Profiles in Politics: Susan Collins’ Clothier Gears Up For Impeachment Rush

( Sitting atop a gentle rise overlooking the lobster boats and piers that make up Belfast, Maine’s picturesque harbor, the petite warehouse that is home to Moderately Maineware isn’t much to look at. Neither, according to Brett Alexander, is its owner, and he should know.

As Moderately Maineware’s driving force, Mr. Alexander has been dressing Maine’s only Republican senator in wishy-washy pantsuits and indecisive dresses since 1996.

“We got but one client, and that is Susan Collins,” says Alexander during a rare break. Behind him, the warehouse is abuzz with the sounds of sewing machines, presses, and other industrial garment-making devices. “She keeps us busy though. You know, she’s super moderate and well, a gazillionaire, so she can afford all this.”

Alexander gestures to the surrounding crowd of workers, all of them his children, all of them fluent in “Mexican,” a language that the clothier taught to all the kids “when they were growing up, you know, after my wife gave birth to them.” Mrs. Alexander died in an industrial accident during the Bush administration.

“That was a busy time,” Alexander acknowledges, ”but nothing like now. We were setting records during the Kavanaugh hearings, me and the kids, but this impeachment thing? It’s insane!”

The clothing that Alexander and his two dozen seven and eight year old children create for Susan Collins are designed to prop up her brand as the Senate’s “sole moderate.” Sporting mainly purplish hues (“half red, half blue,” confides Alexander), the pantsuits and dresses churned out by the Alexander clan all have one important element, as summed up by little Jorge Alexander.

“Pellizcamos a la perra,” Jorge says, before returning to his zipper oiling machine.

The Alexanders call it “the pinch.”

“The clothing is pretty uncomfortable, particularly if you stop moving, like sitting or standing for an interview,” Alexander says. “They pinch, just a little, just enough to give Senator Collins that pained, ‘which way should I vote?’ conundrum look.

“That little bit of pain,” Alexander says, squeezing his thump and finger together. “Better than authenticity, as we like to say.”

The one room we are not allowed in is festooned with chains and several padlocks: THE vote room. This where THE impeachment vote dress is being crafted. It is the dress that will be worn during the actual impeachment vote itself, and it is Brett Alexander’s carefully guarded masterpiece.

“Very hush hush, but let me tell you, it will break every ‘will she?/won’t she? mainstream media meter in the country,” Alexander says, a wistful tear in his eye. “The pinnacle of my career. What do you do after that? Retire? Will moderate clothing have any place after that? I don’t know, my friend. I just don’t know…”

As we prepare to leave Moderately Maineware, we are treated to a view of the “morning after” dress, a delightful floral print that screams “Phew! My conscience is pooped!” and is tailor-made (literally) for both the talk show circuit and guest appearances at grateful Trump rallies country-wide.


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