Ever since she walked onto the national stage in 2018, I have long thought Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema (D-BadAss) had aspirations for more than the Congress or the Senate.
As long as I’ve served Arizona, I’ve worked to help others see our common humanity & find common ground. That’s the same approach I’ll take to representing our great state in the Senate, where I’ll be an independent voice for all Arizonans.
Thank you, Arizona. Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/iX6u6VQ9bQ
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) November 13, 2018
Through her exhibition of measured and centrist responses to the latest Democrat Party control tactics: blowing up the filibuster, temper tantrums on the Senate floor, stuffing every progressive wish lists into bills, it appears that Sinema is choosing not to wholesale play along with her party’s progressive rollover. She looks to be playing a longer game, perhaps building towards governor of Arizona, or maybe even the presidency.
From a Guardian piece about the 2018 Arizona Senate election:
Sinema, who began her political career as a Green party activist and was one of the most liberal members of the state legislature, embraced a far more centrist posture in the federal government. When she arrived in Congress in 2013, she joined the conservative Blue Dog coalition and was the first Senate candidate to declare that she would not support the minority leader, Chuck Schumer, if she were elected. She will also make history as the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
Sinema, who faced no real primary challenge, emphasized her independence and did not call herself a Democrat in her campaign ads. She courted Republican voters with a message singularly focused on healthcare.
Sinema, who frequently voted with conservatives in the House and leads a bipartisan spin class in Congress, promised to “seek common ground” and said she would work “with anyone”, even the president. In her remarks, she paid tribute to McCain and said she would try to follow his example of putting “country before party”.
Fast-forward to 2021, and Sinema has not shifted from this centrist viewpoint, despite the pressure of the progressive wing of her party. Sinema has chosen to stay measured, and cast her votes per issue rather than ideology. Maybe it’s the fact that she is not facing a re-election challenge (yet); or maybe she is committed to being a Senator who chooses to work for her constituents and the overall health of the country, and not just for her party’s lust for power and control.
Only time will tell, but Sinema is definitely one to keep an eye on.
There is no bigger battle now than what might become of the Senate filibuster. Both Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema have come out against killing this Senate rule, despite the lobbying by Senator Chuck Schumer and others to eliminate it in order to ensure Democrat legislative wins. With a Senate split down the middle, Democrats see the removal of the filibuster as their only advantage to getting the Biden-Harris agenda through.
Many of us are praying Sinema and Manchin hold the line, and from Sinema’s current interviews, she does not appear to be moving.
In a Wall Street Journal profile, Sinema made this point,
“When you have a place that’s broken and not working, and many would say that’s the Senate today, I don’t think the solution is to erode the rules,” she said in an interview after two constituent events in Phoenix. “I think the solution is for senators to change their behavior and begin to work together, which is what the country wants us to do.”
It is refreshing to hear any elected politician, let alone a Democrat, speak strongly about 1) maintaining rules of decorum rather than killing them; 2) changing behavior to match those rules; and, 3) what the country needs as opposed to what the special interests want.
Such is the enigma of Kyrsten Sinema.
While the other senator who has stated his opposition to ending the filibuster, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has signaled a willingness to change the process, Ms. Sinema hasn’t. In the interview, Ms. Sinema said she didn’t want to talk about hypotheticals, such as bringing back the “talking filibuster” where senators must be present and talking on the floor to block bills. That idea has been floated by President Biden and Mr. Manchin.
Without elimination of the filibuster, or at least changes, it will be difficult for Democrats to get the 10 Republican votes needed to move many of their priorities.
And that is fine with a majority of the country, not just Arizonians.
The scorched earth progressive-wing of the party, and the electorate who voted them in, are not happy with Sinema’s independent responses. They feel confused and betrayed, and like all good progressives do, they lash out.
Boy, Kyrsten Sinema sold us a bill of goods.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) April 6, 2021
Commence the “Destroy Sinema” campaign. When Sinema voted against the insertion of the $15.00 Minimum Wage into the COVID-Relief Bill, she was excoriated not only for her vote, but for the “thumbs down” manner in which she rendered her vote.
When she later tweeted about Martin Luther King’s assassination and honoring his legacy, she was ripped to shreds:
You pissed on his legacy by voting against a living wage
— The Guillotine Shouter (@guillotineshout) April 5, 2021
— Gritty is the Way (@Gritty20202) April 4, 2021
Actress Debra Messing decided to throw shade at the Senator for liking a CNN tweet projecting that things looked good for the GOP in 2022. Messing was probably a hall monitor in grade school, because she replied to Sinema, and like a good little tattletale, tagged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with this message:
“Is there something you’d like to tell the Democrat Party?”
— Debra Messing✍🏻 (@DebraMessing) April 5, 2021
However, Sinema seemed to take it all in stride, with a nice dose of snark.
She responded simply:
“Yes. I read.”
Yes. I read.
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) April 5, 2021
That’s more than one can say for many of her colleagues: Democrat or Republican.
If she keeps this up, higher office may well be in her grasp. If she wants it.