This is a comment about Senator Susan Collins of Maine, although it may at first glance not seem to be.
I resigned a senior professorship in the Columbia University Philosophy Department and joined the Philosophy Department of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1971. Only somewhat later did I discover that the UMass department was deeply divided between a majority of members who thought of themselves as Analytic Philosophers and a small minority who did not. Inasmuch as I had been trained at Harvard by Willard Van Orman Quine and Nelson Goodman, among others, generally considered premier Analytic Philosophers, I was rather surprised to discover that the UMass majority clique did not want me around and did not think that what I did was philosophy at all [the most damning judgment they could issue about anyone, in their eyes.] I threw in my lot with the minority, with whom it was possible to have a serious conversation. Over the next twenty-one years, until I decamped for the Afro-American Studies Department, those of us in the minority fought a series of departmental battles, the details of which I have described in my online autobiography.
One of the members of the majority was a man who was universally viewed as a real gentleman and a first rate philosopher, a decent, thoughtful, reasonable man completely free of the animus that, in my eyes and those of my fellow minority members, characterized the most vocal and implacable members of the majority. When an issue arose, he would listen to our arguments and concerns attentively, ask us probing questions, nod thoughtfully at our answers, and like as not confess himself to be deeply torn and even, on occasion, genuinely on the fence. He was, in all ways, the very model of a modern philosopher, if I may channel my inner Gilbert and Sullivan.
There was only one problem. In twenty-one years, he never voted with us on any issue large or small. Not once. He hemmed, he hawed, he hesitated, he meditated, his face was a visible manifestation of his inner torment. And yet, not once did his fair, unbiased, objective review of the facts and arguments lead him to vote for our point of view.
Perhaps unreasonably and unfairly, I grew to hate him more than I hated his openly partisan colleagues.