Kyrsten Sinema roasted former colleagues recently, calling Democrats “old dudes” who are “eating their Jell-O,” among other insults.
According to Politico, Sinema made the comments while speaking to a group of Republican lobbyists. The comments coming to light are likely to put her in an even more tenuous position with the party she left but still caucuses with.
Here’s some of what she said.
What’s clear after the last few months, though, is that it could prove even more awkward than it already is for her to remain even nominally part of the Democratic Party.
“Those lunches were ridiculous,” she told a small group of Republican lobbyists at a reception in Washington this year in explaining why she had stopped attending her caucus’ weekly luncheons in the Capitol, according to an attendee.
First off, she explained, she was no longer a Democrat. “I’m not caucusing with the Democrats, I’m formally aligned with the Democrats for committee purposes,” Sinema said. “But apart from that I am not a part of the caucus.”
Then she let loose.
“Old dudes are eating Jell-O, everyone is talking about how great they are,” Sinema recounted to gales of laughter. “I don’t really need to be there for that. That’s an hour and a half twice a week that I can get back.”
What exactly is her play here? She’s palling around with Mitt Romney, talking to GOP lobbyists, and trashing Democrats. Yet, she still caucuses with the Democrats, admitting here that she only does so to keep her committee assignments.
Why not just caucus with the Republicans? The answer is probably her concern for seniority on committees given the GOP doesn’t control the Senate. But what these comments make me curious about is whether she had plans to caucus with Republicans until they blew the 2022 election. Further, does she plan to strike up an alliance going into a very unsteady 2024 re-election campaign?
Things could get very interesting in Arizona if multiple Republican senators come out and endorse Sinema as an Independent over whoever the Republican nominee is. Romney is actually quoted in Politico’s piece entertaining the notion and rest assured, there would be others, including possibly Mitch McConnell if he works out a deal to guarantee Sinema’s vote. It’s an incredibly weird dynamic that might only be solved if Sinema chooses to retire.
Of course, the other side of this is that Sinema has admitted she’s just using the Democrats for committee clout. How will they respond? Certainly, they won’t allow her to be the Democrat nominee on the ballot in 2024, right? I mean, maybe they will, but that would seem to be a pretty sad and weak way to handle things. I wouldn’t be down for Republicans to play that game with Joe Manchin, for example, even if he pledged to caucus with the GOP.
The last curiosity here is just how Sinema running in a three-way race would turn out. For a while, she seemed so popular that it wasn’t a question. Now, her own party’s base hates her so much that it could place her in real jeopardy. That could force a deal with Republicans to happen. We’ll see how it all plays out once the primaries get here.
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