describe as an attempted bribe of Collins. They said if Collins voted against Kavanaugh, they would not use the money to defeat her re-election campaign.
In backing rule of law for Kavanaugh, Collins withstood a brutal months-long pressure campaign that involved threats of rape and violence against her staff, violent personal threats, an alleged ricin attack on her home, and uniform condemnation from celebrities and pundits. The New York Times retaliated against Collins by printing an op-ed headlined “White Women, Come Get Your People,” which slurred Collins as a “gender traitor.”
It said, “Meanwhile, Senator Collins subjected us to a slow funeral dirge about due process and some other nonsense I couldn’t even hear through my rage headache as she announced on Friday she would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Her mostly male colleagues applauded her.”
Every article about the Maine Senate race in the past year has highlighted Collins’s support of due process as the main issue that has turned the race so hot. Democrats are prioritizing Maine in their attempt to regain control of the Senate.
Vox says, “Susan Collins is in the political fight of her life, and Brett Kavanaugh is a huge factor.” The Christian Science Monitor claimed the Kavanaugh support was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for many of her voters. During a brief period in which yet another fake Kavanaugh allegation was aired before being debunked (by this reporter), the Washington Post argued:
The fate of Collins, more than any other senator up for reelection next year, is tied to her handling of Kavanaugh, with Democrats arguing that her strong support provided a key boost for his confirmation and undermined her carefully tended moderate profile.
In the speech, Collins called the opposition to Kavanaugh ‘a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign’ and said liberal groups were trying to ‘whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods’ about him.
Politico’s Burgess Everett reported:
Collins is self-aware of her plight. She knows supporting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh cost her and laments that decision helped bring the permanent campaign to Vacationland.
‘Have I lost some votes because of my decision to support Justice Kavanaugh? Yes, I have. And I’m sad about that because I explained in great depth my decision-making,’ Collins said. But ‘there still is an appreciation in Maine for someone who looks at the facts of an issue, votes with integrity and independence.’
Now, though, Gideon and her backers are adopting the Collins standard they previously decried.
One prominent Gideon backer and Collins critic is Amy Fried, a University of Maine political science professor. She claimed to have Republican friends who turned on Collins “because they were so offended by what she said in her Kavanaugh speech about Dr. Ford.”
In response to a CNN video showing that women believed Judge Kavanaugh, she said it’s “not unexpected to see Republican women defend Kavanaugh.” She repeatedly claimed that Collins “was OK with an inadequate investigation of Kavanaugh,” and that the “FBI did not fully investigate allegations against Kavanaugh,” and that the process Collins supported was “rushed, incomplete and contrary to previous processes.” She even complained that the hundreds of thousands of documents provided to evaluate Kavanaugh were insufficient and showed his backers “wanted to avoid full vetting.”
Now, Fried is singing a much different tune. Of Reade, she says her “assault claim is unproven and not credible.” She says Reade’s “description of where the incident purportedly happened” is “vague,” apparently forgetting that Blasey Ford’s description of the incident wasn’t just vague but absent any details whatsoever.
She says “#BelieveWomen never meant ‘never use any judgment’ or ‘never assess evidence,” that “two of the three women” making allegations against Kavanaugh were not believable (it is unclear which two — much less which three — she is referencing), reimagining that her allies had not backed Julie Swetnick’s outlandish claims against Kavanaugh. In fact, Senate Judiciary Democrats called for Kavanaugh’s immediate withdrawal upon hearing that allegation from Swetnick attorney Michael Avenatti. Fried says of Swetnick’s claim, falsely, that “no senator saw that as credible.”
Fact check for the political science professor:
“Mainers for Accountable Leadership” is one of the groups actively campaigning against Collins. Group leader Marie Follaytar brought busloads of women to Washington and attended and spoke at a DC rally where they chanted “We believe Christine Ford!” Last year, the Christian Science Monitor reported:
Following Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination by President Trump last year, Ms. Follayttar helped organize protest rallies around the state. She also collected at least 3,000 handwritten notes from Mainers pleading with the senator to vote against Justice Kavanaugh, many of which she has posted on the Facebook page, ‘Mainers writing Collins.’ Many of the women, including Ms. Follayttar, included their own stories of sexual assault. They also debuted a video, ‘Senator Collins: Be a Hero,’ in which female Mainers pledged to unseat her if she voted in favor of Justice Kavanaugh.
The group repeatedly complained about inconclusive investigations and pressured Collins to treat Kavanaugh as guilty, lamenting her vote in his favor. But about the accusations against Biden, “Mainers for Accountable Leadership” haven’t said a single word.