SENATOR COLLINS: Please spare UME graduations from your identification with Margaret Chase Smith

Many of us listened to your cliche-filled UME commencement address not that many years ago, and it is interesting that you’d get a return engagement this year. I don’t know of any other person ever getting a return engagement like you. But the Collins family and, by extension, the Republican Party nowadays controls public higher education in Maine, so your second speech is not entirely surprising. When then Governor Baldacci, a UME alum but a Democrat, gave the commencement speech the year before you initially did, he did not get an honorary degree, where you did the next year. The System Board of Trustees decides on honorary degree recipients, so draw your own conclusions.

Please spare us from your endless and transparently self-serving identifications with the late Senator Margaret Chase Smith. You may use her desk, but you have nothing in common with her political courage in denouncing Senator Joseph McCarthy and his destructive anti-Communist crusade.

We all know how you happily voted with your fellow Republicans for the huge tax cuts that will bring so much harm to so many of the ordinary Mainers whom you always profess to care about. Did anyone (else) seriously believe that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell could be trusted to provide you later with the measures you wanted to keep some of ObamaCare alive? Your buddy McConnell has only one interest: retaining political power in the hands of his fellow right-wing Republicans. He disgraces his office at every turn. The fact that so many Mainers believed you says it all about them.

Finally, you were instrumental in getting Betsy DeVos confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of Education.You could have blocked her nomination in the Senate committee but instead voted for her when it mattered. When it no longer mattered, when she had the support of a majority of the entire Senate, you “courageously” voted against her. You claimed that you gone over her record. What a joke! She’s been in favor of undermining public education for years, seeking to steer funds to “school choice” k-12 institutions. Would Margaret Chase Smith have been had a similar kind of “conversion experience?” I rather doubt it.

Meanwhile DeVos and her top associates have made it ever harder for persons who lost tons of precious dollars to for-profit colleges’ often worthless courses and degrees. Efforts by the Obama administration to help these desperate souls recover at least some of their losses have been eliminated.

How does Secretary DeVos sleep at night after deliberately hurting tens of thousands of ordinary Americans? And how do you, “Our Senator” Collins?