Sen. Susan Collins "concerns" with Susan Rice do not bode well for Rice's confirmation as Secretary of State. PHOTO: AP
It was one thing when a trio of rank-and-file Republicans were making a lot of noise about opposing a potential nomination of Susan Rice to be Secretary of State, it’s another when the Senate’s last remaining moderate Republican joins the chorus. Susan Collins of Maine said she was “troubled” by her meeting with Rice, using the exact same word as John McCain, who previously said he would do everything he could to block Rice’s confirmation, and later backed off that statement. Collins went on to say that John Kerry would be a great nominee for the post.
By OpenCongress’ “Voting With Party” rankings, Collins was last among Republicans, voting with them only 66% of the time. The two closest to her, fellow Maine moderate Olympia Snowe and Scott Brown of Massachusetts are both leaving the senate when the new class is sworn in. The only other Republicans under 80% tend to stray from their party due to a more libertarian philosophy, not political centrism like Collins, Snowe and Brown. All that is to say that Susan Collins would be a logical place to start for Rice to make some headway with Republicans, and Collins’ reaction to their meeting does not bode well for Rice.
To break a filibuster and appoint Rice as Secretary of State, Democrats would need all 55 of their votes and 5 more Republicans. If Susan Collins is off the table, it’s hard to see where those votes would come from. Collins hasn’t explicitly said that she would definitely vote against Rice, only that she “would need to have additional information before I could support her nomination.” Translation: count me out.