Susan Collins goes into full victim mode after being politely questioned by a constituent about Trump
A chance meeting with a constituent in the D.C. airport has landed Sen. Susan Collins back in victim mode at home. The story emerged after Erik Mercer of Portland, Maine, reflected on his interaction with Collins and decided to take out a full-page ad in Maine newspapers. That has resulted in a not very flattering account of Collins' actions by Maine political guru Bill Nemitz.
Mercer happened to see Collins at the airport in D.C., where they were waiting for the same flight to Portland, where he lives and works as a psychotherapist. He asked if they could chat; she said yes. Her first mistake, since she doesn't have a lot of practice talking to constituents, having not had a town meeting with them in more than 20 years. Mercer tried to engage Collins in her shtick, civility and moderation. It didn't work. "She wouldn't even talk about Trump by name," Mercer told Nemitz in an interview Wednesday. "She just talked around the whole thing. It was a non-answer." He continued to try to engage. "And again, she just kept saying, 'Well, we have a difference of opinion,'" Mercer recalled. "And I said to her, ' suspect we do have a difference of opinion, but you still haven't told me what yours is!'" He says he told her, "I think you lack courage," and ended the attempt at conversation.
That was dissatisfying enough, but then, as he was waiting in line to board the plane, a few people behind Collins, he heard her tell another passenger that a constituent "had just been very rude" to her. Mercer insists he wasn't rude, just trying to get answers. So he took out his ad. At which point the Collins team jumped into full victim mode. Spokeswoman Annie Clark attacked, sending Nemitz links highlighting Mercer's 15-year history of political donations to "Democrats and far-left activist groups." Over those 15 years, Mercer has made 426 donations raging from $2.50 to $200 through ActBlue and to groups including MoveOn.org and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Pretty radical stuff, huh? "That's democracy," Mercer says.
But he was mean to her—that seems to be Collins' real problem here. He was "aggressive, confrontational and sanctimonious," Clark told Nemitz, and she "repeated the words at least three times" in an hour-long interview. "That is a flat-out lie," Mercer told Nemitz. "I'm really stunned. Maybe I shouldn't be, but that is an absolute, 100 percent lie." They have to lie in order to paint Collins as the victim. "Over the past two years Senator Collins has endured death threats, threatening mailings, been confronted by people at her home late at night, been harassed in airports, at stores, when eating out, and in parking lots," Clark said in a written statement to Nemitz. "She has protesters regularly at home, at her offices, and at events. She is ridiculed regularly online by people who mock her intellect, integrity, and physical characteristics. And through all that, for 23 straight years, she has never missed a day of work." As Nemitz says, "Maybe it’s just me, but if I was experiencing all of those things, I’d start wondering what the heck I'm doing to tick so many people off."
Mercer's ad got such a response, including donations to help cover the $7,200 cost of running it, that he's doing it again. "There was an outpouring of support for my message," he said Thursday. "People wanted to keep this going. And so, I decided to put in another one." He told Nemitz it will run Sunday and "will include a growing list of folks from far and wide who want their names to appear” alongside his. He even has a website to collect Mainers' names.
Seems like it's the only way the people of Maine have to talk to Collins, since she won't meet with them.