Kyrsten Sinema Gets The Attention She Craves
My last interaction— if you want to call it that— with Kyrsten Sinema was a few years ago. I walked into a West Hollywood restaurant 15 minutes before it was due to open. There hadn’t been any traffic so I was early. Not all the staff had arrived but I was well-known to the hostess who told me I could wait inside til opening time. I noticed someone else was doing the same, sitting at the bar drinking. It was Sinema, who I hadn’t spoken with since she had been elected to the Senate. I walked to the other side of the restaurant, hoping she wouldn’t notice me and that there would be no confrontation. But she did see me— took one look, called someone on her cell, paid her tab, gathered up her belongings and fled right out the door.
We hadn’t gotten along very well since she called me asking for a Blue America endorsement for a House reelection bid in 2014. I started telling her about the endorsement process and she went batshitcrazy, hung up the phone, saying she’d call me back, which she never did. Her switch from Democrat to independent today wasn’t as inevitable as I first tweeted this morning. After all, she could have switched from Democrat to Republican. She still can at some point. From the moment Schumer picked her to run for the Senate, the DWT position has always been that she would eventually leave the Democratic Party.
I started covering Sinema when she was still in the Arizona state legislature— long before she was elected to Congress and long before she ran up the single most conservative record of any Democratic the House and got herself elected chair of the Blue Dogs, working furiously to move that caucus much further right. Unlike most people who covered her, I noticed she was not a progressive member of the Arizona state Senate. Her progressive colleagues hated her guts and several of them told me what a phony pile of excrement she was. Sinema has always craved attention like most politicians— but more than any politicians I have ever met. Nationally, she was presented as a progressive but it was complete bullshit and I recall losing all respect for Keith Olbermann when he bought into her superficial bullshit without checking the facts.
I knew her because when she was still in the legislature we were both serving on the board of a big public affairs non-profit in DC. I liked her at first and enjoyed sitting next to her at the meetings and chatting— until I realized she was out of her mind and could eventually pull a handgun out of her designer bag (that was back when she was trying to promote herself as “a Prada socialist”) and start shooting everyone. I decided to not sit near her anymore and to not sit within easy eyesight of where she was sitting. When she ran for Congress she had to leave the board; I was relieved and felt safer going to the meetings.
I’ve written several dozen about her. I was just going through them this morning after Burgess Everett broke his Politico scoop. I found a relatively recent one (2019) about a Dutch heroine from WWII, Hannie Schaft. The post quickly veered into a diatribe about Sinema:
Hannie was offered an opportunity to be a courier when she joined the resistance to the fascists. She wanted the job of killing fascists. At what point is shooting someone like Newt Gingrich the right thing to do? Now? Never? Not 'til they've overthrown democracy entirely? Oh... and speaking of collaborators, as opposed to full on fascists like Newt, Politico ran a piece by Burgess Everett yesterday on putative Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, the mentally impaired and deranged freak from Arizona who Schumer decided to make a senator last year. That she, in Everett's words, "hobnobs with Republicans at least as much as she does with her own caucus," is hardly the problem. She started as a socialist, became a Green, then a liberal Democrat, then a conservative Democrat, then the chair of the House Blue Dogs and will soon enough join the GOP and go further right than Marsha Blackburn. "Sinema," wrote Everett, "doesn’t really fit in with her fellow Senate Democrats. Don’t even ask her whether she watches the Democratic presidential debates." She's more into physical fitness-- a regular fräulein of the Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen. Her voting record isn't, as Everett claims, "on par with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s." It's worse. Sinema's ProgressivePunch lifetime crucial vote score is much closer to Susan Collins' than to Manchin's:
• Joe Manchin (D-WV)- 52.45
• Doug Jones (D-AL)- 45.21
• Kyrsten Sinema (Freak-AZ)- 34.18
• Susan Collins (R-ME)- 24.97
• Rand Paul (R-KY)- 13.76
Sinema's support for the fascists that Trump nominated— like Attorney General William Barr— "and her lack of zeal for impeachment are part of a political profile drawing blowback from progressives and cheers from the GOP. Yet Sinema is also setting herself up to be a pivotal vote the next time the Democrats are in power. And her radical breed of centrism could be a headache for the party. Take the liberal drive to bust down age-old Senate rules in order to pass Medicare for All or a Green New Deal. Sinema not only opposes getting rid of the 60-vote filibuster threshold for legislation, she wants to restore the supermajority requirement for presidential nominees that has been weakened by both parties." Exactly what Schumer wanted when he selected her as Arizona's senator.
Let me offer a few representative easily accessible posts so you can get an idea of who this self-obsessed sociopath has always been:
Here’s the very produced, dramatic little video she’s been working on to promote this morning well-planned fence-jump. Key-line from the narcissistic sociopath: “Registering as an independent… is a reflection of who I’ve always been.” She claims she represents the people of Arizona. Polling consistently shows that the corrupt, bribe-taking, self-serving Sinema is the most despised politician in the state and that few people are buying her “rebel” crap.
In his analysis this morning, Aaron Blake wrote that “The first thing to note is that it remains unclear whether Sinema will continue to caucus with Democrats, as two other independents in the Senate do. The Arizona Republic reports that she plans to, but other reports leave it ambiguous, merely noting that she won’t caucus with Republicans and that she expects to keep her committee assignments with the majority Democrats. All of it suggests Sinema has left it deliberately ambiguous. Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether her move would change the balance of power in the Senate, she responded, ‘that’s kind of a D.C. thing to worry about.’”
Since she said she wants to keep her committee seats (especially on the Banking Committe and its the Securities, Insurance and Investment subcommittee, which is the source off her flood of bribes that have made her a very rich person) so she will have to continue caucusing with the Democrats, the way Bernie and Angus King do. She’s also the chair of the border management subcommittee under the Homeland Security Committee and she certainly doesn’t want to give that up either.
In any case, this switch gives Manchin as much leverage as he’s ever enjoyed.
Early this morning Good Word News posted a sharp piece on the politics of her switch. They noted that like Arlen Specter (R-PA) in 2009— who left the GOP and became a Democrat rather than face a losing primary against right-wing Pat Toomey— “Sinema looked set to face a tough primary if she sought re-election with her former party, given Rep. Ruben Gallego’s maneuvers to run against her. So the move makes sense to her personally… This question is of no immediate importance when it comes to whether the Democrats will retain the majority in the Senate. They’ll at least have a 50-49 advantage as long as Sinema doesn’t caucus with the GOP. But if her plan is to leave the Democratic caucus, that makes Sen. Raphael Warnock’s victory in Tuesday’s runoff extremely significant. Of course, we’ll never know what Sinema might have done if Warnock hadn’t won. At this point, a party switch without a caucus with the Democrats would have meant moving the Senate majority to the Republicans… [T]he fact that Sinema waited to do so after the Georgia runoff suggests that she at least wanted to see how it went.”
[T]his move makes sense for Sinema if she runs again and runs as an independent. She has alienated many Democratic voters by resisting moves like the removal of the filibuster and obstructing some key items on President Biden’s agenda. It’s to the point where she would have had a very hard time winning a primary, had she run.
A September AARP poll showed just 37% of Arizona Democrats had a favorable view of her, compared to 57% who had an unfavorable view. And the limited and very early polling of a Sinema vs. Gallego clash suggests that Gallego may well be the favourite.
She’s also not particularly popular among Republicans or independents, but if she were to run as an independent in a three-way race, that could open the door a bit further. That could especially happen if Arizona continues to nominate the kind of far-right Republicans they’ve lined up for statewide office this year.
And consider what the Democrats are doing now. If they run someone like Gallego, the general election will feature two candidates who are, or until recently were, Democrats. That risks splitting votes for Democrats and possibly opening the door for Republicans— even a more extreme Republican than might otherwise have had a chance. Sinema has put her party in a potentially difficult situation. Democrats do not support candidates against Senate independents, Angus King and Bernie Sanders, but each of them is a much more reliable vote for the party. With Sinema, they will find it difficult to dissuade the liberals from mounting a candidacy.
Then there’s the question of what the change means for how she votes in the Senate. Sinema said she would not change her approach. “I intend to show up for work, do the same job that I always do,” she told Politico. “I just intend to show up to work as a freelancer.”
But everyone has their political prerogatives in mind. And if Sinema feels that frees her even a little from the need to appeal to the Democratic base, it could matter in the Senate. Democrats already face one of their majority votes coming from Sen. Joe Manchin, who hails from the nation’s second-most Trump state. Even though they might have a 51-49 majority in the chamber, they still need Sinema or Manchin in the tightest votes. And Sinema has already shown that she is quite willing to thwart her party, even to its potential political detriment.
One of her former House colleagues, who has never been a fan of hers, said all this really is is “just her own peculiar way of admitting that she would lose the Democratic primary. Now she can join the Gucci Party.”
Kyrsten Sinema is not a Democrat and she's not an Independent. She is a handmaiden to her corporate donors. She doesn't care about Arizonans at all, just about the contributors who have made her personally wealthy. She's a slick operator and she works for them. If she runs for anything in 2024, it will be Trump's vice president.