For the first time in three decades, Arizonans went to the polls and voted for a middle-of-the-road politician, eschewing the far left and right for a balance in the Swamp. Democrat senator Kyrsten Sinema has not disappointed – the Republicans. Since taking the oath of office, she has voted with the president’s appointment of Attorney General Bill Barr and opted to wear hot pink during the State of the Union, forgoing the pep club uniform of all white.
She also has no intention of wading into the House of Representatives’ impeachment battle against Donald Trump. How on earth did an independent thinker like Sinema get elected by Democrats in the first place? Regardless, she is in it for the next five years, and there is no telling what the heck she’s going to support when it comes to Democratic Party nonsense.
Not a Team Player
It’s obvious to the political crowd that Sinema is a lone wolf in thought and process. She routinely avoids partisan grandstanding against conservatives and recently told one D.C. news outlet that she would not suffer threats from the party muckety-mucks: “Everyone knows that I am very independent-minded. And that it’s not super useful to try and convince me otherwise.” To seal her liberated characterization, Sinema skips lunches with Dems on the Hill to cross-train for Ironman and extreme sport-style races.
Her laundry list of centrist acts is beginning to rankle a few in Democratic leadership, and fraternizing with the enemy is such a serious no-no that some colleagues are finding it a challenge to stay mum regarding the good senator from Arizona. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), a rabid progressive type, is on her case, occasionally lobbing a few veiled threats. He said regarding his state colleague, “In terms of effectiveness, we’ll see. I would be more concerned about not reflecting where the demographics in Arizona are going. And they’re going Democratic and they’re going more progressive.”
It appears Grijalva believes Sinema is a Republican.
The Real Maverick
As the presidential contest appears larger on the horizon, Ms. Sinema isn’t ready to endorse any contenders. As a matter of record, she claimed not to have watched the debates, saying she wasn’t “missing anything.” Going a bit closer to the edge, the senator further stated, “Let’s winnow the field below, like, 20 or something, and then maybe it gets easier. Like, when it’s enough for two basketball teams, it’s too much.”
It’s been a helluva transformation from the woman who argued it was “bulls**t for women to stay home and leech off their husband,” and who at one time felt no compulsion to chastise an American who would travel overseas to take up with the Taliban.
Not a Republican and certainly not a progressive, the atheist, bisexual, and stubbornly private Sinema may be the last moderate Democrat in office. How else can one explain the lack of power grabbing and headline pandering, plus the ire she has provoked in her peers? Recently, Democrats have been mulling the best strategy to upend decades of Senate rules requiring a 60-vote filibuster so they can force “Medicare for All,” and likely the “Green New Deal,” down Americans’ throats. According to Sinema, however:
“They will not get my vote on [nuking the filibuster]. In fact, whether I’m in the majority or the minority I would always vote to reinstate the protections for the minority … It is the right thing for the country.”
She is not a partisan team player. And that might just be a good thing not for Democrats or Republicans, but for America.