Thinking Citizen Blog — Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) II: the “Phoenix Sphinx” (Maureen Dowd, NYT)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day
Today’s Topic: Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) II: the “Phoenix Sphinx” (Maureen Dowd, NYT)
After posting on Sinema last week, I was astounded at the number of articles about her that were published in the week that followed. So I have decided to put out a Part Two on the “Phoenix Sphinx” aka the “Greta Garbo of Congress,” whom many progressives blame for the stalling of Biden’s legislative agenda. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE SINEMA/MANCHIN DUOPOLY — Maureen Dowd (NYT, 10/2/21)
1. “Just like the original Sphinx, the Phoenix Sphinx is blocking the way until those who would move ahead solve her riddle: What does Kyrsten Sinema want? And why doesn’t she stick around to explain it?”
2. “Somehow, we have gotten ourselves in a perverse situation where Sinema and Joe Manchin rule the world, and it’s confounding that these two people have this much sway. As Hemingway wondered in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” what are those leopards doing at this altitude?”
3. “Sinema and Manchin are now directing what Joe Biden gets to do and deciding how his presidency will be defined. Some Democrats even worry that the recalcitrant pair could be helping Donald Trump vault back into the White House.”
NB: “The two have created such havoc on the Hill — with the fate of the whole country riding on what mood they’re in — that congressional reporters have come up with Bennifer-style nicknames for them, including Manchinema and Sinemanch.”
THE BATHROOM HARASSMENT EPISODE AND THE NON-RESPONSE (NYT, 10/8/21)
1. “In the days after cellphone camera-toting protesters trailed Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona into a university restroom to confront her for opposing parts of President Biden’s agenda, top Senate Democrats drafted a statement of outrage on behalf of their centrist colleague.” (NYT, second link)
2. “Following someone into a bathroom and filming the encounter is plainly inappropriate, and it crosses a clear line,” the senators wrote. “What happened in that video was a clear violation of Senator Sinema’s privacy that has no place in our public discourse, and we resolutely condemn it.” (ditto)
3. “But the statement was never released. Senator Bernie Sanders, the progressive independent from Vermont, refused to sign after other Democrats rebuffed his demand that it include a call for Ms. Sinema to embrace Mr. Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social safety net, education, climate, and tax plan The letter organizers then decided against sending out the message of support for a senator who has angered some of her constituents by refusing to meet with them or answer their questions.”
SHE PUTS MODERATION AND COMPROMISE FIRST — IS SHE WRONG?
1. “The best way to achieve durable, lasting results? Bipartisan cooperation.” (Sinema, third link)
2. The real issue, according to Sinema is “the likelihood of repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty, deepening divisions and further eroding Americans’ confidence in our government.” (ditto)
3. The toxic effects of tribalism are why she supports the filibuster.
NB: Gandhi: “I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest number. It means in its nakedness that in order to achieve the supposed good of 51 per cent the interests of 49 per cent may be, or rather, should be sacrificed. It is a heartless doctrine and has done harm to humanity.”
FOOTNOTE — Democratic versions of Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse ( Bret Stephens, NYT, 10/4/21)
1. “So this is where I get to sing my personal love song to Manchin and Sinema, who are doing their constituents, their party, and our country a service that should be a model to politicians everywhere.” (fourth link below)
2. “They have the guts to say no to their own party — something I also admire in principled Republican dissenters like Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse.”
3. “Sinema and Manchin have offered a middle ground on spending only to be turned down by the real obstructionists on the far left.”
NB: “They’re not willing to pretend that trillions of dollars in spending won’t have budgetary and economic consequences. And, yeah, they’re being responsive to their voters, who want more common sense from Washington and less progressive wish fulfillment.”
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