Why Senator Collins Should Vote Against the GOP Tax Plan

In exchange for her surprising expected vote in favour of the Republican Party tax bill, Senator Collins received commitments from both the Trump Administration and Senate leaders to back two separate bills to fund Obamacare.

Collins has nothing to gain from such a deal and everything to lose.  She should vote against the GOP measure, for the following reasons:

  1. The so-called “commitment” received from the Senate leadership is worthless.  Even if the Senate leadership is faithful to the commitment, it only means that the leadership will try to have its members pass the bills Collins wants passed – there is no guarantee.  Collins need look no further than her own refusal to back the Senate leadership’s efforts to repeal Obamacare, killing the bill despite Senate leadership’s efforts to the contrary.
  2. The so-called “commitment” received from the Trump Administration is less than worthless.  Trump is notoriously mercurial, often changing his mind on a whim, and almost certainly suffering from impulse control.  Of even more concern, Trump has made a lifetime of sacrificing his friends, betraying “commitments” he made to many.  He even threw his allies in the House under the bus after they voted in favour of his favourite pet project: destroying Obamacare! (More on that, later.)  Why would Senator Collins put any stock into a “commitment” from Trump?
  3. Speaking of, hasn’t Senator Collins been paying attention?  Nothing animates Trump more than his hatred for Barack Obama, and nothing is more important to Trump in erasing his predecessor’s legacy than the dismantling of Obamacare.  So, does Senator Collins realistically think that Trump will actually honour his “commitment” to help shore up Obamacare, the very thing he has dedicated his first year in office trying to destroy?
  4. Even if the commitments Senator Collins has received from the Senate leadership and the Trump administration are genuine, and even if both really do try to help Senator Collins shore up Obamacare (despite efforts by both the Senate leadership and Trump administration throughout the year to do the exact opposite), both pieces of legislation championed by Senator Collins would have to pass the Republican Party controlled House – and, that is never going to happen because the House skews far more to the right than the Senate and the Freedom Caucus (the one group that may hate Obama and Obamacare just as much as Trump and Senator majority leader McConnell) would never allow either bill to pass the House.
  5. Let’s also not forget the fact that politics is a dirty sport.  Senator Collins national profile rose considerably during the Obamacare repeal effort when she resisted her own party and voted in line with her constituents wishes.  There are plenty of politicians in Washington that will want to cut Senator Collins back down to size, and this would be the perfect opportunity: manipulate Senator Collins to vote against her constituents’ wishes, in line with the Party, and then leave her all alone in the cold by not passing the two bills she bartered away her votes for in the first place.
  6. Let’s be clear.  The majority of Americans oppose the GOP tax bill.  Only 22% of the people of Maine support the the GOP tax bill (less than the national figure, interestingly).  In a perfect world, Senator Collins would feel obliged to vote in line with the majority of her constituents.  But, even in an imperfect world, Senator Collins will end up expending significant political capital merely to vote against the wishes of her own constituents without anything of significance (see above) in return.
  7. Most importantly, though, is that the Republican Party doesn’t need her vote!  With Senator McCain convalescing in Arizona, the Republican Party still has 51 senators versus 48 senators – even if Senator Collins voted against the measure it would still pass 50-49, and Senator Collins would preserve her political clout.  Although his office has promised he would return for the tax vote, even if Senator Thad Cochran were to miss the vote for some reason, Senator Collins could still vote against the measure to preserve her political clout while ensuring its ultimate passage because Vice President Pence has skipped his planned Mideast trip to stay in Washington for the GOP tax vote allowing him to cast the deciding tie-breaking vote in favour of the bill: 50(+1)-50.

In the final analysis, Senator Collins gets absolutely nothing for voting in favour of the GOP tax plan that will pass without her support anyways.

In fact, she will get less than nothing – the damage to her political clout (dropping her from ‘atop the pack’ to ‘just another politician’) will be staggering in the current political climate.

But, if Senator Collins votes against the measure, she will maintain her political clout (if not increase it to emerge as an influential “swing vote“,  entrenching her as an independent centre of power within Washington) while still letting the bill pass into law.

For these reasons, Senator Collins should vote against the GOP tax plan.

Why Senator Corker Should Vote Against The GOP Tax Bill

The Republican Party tax bill threatens to destroy Senator Corker’s legacy, and flip the Senate to the Democrats.

Until recently, Senator Corker had garnered (rare) widespread bipartisan praise for standing up to Trump and bucking his own party leadership by originally voting against the Senate version of the GOP tax bill because it will explode the U.S. national debt by over an additional $1 trillion, contrary to every principle that Senator Corker (and every conservative in the pre-Trump era) holds dear.

Principle over Party.

Senator Corker was still a “noas of last week, maintaining his principle that he would not vote in favour of a tax bill that would add a single penny to the deficit.

Well, until recently.

Seemingly miraculously, Senator Corker switched his vote to a “yesafter a provision was added to the bill that would personally enrich Senator Corker (and Trump), despite the fact that the bill will still add over 100 trillion “pennies” to the U.S. national debt.

In fact, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn specifically stated that the aforementioned provision was added to the GOP Tax Bill to “cobble together [the] votes” necessary to pass the measure – remember, the only Republican Senator who had voted “no” was Senator Corker.

That looks bad.  Really, really bad.

In fact, #CorkerKickback has been trending on social media as citizen outrage continues to grow over such a seemingly blatant demonstration of corruption as Senator Corker’s flip-flop on the GOP Tax Bill.  So much so, that Senator Corker has had to defend himself by claiming he switched his intention to “yes” before actually having read the full text of the GOP Tax Bill.

That’s an odd defence – essentially, Senator Corker feels his only recourse his to admit to negligence (that he failed to do his job as an elected official).

Needless to say, most citizens will find Senator Corker’s explanation wanting, leaving him as the ‘poster-boy’ image of modern-day political corruption.

Unless he votes “no“.

This is why Senator Corker should immediately declare that after having had an opportunity to review the full text of the GOP Tax Bill, he will vote against it:

  1. Senator Corker may be retiring, but even retired politicians care about their legacy.  Perhaps even more so than active politicians.  After all, Senator Corker’s legacy is all he will leave with when he does retire.  Up until this weekend, his legacy would have been that he had put his principles and his country above his party.  Not a bad legacy to have, in this polarizing age of partisanship.  As of today, his legacy will be of the ‘poster-boy’ of modern-day political corruption.  Even a retiring politician would never choose the latter.
  2. He may be retiring, but he’s not dead.  Not only do many politicians ‘unretire’ (a door that Senator Corker would forever foreclose if he retires after voting for the GOP Tax Bill that enriches himself personally), but as with most individuals of Senator Corker’s passions and ambitions, he is expected to continue to be active, whether in business or in the community, or both.  Again, leaving with a legacy of such blatant corruption would undo any post-retirement plans he may have otherwise had for continuing to be engaged.  Simply put, he’ll be toxic for the remainder of his life.
  3. A clear plurality of Tennessean voters are opposed to the GOP Tax Bill.  By voting against the measure, Senator Corker can loudly and publicly claim that he voted in line with the wishes of his constituents’ wishes, once again reclaiming the moral high ground (and, incidentally, setting himself up as one of the leading post-Trump voices in the conservative movement).
  4. Senator Corker’s vote in favour of the GOP Tax Bill would inevitably embolden the Democratic base in Tennessee, further endangering an open Senate seat that the Democrats are already eyeing to flip the Senate in 2018.  Popular two-term former governor Phil Bredesen has already announced his candidacy for Senator Corker’s upcoming open seat – if Senator Corker saddles the Republican candidate for the open Tennesee Senate seat in 2018 with his vote in favour of the unpopular GOP Tax Bill, Senator Corker’s ultimate legacy may end up being flipping the Senate to the Democrats in 2018.
  5. But, most importantly, the Republican Party doesn’t need Senator Corker’s vote!  With Senator McCain home in Arizona, the Republican Party still has an extra Senate vote it can afford to lose – even if Senator Corker votes “no“, the measure will pass 50-49.  (In fact, up to 3 GOP Senators could simply abstain and the measure would still pass 48(+1)-48 with a Vice President Pence tie-breaking vote, the very reason he skipped out on his Mideast visit to stay in Washington.)

For these reasons, Senator Corker should vote against the GOP Tax Bill.