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Susan Collins "believed" Trump had learned his lesson. Then she "hoped" he had. "Dreaming" is next.

I’m afraid I’ve said a lot of stupid things over the years, and I’m afraid I'll say more. But every once in a while, someone comes along and makes me feel better, allows me to look in the mirror and admit that my stupid statements aren’t always the stupidest.

So let's hear it for Maine's Susan Collins, the salvation for me and all the other fallible thinkers.

Last week, you’ll remember (or I’ll remind you) it was Susie who, knitting her eyebrows in her usual simulated distress, and then voted to acquit the impeached president, despite her own admission that what he had done regarding aid to Ukraine was wrong. After her vote she asserted that she believed Trump had learned his lesson. Later, when it became obvious that the learning curve generally bent its way around and over (but never near) the impeached president—something any three-year-old would have learned years ago—she walked back her statement, claiming that she used the wrong verb and should have said “hoped” instead of “believed.”

No, she should have said “dreamed” or “pretended” or “fantasized.” Or she should have shouted guilty! Maybe she felt that the Trump-induced, bought-and-paid-for cravenness of the other 51 senators would make her vote invisible. It might have worked, if she had kept her fatuous post-impeachment reasoning to herself.

Seriously, how and why would Trump have learned a lesson? If he had actually committed his now oft-repeated murder on Fifth Avenue, then been brought to trial, then released without suffering any consequences, what would that lesson have been other than he could do what he wanted with impunity? People who do wrong and never suffer for it are bound to do wrong again. Why wouldn’t they? Where's the deterrent?

If even once the impeached president had said maybe his dealings with Ukraine had not been wise...if even once he had shown remorse for firing accomplished diplomats who were bettering America’s standing in the world...if even once he had agreed that in the future he would be more conciliatory toward Congressional hearings, then all of us, not just Susan Collins, might have hoped for some redemption. But there was never even a hint of regret or shame before the trial, nothing for any of us to hang our hats on. Redemption? Trump doesn’t know the meaning of the word—or of many other words, but that's a piece for another time.

If Senator Collins, or any other Republican would like a clearer look at the impeached president’s attitude, here it is: he fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for telling the truth under oath. Worse than that, he wants the military hero prosecuted for, in essence, verifying Trump's account of the Ukraine imbroglio. Do we all now understand why Trump would never testify—swearing to tell the truth and then lying under oath would not even raise his pulse. And swearing on the bible? No problem. Remember the inauguration? The oath of office? The Constitution?

As for Susan Collins, her supporters will claim that she was fooled by the impeached president and will argue that other have been duped also. I don't agree. There's gullibility here, but it's the gullibility Collins hopes to harvest from her constituents, the ones who keep voting her in. If she wins again in November, then she'll have been proven right—and she, like her president, will have learned her lesson.

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