Josh Marshall has been doing good work trying to figure out Kyrsten Sinema, with the help of his readers. His latest letter from a reader has this conclusion:
She’s in a DC bubble of her own making. She has virtually no in-state presence, no public schedule, no press conferences, no interaction with regular voters, and other than industry-funded SuperPACs, no support system. She’s in a tough spot, and she put herself there.
The problem here is obvious: as her polling in state looks worse, Sinema will want more money for her Senate run. Since she’s unpopular with the kind of people who send monthly donations via ActBlue, her other option is to double down on things that corporate donors like.
All of Josh’s posts about Sinema are behind a paywall, but the gist of them is that she’s sending lots of direct mail to “independents” because she thinks her re-election hinges on making them happy. In other words, she thinks she’s the next John McCain. The problem with that strategy is that winning in a purple state requires both an energized base and popularity among independents. That energized base will be the one doing your GOTV.
Even in blue states, Senators get out and talk to regular constituents. Pre-COVID, Chuck Schumer could reliably be found at one or more Rochester festivals, accompanied by a staffer holding a sign saying “Meet Chuck Schumer”. If Josh’s correspondent is right, and Sinema is relatively absent from the state, she’s going to be even more beholden to corporate cash instead of in-state donors.
Being a Senator is a performative act in many ways. But floucing on the floor to reject a $15/hour minimum wage with a thumbs down (a clear homage to McCain’s better vote), posting on Instagram with a “fuck off” ring, and taking a two-week paid internship in California making wine rather than spending time in your state aren’t the performances that will gain you votes.
It’s beyond fucking annoying that this donor-beholden political dimwit/flake is one of the reasons the Biden agenda is in danger.
What’s equally frustrating is that things like Voting Rights, Abortion Rights, Equality Act (LGBTQ rights), Infrastructure etc. (which she’s blocking) are all popular EVEN WITH INDEPENDENTS!
PS- FIRST!, motherf***er!
So Arizona peeps-
who’s a likely candidate to primary her?
@UncleEbeneezer: Didn’t you get the memo? We’re not doing first anymore. :-)
Raw story just dropped a story about Sinema.
$750k from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries during her political career.
Chief of staff is a former Pharma lobbyist.
Americans want cheaper generic drugs. All big business has to do stop that is buy some generic Senators.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
My god. I keep telling myself there must be some substance there for her to have won a tough Senate seat, but … Jesus. Flake seems to be an apt descriptor. Everything’s just a lark for her.
I used to defend Sinema a bit. I don’t anymore – she’s pretty bad, and her career screams “opportunist” and “bought and paid for”.
I pay for TPM so I read Josh’s piece yesterday. He did a great job. Even if Kyrstin is able to rake in more corporate cash, the article shows her support among Democrats has cratered. She isn’t going to win her primary in 2024. Thankfully unlike W.V. an actual Democrat more than likely will win and then carry the general election. Manchin? He’s shit out of luck. He will win his primary in 2024 but will lose in the general.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: This is the song that should play every time someone talks about Sinema.
This sounds like a really cool job. How can I get one?
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: yes, that is a bit of a WTF up there with Ted Cruz take a vacation during an emergency.
I admit I never paid attention to Sinema before 2021. Was she always like this, or has her new power warped her in some way?
First, sell your soul. Then get back to us.
She broke her foot running in a marathon back home, IIRC.
Let’s not make simple mistakes in criticizing her.
Also, she’s not up for reelection until 2024. Working to elect more Democrats in 2022, while getting AZ peeps to pressure her to do better, is more important now.
I can second and third this. Ted Kennedy used to have meet and greets all over MA; when John Kerry was a freshman Senator, he was criticized for his inaccessibility. He asked Ted what to do, and was told something like: “Get your staffers to specialize in subjects, and get yourself out where you can shake some hands. Constituent service is going to depend upon your staff, and you have to know who to direct problems to. And coordinate with our Representatives; their staffs may be better situated to help.” Kerry turned into an excellent Senator, and has taken that experience onto his SoS role, and now his Climate Envoy post.
Most of the New England delegations, R, D, & I follow this (modulo Susan Collins, boo, hiss).
All of the MA delegation (House and Senate) have regular appearances in their districts, in addition to fundraising activities. And I know if I call Kathy Clark’s local office, I’ll get a callback from someone who is at least familiar with what I’m asking about.
Sinema is cutting her own throat. I can’t imagine whose advice she’s listening to, but it sounds all so very Third Way…
If Senator Sinema ends up tanking the Biden agenda, I don’t think there is enough corporate money out there to make her prevail in a Democratic primary. I think Arizona Democrats are essentially the same as Democrats in Virginia. There aren’t as many of them, 32% compared to 37%* of registered voters. But I think Arizona has closed primaries, and a mainstream candidate like Congressman Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) could take Sinema if she derails the Democratic agenda. Arizona Democrats have to reelect Mark Kelly first, though.
The 32% is the figure for registered Arizona Democratic voters when voting rolls closed before last year’s election. Virginia does not register voters by party; the figure of 37% is self-described Democrats, from a February 2021 Wason Center poll.
Wow. I thought she was misreading things politically, but I had assumed she was at least doing the “grunt work” back home to offset it. Didn’t realize she is also just not even trying to do the in state stuff. The retail politics.
she’s a loon.
@Another Scott: We still get to hate on her, though. :-)
The conventional wisdom on Manchin being essential because no one else will win in WV is subject to reevaluation though. If holding West Virginia means Democrats lose in other places then holding West Virginia starts to be not worth it. If Manchin becomes more of a problem you have to do a cost benefit – is holding West Virginia worth dragging down the whole party? Or jettison Manchin but hold and/or win in some other places? His value isn’t absolute. It can go up or down. He’s approaching net negative.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Ok, I read the story and it sounds like a two week vacation. Kind of like going to a dude ranch and working as a cowboy. Peculiar, but I don’t think it’s something we would care about if it weren’t someone who was giving us fits right now.
@Geminid: If Sinema tanks Biden’s agenda, we have way bigger problems than Sinema.
@Parfigliano: Please think about editing your comment to eliminate your vile language.
@PeakVT: Sinema won a newly created seat in 2012, and then joined the Blue Dog Caucus. So people have known she is on the conservative side of the party for years. That doesn’t mean they knew she would be so obstructionist, though. The current House Blue Dog Caucus* has by and large voted right.
*19 members, down from 25 in the last Congress.
@PeakVT: She started out as a Green Party candidate in local Phoenix area politics.
Once she became a Dem and started winning major elections, big business waved money under her noise and she became their water carrier.
The problem for me is I just don’t buy the whole centrist political argument. I don’t believe normal voters care at all about the filibuster and I don’t believe there’s a single Manchin voter who will abandon him over the difference between 1.5 trillion and 3.5 trillion.
I think they hear “filibuster” and immediately tune out and I don’t blame them.
I’m supposed to believe this is the hill voters will die on a year from now? They don’t die on any hills. They are not that plugged in. Conversely, they will ALSO not abandon their incumbent liberal senator over the difference between 1.5 and 3.5 so that is also bullshit. They will, however, be mad if “nothing gets done” or if they perceive that it’s all endless bickering.
When is Manchin up? 2024 also, no?
She’s always referred to as a “moderate” rather than what she really is: a paid spoiler.
I agree. Although, in fairness, the right is good at making false accusations about Dems “cheating,” even if voters don’t care about the filibuster per se.
@Parfigliano: your comment is as vile as your portrayal of Sinema.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
And that’s the thing with Manchin. He’s 71 and will probably lose in 2024. Why not just do the right thing and vote to alter the filibuster to pass important legislation like a new VRA to save American democracy?
I can think of only a few reasons:
1. He really believes the shit he says
2. He’s utterly corrupt
@WaterGirl: We certainly will could have bigger problems. Arizona Democrats will still take those problems out on her in 2024. But like I say, they have to concentrate on reelecting Mark Kelly first before they act on the Sinema problem. And I’m not sure Sinema will in fact tank the Biden agenda. I’ll wait ’til she does to cuss her out. But that’s just me.
So what I’m left with is that 1.5 billion and 3.5 billion are substantive policy differences, which the liberals admit but for some reason the centrists refuse to admit so instead feed us this nonsense that their voters care or that they are somehow super-savvy politically and their blocking everything is a winning political hand.
The impression I get of Sinema is that she has a long bucket list and wants to do everything on it.
Becoming a Senator was on her bucket list. Doing the work wasn’t.
She’s a dilettante, and is raking in big bucks to finance the next item on her bucket list.
She doesn’t oppose things because she’s keen on bipartisanship.
She’s a shill. A flack. A boot licker for the 1 percent.
@Kay: exactly- if we lose by catering to Joe Manchin, then it was not worth it and we end up weaker had we told him to pound sand. I think he’s an ego maniac and not very smart and I think he needs to be jettisoned
James E Powell
I have no hope or expectation that Sinema will ever be a valued member of our senate caucus. In my view she is an asshole and – maybe, I’m not sure – stupid.
Vote for me! I damaged the Biden administration! is not a re-election campaign.
Unless somebody is going to run ads in AZ that say “Call Senator Sinema and tell her to support President Biden,” there is nothing to be done about her. Pointing out her corruption and the absurdity of her positions & statements has not had any impact.
Where is 1.5 trillion coming from?
I don’t blame any Democrat who voted for Sinema. She made all sorts of promises on the campaign trail that sounded great. But then she changed her mind about those promises.
Here she was in 2018:
@Baud: Manchin’s up in 2024. But I think he’ll retire. I would not count him out if he runs again, though.
In regards to Sinema, she’s drawing all of the wrong conclusions… she dug the John McCain iconoclast persona, problem is, she hasn’t got a history of crashing expensive aircraft, nor has she enjoyed the POW gig and cutting a similar swath as an apolitical bi-woman fashionista doesn’t have the same cache outside of Scottsdale.
I almost get the idea that to Sinema, this is role-play and that she doesn’t really have a good grasp on what good politics actually is. If she was a weather vane, hurricane warning flags would be up but she’s still behaving unconcerned and effects a persona that she simply doesn’t care, because she’s gonna get paid.
She may flutter back for some Dem initiatives and other Dem priorities when push comes to shove but I will remain skeptical as an Arizonan. I fully expect in two years she will announce that she’s not seeking the office again and will take the corporate/media route. Even less work, all the pub, loads of perks and no more constituents.
She strikes me that she sees politics as a means to an end and that end means keeping her flush with cash and comfort.
@WaterGirl: The definitive version of that song. Thanks, I’d forgotten about it.
@Baud: Yup. Er, correct, not no.
Idioms are fun!! :-)
Fixed that for you.
I agree, lots of other, less sexist derogatory language to choose from.
Vile was a good start though. Soulless works for me too.
Climate change is the real sticking point. The rest is bullshit. It isn’t that surprising. Energy and all the attendant issues (transportation, etc) are as contentious as health care, with entrenched industries fighting change, a shit load of money, tons of corporate welfare, etc.
But for liberals climate change is existential – it will be hard as nails to move them off it. It’s a big ask. I don’t think they can do it.
Insulation from consequences is the defining flaw of our era.
In politics (gerrymandering, electoral college), in economics (divorcing of gains from performance; worker oppression, class privilege), in public health, in climate and environment, in reporting, and in the relationship between truth and actions.
Nearly every ill can be traced to the separation between actions and consequences, the distance between real-world facts and ideological policies.
Weren’t there a few warning signs when she first appeared on the scene? She claimed her superhero origin story was growing up in a poor family that couldn’t afford gas or electricity… they lived in a garage or a chicken coop or something… “Which is why I understand the plight of poor people in my state and so vote for me!”
…and then family members spoke up and said “Actually that isn’t the truth. We paid our utility bills.”
She started her political career as a Green. I suppose she left them when she sniffed more opportunities in the big tent party.
I don’t see how this ends well for her. AOC won’t win arizona or even a Democratic primary there. But the AZ republicans are where the texas and florida ones are: in crazytown. So in order to win, she needs primary voters first, and any centrist Democratic candidate can beat her. She can’t win as a moderate Republican, and while some of the back and forth will fade into the dust, primary voters will not forgive her for harming a Democratic president at the behest of her donors. That blame won’t get laid in the general; it will get apportioned during district meetings and through primary ads. And when McCain was McCain (conservative but occasionally not crazy), the Republican party was nowhere near what it is now.
She’s committing political suicide. And given the conduct over the past four years, whenever someone gets this much out of touch with what their electorate wants, the “stupid or dirty?” question rears its head.
Thanks. I’m not sure $1.5 will fly, although it won’t be $3.5. it may be better just to get nothing and put the blame where it belongs.
Per another of Marshall’s pieces: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/sinema-cueing-up-to-go-indy-must-read
Obvs. I don’t actually know, just citing an other article (which cites an email JMM received).
We will find out when she runs in re-election whether it’s smart or not. But right now, it does seem quite stupid. The performative things like the thumbs-down on minimum wage will likely bite her in the ass. Someone should put a papier-mâché of her doing this in a pickup truck and tail her at every primary rally in 2024, like Ned Lamont did to Joe Lieberman in 2006.
Haha. Do I even want to look at the replies?
The problem with trying to be “I’m John McCain, but a Democrat” is that McCain wasn’t appealing to independent-independents, but to Republican-“independents” who didn’t want to call themselves Republicans.
The reverse strategy only works when there are a large number of Democrat-“independents” who don’t want to call themselves “Democrats”.
Right now the Democratic pride is pretty strong, IMO.
How much of Sinema’s flakiness might come from having been (and perhaps still being) a Green? The third party types I’ve met think that both parties are terrible, and she may have internalized that, even as she climbed on to the Democratic Party wagon to further her own career and interests.
Glad to see her numbers are allegedly tanking, and I hope there are some smart people she listens to who can sit her down and persuade her to dance with the majority of the voters who elected her.
Bipartisanship is a unicorn. Better to work within her own party to be effective.
I expect at least part of her political calculation is “who else are they (Dems) going to vote for?” Of course, that goes right out the window in a proper Democratic primary against a reasonable opponent. And if she somehow made it through to the general election, then the option of disaffected Dems not making a selection for Senator lies in wait to ambush her pipe dreams of a “mavericky” future.
@UncleEbeneezer: Don’t let them belittle your achievement. I have it on reliable authority that Baud schemes endlessly to be numero uno.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
It’s pretty much a huge ratio of people calling her a bought and paid for hack and bringing receipts. It’s pretty hilarious lol
First, the solution to Sinema and Manchin is to win more Senate seats. We can do that, albeit it will be a challenge.
I’m less concerned with Manchin than I am Sinema. Once he is no longer the focus of the press thanks to the small Senate margin, he’ll fall in line because he always has and always will. Sinema, OTOH, is just a truly disgusting creature. She’s a liar and a poser. She takes pleasure in spitting in all our eyes, all the while raking in the big bucks from some of the most despicable people on earth. And this may just be the mean girl in me, but she is the tackiest senator in the history of that house of Congress. Her clothes and jewelry are the tackiest shit I’ve ever laid eyes on outside of 10-year-olds dressing up in their mother’s/aunt’s/grandmother’s gaudiest clothes and accessories. Everything is so inappropriate, too tightly fitting and, even worse, ugly. I see her on tv sometimes and I’m embarrassed by her and she’s not even my senator. I mean, yes, Pat Toomey embarrasses me every day just by existing, but at least his appearance isn’t tacky.
@Kay: WRT Manchin: climate change is a huge issue with the young. Who is organizing West Virginia college students to lobby him, and hold him accountable? They are going to live in the future, not WV’s past.
We are doing the 2nd! So Scooter wins! Flawless victory.
@kindness: If we elect more Dem Senators in the very promising 2022 election cycle, then he will live or die on his own. If we don’t, he will get a shit ton of liberal money because what choice do we have?
They’re what you would expect.
There’s the question. Everyone that the left likes (Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva) will not win statewide. The real answer would have been Gabby Giffords. Greg Stanton is a potential, but he’s not as famous as he should be. Janet Napolitano is too sick.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): door #2 for $50
I’m wondering if the role model for Lil Princess Sparkle Pony isn’t Joe Lieberman, not John McCain. The former, as far as I can see, got a lot more mileage out of being an apostate than the latter. I’m not one of her constituents, so I have decided to trust the good people of AZ to take care of her when the time comes instead of spending any more time agonizing over her actions or motives.
As for the Old Man of the Mountains, WV is probably lost to us in the not too distant future, and once again there’s not much anyone can do about it from the outside. It seems to me to be a much better use of time and resources to work on holding our seats in 2022 and taking advantage of whatever pickup opportunities we have.
She started as a Green super-lefty about twenty years ago. (I first voted for her then, for some local office.) She didn’t win elections then. Once she became her spineless current incarnation, she started winning and hasn’t lost since.
Since you mentioned “corruption,” I’ll drop the opening to a piece from Slate here about a pretty damned fishy heel turn from Sinema, which I alluded to in the previous thread:
I mean, she campaigned on it, as tweets up-thread demonstrate, then a dark money group funded by the pharma industry started dropping mailers and ads praising her mavericky-ness, and she threatened to tank the Democrats’ plan to lower drug costs. Quid pro quo.
I don’t know what her end game is and don’t give a crap about her political future, but I don’t think we can dismiss the cost to the party and its brand. Kay is 100% correct at #18: the value of any particular Democrat isn’t absolute. It can become negative.
@Kay: I see you are in the camp that thinks reality has political clout.
Really? Never. That’s never better :)
But it may have to be because just like Joe Manchin has things he believes and people he serves so do liberals and they can’t negotiate climate change down to nothing. That’s not possible for them. For one thing there are more of them and they represent WAY more people.
But “nothing” is the worst case.
James E Powell
First & Last solutions, I’d say.
PA, and WI should be ours. We should be able to hold AZ & NV, but GA and NH are going to be battles. OH I fear may be lost to us for the remainder of the century.
@laura: This lib votes cancel on this commentator.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Suzanne: Josh Marshall was speculating on twitter recently– I got out of the habit of reading the blog because of the paywall– that her plan is to go indy. I was trying to remember: Does AZ have run-offs? I could see where it would make sense from her position to set up three way races against a trumpist RWer and someone who looks, politically, like she did in her Green Party days.
More of it from being a now-atheist Mormon, I think.
The Mormon moms (of which Arizona has a lot) like her.
@Kay: Let’s not stress the numbers. You can always frontload 2.5 trillion (say a 5-year plan)and run on building back some more in 2024-2028, when the benefits of investing in America become obvious.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I think her plan is to go celebrity, personally. I bet she gets Meghan McCain’s spot on The View at some point.
If nothing isn’t a better option, then we really have to rethink the demands we put on our elected Dems to go big. We know from the Obama years that even significant improvements aren’t good enough to activate voters if they feel like the progress isn’t good enough.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Good god, every time you think there’s a bottom…
That makes sense. I bet the money’s more than she could get anywhere else.
@Chetan Murthy: Marshall probably has it right. And Independents at 31.7% were right behind Democrats at 32% when Arizona’s voting rolls closed last October. I wonder if enough Independents would turn out for Sinema, though.
Wyoming has a similar system, except that Democrats can also re-register on primary day. This could save Liz Cheney’s renomination.
I think she’s on the take, someone stuck $5 million in a Swiss account and she’s just doing what they say.
Good, good. Just as Obama’s people did last time. No One Weird Trick. Congress needs to fix this and if that means just Democrats, then they need to put on their big boys and girls pants and do it. And keep it from happening again.
Nobody is going to care 3-6 months from now. Get it done and move on.
We disagree about what demoralized Obama voters. They didn’t see improvements in the economy fast enough or downward enough and they were (rightfully) pissed that no one in the finance industry was held accountable. Biden has a pretty good economy and it’s been especially good for working class who actually fucking FINALLY got a raise. They can’t hire them in restaurants not because they’re lazy but because they fully employed with a better hourly wage. Full employment is good liberal policy. Larry Summers was and is wrong.
@matt: I think she’s a narcissist and loves attention.
not an AZ peep, but Reuben Gallego keeps popping up as likely.
@James E Powell: If Sherrod Brown could win Ohio by 300,000 votes in 2018, Tim Ryan can win by 30,000 in 2022. And his competition will be hacking each other up in the Republican primary.
@WaterGirl: Consider it retroactive to whenever we were.
Plus, the GQP will try to crucify him whether the Biden bill has $3.5T, $1.5T, or $1 period. I mean, if he tanks the thing then from their perspective, that’s great and they won’t go after him – why would they? He will have proved himself extremely useful to them in fucking up the Democratic agenda.
But if it passes…if Biden doesn’t get screwed over, here…then that would mean Manchin voted for the spending (even $1) and they’re going to want him out of there with a vengeance.
I’m not married to any of it- always willing to negotiate- but I do see the position of the liberals and I think they cannot bend that far and only a really bad negotiator would ask them to. Manchin has to see their position.
It has to work for both sides. Jettisoning climate change doesn’t work for them. That’s a non-starter, which is why he isn’t admitting that’s the sticking point and instead does his dishonest detours into “work rules for welfare” and “inflation”.
@Suzanne: I agree, but I think pretty much all of them are narcissists who love attention.
@germy: she’s as much Senator Sinema (D-Big Pharma) as some of the others…perhaps many of the others. I mean, just about every GQP Senator is essentially (R-Big Carbon)
@Jeffro: No, they’ll go after him even if he’s useful to them. Maybe even go harder then to make the point that you can’t compromise your way to their good graces.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
There were no laws on the books that could’ve held them accountable at the time, IIRC. At least, that’s what I’ve always heard
@Elizabelle: A big problem is that each of the 3 House districts in WV are R+30. In that environment, Manchin can’t be pressured much to be more liberal, especially not by outsiders. Ways can be found to move him by the folks who know him best.
We have to get him on board, take the win, and build on it.
And elect more Democrats!!11ONE
WV college students? Both of them? ;)
I kid, I kid…but just barely. WV has the lowest percentage of college students in the country. Not much of a force to deal with, unfortunately.
@geg6: I pretty much agree with this take. We have to cater to them now, but, if we can net 2-3 more senate seats in 2022, they lose power. Also, Manchin is an old fashioned pol; I think he will deal. The only question is what is he looking for. Sinema, otoh, I don’t know and can’t really guess which game she is actually playing. That being said, finding Manchin’s price and paying it – earmarks, renaming WV Manchinland, whatever – would leave Sinema on her own and that can be a tough place. Maybe we need to look for a way to give her soft landing; she is crawling pretty far out on her branch.
Then win in 2022.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
Don’t get me started :)
I’m a law n order person. But for white collar criminals and violent criminals.
I think this is an extremely popular position and I don’t know why more people don’t say it. It baffles me. People love perp walks! They thought a group of fancy lawyers in a room where they come out with a “deal” was a good replacement? It’s just bonkers. Of course people hated it.
Yeah, I guess we disagree. I saw no upside for Dems for the things they did accomplish under Obama. Not that the factors you state weren’t relevant too, but there was so much negativity over those accomplishments that I think it hurt also.
@Baud: The congresspeople have a lot of “time off.” They are supposed to be meeting their constituents. She could have hung out some place nice in Arizona and promoted local businesses.
@Geminid: I agree with all of that.
@matt: I’m not following…if he’s useful (by helping tank Biden’s bill, and therefore potentially Biden’s term)…there’s no reason to expend any resources there. He’s a known quantity and he’d be doing their bidding.
But if he votes for even a super-slimmed-down bill…even a $1… (much less the $3.5T one) they’ll go after him.
Maybe we are agreeing? I dunno.
Do other Congress critters not take vacation away from their districts? I don’t like Sinema, but I’m not going to make up fake standards for her.
@prostratedragon: I ?Beaker singing that song.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I live in Ryan’s district and he’s always struck me as a backbencher. Maybe he can pull it off, who knows? I do know he only won by like 54% against the nut job Christina Hagan last year when he was winning 62%+ for years.
I think he’s running for Senate because he knows that combined with gerrymandering and the changing political climate there’s a decent chance he’ll lose next time around
ETA: Although he’s always been a solid D vote and he has impressed me recently
The Moar You Know
@PsiFighter37: Please remind me how that worked out for Lamont.
@Jeffro: The base of the GOP isn’t rational, they’re a rabble and the party is purging everyone who’s not a full-on Trump supporting fascist. You think the rank and file are going to go easy on a Democrat because he has done useful stuff for them? As if.
@UncleEbeneezer: Ha! No grandfathering… that just gets us in trouble. :-)
I agree with things like “the public option” which went from being a kind of boring policy lever to being a magical incantation, to the extent that they were insane. The Left have things they say that are proxy for whole ideas – like how “NAFTA” went from being “the trade deal” to meaning “everything bad that has ever happened to the working class in the last 30 years”. That did happen with health care, but for normal voters I think it was much more about that they lost so much in the crash and there was so little intervention. We now see how MUCH intervention there could have been because it was done for the pandemic. They could have just let it crash on top of ordinary people again and we’d have 16% unemployment – they chose not to. So they CAN mitigate a catastrophe in a way that people recognzie and see in their daily lives. That’s possible.
@Geminid: I’d give Wyoming Democrats a 50/50 shot tops of saving Liz Cheney now that Trump’s picked his candidate. Her best hope was ticket splitting among Republicans and they’re dropping out since Trump endorsed.
FSM knows the Wyoming democrats aren’t organized enough to generate a crossover campaign. The last time a democrat was elected to statewide office was 2006 and the party’s been in shambles since. Cheney’s campaign will have to pick up the slack.
It’s even worse than that, in my estimation. It’s more that the filibuster is off most voters’ radar screens, so they have no clue about why the Dems don’t accomplish the things they ran on. “We couldn’t do that because of the filibuster” is gibberish to them.
So their read is that the Dems let them down, they made promises but didn’t keep them, they don’t really want to do those things, despite having the power to do so. And that makes it hard to get marginal Dem voters (IOW, those who vote Dem when they vote, which is far from always) to turn out. And we lose.
@Kay: I’ve been kind of startled by the amount of intervention in the current crisis. Remember all the hyperventilating about the $700B TARP proposal in 2008? Peanuts! ;-)
Dems need to learn from Katie Porter. She won this famously red Reaganite district and did she go moderate? No, she’s the Vice Chair of the Progressive Caucus. She ran left and won reelection by a higher margin because Dems are not going to give the seat back.
Someone should ask her, “What are you here to do?” I don’t think she’d have a good answer.
@Baud: Katie Porter hosted a ton of local events during the break. She was very visible.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@lowtechcyclist: Many people still think that when a senator filibusters, s/he stands on the Senate floor and talks, a la Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Today’s filibuster is invisible to them. It never happened.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
If I can add one more:
3. He’s an attention whore (pronounced “hoorre”).
I don’t know if he’d knock you down running at the closest camera like a Giuliani, but don’t stand in his way.
@The Moar You Know:
Sure. Lamont won the primary 51.8% – 48.2%.
@Martin: It is true that all districts are exactly the same and what works in one place will always be successful everywhere.
I don’t know “damning”. More like “ass covering”. I read Bad Blood which is the excellent book about Theranos and there are real heroes in the book. Unfortunately for Mattis all of the heroes are regular army people who had to get around bad decisions by leadership to protect soldiers from ridiculous and dangerous scams. The heroes are old fashioned, boring regulators, in the Army, at HHS, at Medicaid and Medicare. They stopped her. If it had been up to her embarrassing, fawning “board” we’d all have junk blood test results.
Maybe Baud will buy it.
@Martin: Then she probably wasn’t on vacation.
Good thread on the Arizona election “audit” that is going to be unveiled tomorrow—at 4:00 p.m. EDT, the traditional time for important, ground-breaking news. ?
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): He has fossil fuel investments and friends in the business. Most logical explanation for part of it. On voting rights, I don’t get it.
The question is whether she or Dems generally take two week vacations and, if so, do they spend it outside of their districts.
Maybe there’s more to the Sinema wine story, but right now it just seems like piling on.
Great point upthread (by Kay, of course) about some of these “moderate” Senators might cost too much to keep. (ie. Manchin and Sinema). I wonder if some of their colleagues are making that point, privately.
Don’t piss in the soup. You are one cook we will not allow to ruin the soup for all of us, and for those who count on us (the American citizens who elected Democrats to get something done; make things better).
I could use an upgrade.
@Steeplejack (phone): Tomorrow at 4:00?!?! That doesn’t give the Sunday shows much time to decide whether it is the most important story of the week or something to be ignored entirely.
I know! I was delighted. I had people who were asking me to VERIFY the federal bump in unemployment. Are we really getting that? I was like Santa. Yes, you are!
You mean…we’re getting something? Real cash money?
I have a mean sister (I adore her, but she’s harsh) and she’s the one who raised that with me- “you know what we know now? We know they can rescue us. When they don’t it’s because they don’t want to“.
@Kay: Top military officers are often very good at their jobs, but they live and work in a very sheltered environment. It doesn’t really surprise me that a number of them turn out to have problems in the “world.”
Yeah, the fact that it’s on a Friday afternoon means they don’t have anything that can even cross the Guilini line of credibility.
@Omnes Omnibus: I took his comments to mean Porter makes herself visible to all constituents and inspires loyalty in the Democrats who are her political base in the district, so they’ll fight for her. And yeah, that does sound not only broadly transferable but also a pretty basic part of the job.
@Elizabelle: If Sinema thinks she will be filling McCain’s shoes she seems not actually to know much about him. His reputation as a maverick was mostly just bravado, because overall, he was a party guy and voted with the party I would venture upwards of 90% of the time. The most radical thing he did was to save the ACA by refusing to be the deciding vote to kill it. For that he will always have my thanks.
@Betty Cracker: Yes, it is a big part of the job, but it wasn’t really responsive to Baud’s question. Unless that is how Rep. Porter chooses to spend her vacation time. Then again, I don’t think that is a reasonable standard to hold our Congresspeople to.
@Kay: I understand the only climate change piece he supports is restoring damage from coal mining. He may have a personal stake in that.
@CaseyL: Yup. I think she wants to be a teevee star in the next phase of her career. Apparently it doesn’t take any brains or talent to be a star. Look at The Apprentice — the show about the fake businessman who pretends to fire people.
Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!)
@Barbara: And her mavericky act isn’t working at all. Here is part of the “cratering” Josh Marshall talks about
The part of the book I was interested in was how many almost random things had to go right to stop her. The first big smoking gun whistleblower email was sent (inexplicably) to a NY office and it managed to wend its way back to San Francisco. I think that’s how real life is- it’s 40 solid lower level people instead of one super hero, each playing a smaller role. But trials aren’t real life.
This is such a good point and one that I stress (to no avail) all the time. Think of the median American … how they consume news, how they think about politics, what they “know” to be facts on critical social/economic issues. Sadly, too many don’t know much of anything about any of this, and may actively avoid trying to learn. What they have is a culture that informs them. In too many places, that culture is absolutely poisoned against Dems (altho the converse is true for GOP, but in a much less politically difficult way thanks to the particulars of the American system). If we want political power (and we most certainly do to save the planet at least) – we’ve got to figure out how to break the cultural link (or at least reduce it) between white people and the GOP. But in the meantime, at the Federal level, we (Dems) have to be more aware of the fact that when GOP is in power, the uninformed hear a noisy debate of GOP support and Dem opposition. When Dems are in power, the uninformed hear a noisy but more uni-directional debate — Dems in disarray or directly critical, GOP unhinged opposition. Even though this mushy middle may hate the noise, they take the cues. Policy details are meaningless in this context.
Cert. before judgment.
@Omnes Omnibus: Does anyone really think Manchin or Sinema are going to keep their seat?
I’m not saying a tack to the left would work for them, but I see no evidence a tack to the middle ever really works.
@Martin: I think Sinema will lose her seat and be replaced by a Republican.
There is a very short list of Arizona Democrats who win statewide. Very short.
Here’s an old story from ’19
@The Moar You Know: He won the primary.
Maybe this politics thing is just a way to support her real loves, wine making and ironman racing.
@Martin: I think that running as who you are and then behaving the same way once in office is actually the important thing.
I think you’re answering your own question. He has an interest and friends in the fossil fuels business. “Voting rights” means more POC voting, which means more Democrats elected, which means bad news for those in the fossil fuels business.
@Suzanne: Maybe, maybe not. Times change. (ETA: re a Democrat winning statewide in Arizona. I hope that Sinema does lose her seat, because the dramatics are not helpful or necessary. Enough, Kyrsten.)
We have to work very hard for the midterms
We are worrying about defending both Senate seats in Arizona, and in Georgia.
That’s a phenomenal problem to have. Did you see it coming three years ago? Two years ago?
@Baud: Part of me wonders if piling onto these lawsuits would work for Dems. If USSC supports unlimited liability for any action, I’d like to get that on the record ASAP. If 200 million people sue that doctor, and each is entitled to a minimum of $10K, a $2T judgement against a single doctor should stand up as a pretty clear 8th amendment violation. But I’m not sure we get there with only two suits.
The Moar You Know
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Aaaaaaand then? Who won the election?
HINT: it wasn’t the guy dragging around cardboard cutouts in his pickmeup truck.
If the Dems work through their differences and do pass most of Biden’s economic plan in the next few weeks, I’ll definitely be watching to see how people respond.
@Martin: How is it an 8th Amendment violation?
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
If that happened, what’s stopping the GOP legs from amending the laws to prevent this from happening again?
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I think it’s because the 8th amendment prohibits excessive fines?
@Baud: I think a big problem is the liberal media’s framing.
See: Afghanistan — the debacle! Makes for such an uphill climb, and that’s on purpose. NBC has a dark, dark corporate heart. (You will notice that MSNBC traffics in reporting breathlessly on everything known that the GOP is doing. They amplify the GOP’s message like it’s their job. Of course, we do that here on BJ too sometimes, regrettably.)
And don’t get me started on NPR. I don’t even click when they come up as a link to an issue I am researching. I don’t want their take. They give airtime to liars, and don’t push back. They are dead to me, and to my $$ contributions.
@Baud: So will I. I sure as fuck hope that everyone and their cousin gets out and starts talking about how whatever was passed is the best thing ever with strawberries on top.
@Baud: Second answer: it’s on us to make sure people know about the good things Democrats are accomplishing for them.
Dog knows what they’re seeing on social media. We have to be the honest reporters.
@The Moar You Know: Do you think it was because Republican voters dislike cardboard cutouts?
@Elizabelle: Dude. Yes, things change. But the best (though not infallible) predictor of future behavior is past behavior. There were a lot of Democrats running statewide in AZ in the 32 years I lived there, and if they won 20% of the time, that would be a generous estimate. It can happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I think Greg Stanton might be the right person, but he hasn’t been as prominent as I’d like.
Ruben Gallego will not win statewide. The parts of Arizona that are not central Phoenix or Tucson have a lot — A LOT — of racist douchebags.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Good point and makes sense
Ha! Definitely. He sure likes putting out WaPo op-eds
Definitely. I think we need to hold everyone accountable that breaks the law and it doesn’t do any good for societal cohesiveness to have two blatantly separate justice systems. People who try to overthrow a democratically elected government should go to jail and serve more time than somebody who used drugs
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): I am sort of aware of that. It just isn’t as easy a legal call as Martin suggests. FWIW I have written briefs that civil forfeitures of far less than that were excessive. The court system doesn’t always agree.
Besides LGM, I’ve today seen one other instance where Biden = Trump on immigration. I’m glad I’m a normie in training.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
I was just thinking, one of my sword fighting instructors was (is?) a pioneer and I can image she must be utterly mortified when Sinema comes up because Sinema comes across of as the utter embodiment of every negative stereotype of a woman in a leadership position my instructor’s generation was fighting against back in the day. A few times my instructor mention how she had to watch what she said or how emotional she got privately and professionally. All that blood, sweat and tears just end up giving us the first female flake senator. Well, that’s something….
@Baud: Frank Bruni had some clickbait up on FTF NYTimes, seemed to equate the two. Did not give them my eyeballs. Bruni is tiresome; a real glibertarian.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
You know more about the law than I do and I defer to your judgment. Though, if a combined $2T dollars worth of judgments against a single individual isn’t excessive, I don’t know what would be
@Suzanne: Yeah. The candidate makes a lot of difference, and too heavy a lift for some well qualified people, sad to say.
Biden is getting as much done because he is an old white dude who has been in government for two generations.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): literally fraud. They committed garden variety fraud in the lending and repackaging.
i could not do what the bank’s did and get away with it. And in fact normal people have been tried and convicted for committing mortgage fraud.
Why is it so difficult for the media to understand that she obviously has a ridiculously high-paying job waiting for her when she loses her next primary or election? Her estimated net worth when she was elected was $34k. Now it’s over $1,000,000. In 3 years. Her salary is about $175k / year. I think she’s doing the bidding of corporate masters and getting out before the investigations begin.
@Bluegirlfromwyo: Besides Democrats, there are plenty of Wyoming Independents who may vote for Cheney. And while three Republicans dropped out when attorney Harriet Hageman received the orange churl’s endorsement, others have stayed in the race. I wouldn’t be surprised if Darth Cheney is behind one or more.
Liz Cheney will also get a lot of Republican votes. They haven’t all gone radical. It will be a real fight.
@Baud: Since the following came up yesterday…
I don’t pretend to know what is going on in detail, but I know that the people at the top aren’t monsters. Pressure on them to do the right thing is good, and that includes pressuring Congress to fix the rules and the system.
@Parfigliano: Really? Misogynist much?
@Martin: Porters seat was famously Reaganite. But I think it and the other Southern California seats were getting closer and closer this decade. I wonder how Clinton polled in your district in 2016.
Porter did run as a liberal, though. She was one of a very few of the40 Democrats that flipped seats in 2018 who was nominated over a more moderate competitor.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): The question is whether a civil judgment not payable to a government entity constitutes a fine for 8th Amendment purposes. In this context, I would say that it does. But again, my record on excessive fines jurisprudence is not a winning one. I still think I was right, but that and $4.50 will get me a cup of coffee.
Do you trust this Supreme Court to rule the right way on this issue?
@Geminid: I may steal “the orange churl” at a future date. :)
@Elizabelle: AZ Dems have run some turkeys, but they’ve also had some great candidates (Richard Carmona springs to mind). Most of them lost. I am pulling for Katie Hobbs (running for governor).
This is why I get frustrated with this discussion surrounding Sinema. Yes, she sucks. Unequivocally. But there is not a great array of people to choose from to replace her. She has won so far because she has managed to walk a narrow path: run with the D behind her name, get juuuuuuust enough Mormon moms to cross the aisle to vote for her (she represented CD-9, which includes a large portion of the East Valley, which is primo LDS country), and she was good at constituent services. So it is really hard to jump off a winning horse when you do not have a backup.
Mark Kelly is a freaking astronaut, Mr. Gabby (who is still thought of very fondly), and he was running against the odious McSally. He is not repeatable.
@scooter: I would vote for a broom with googly eyes attached if given the chance. Though I am only 37 and haven’t voted in many elections in Ohio where I was born and in Arizona where I’ve lived since 2006, voting for Sinema is the absolute worst vote I’ve ever cast. And I voted for John Boehner in OH and McCain here, before I really understood the depravity of the GOP.
@Suzanne: I hear you. And she is a vote for a Democratic Majority Leader.
But I tire of her toxicity and the drama llama stuff.
@Betty Cracker: Feel free. I got tired of typing the uncapitalized last name.
@Elizabelle: I just feel like most of these pieces — and Josh Marshall’s is no exception — don’t really get the dynamic of why she wins. And she does win, pretty reliably.
She wins, with a lot of blue votes, because she seems to be something that everyone can live with. That is a rough electoral dynamic there. The Phoenix East Valley is dominated by LDS politics. Mesa, which is a gigantic suburb just east of PHX, is partially in CD-9, but most of it is represented by the odious Trumphumper Andy Biggs. It was founded by LDS settlers, and that area is the second-largest LDS community in the world after Salt Lake. Jeff Flake lives there. There has also been a ton of white (Mormon) flight out of there as Mexicans have moved in. So Sinema, who is an ex-Mormon, manages to hold together a coalition of enough Mormons and the Dems there, because she knows the Dems have nowhere else to go.
@bnateAZ: Your vote for Sinema did help make Chuck Schumer Majority Leader. And that is not a small thing.
@James E Powell: I don’t think Ohio is lost. Tim Ryan is a strong campaigner, and the Republican side is a bunch of flakes, except for Jane Tmken. And she is a woman, and her hisband closed his factories and shipped them off to China.
@sab: The Ohio Republican Senate primary might be a brawl. And former Congressman Renacci’s challenge to Governor DeWine could be very divisive. Ohio Republicans may not be singing “Kumbaya” when their primaries are over.
I understand Manchin is heavily invested in coal. So there ya go.
Forget it, Jake. It’s California.
@Geminid: Here’s hoping.
She’s so done, she barely has a presence in the state and both sides can’t stand her at this point. She’s a clown
@Suzanne: I really doubt she won the East Valley Mormon vote, they went McSalley for the most part. I live here
@SmallAxe: Of course she didn’t win it, and Suzanne didn’t say she did. She lost with enough margin that her overall numbers pulled her just ahead. Other dems are likely to have worse margins with that group and not be able to pull that off. The point is that you can’t win in AZ without some crossover.
@Eolirin: same folks voted in Kelly?!
LOL nobody who has the remotest chance of winning because winning a statewide primary takes money, and the Big Money is naturally risk-averse so it’s going to go to her. Democrats currently in office who wish to continue to have a future in the party are also unlikely to go against her.
Rep. Greg Stanton (former Phoenix mayor) seems like he would be a great replacement for her, a big improvement. It just seems incredibly unlikely and very much not like him based on past performance that he would upset the Democratic apple cart by taking her on.
I do not have any idea if there’s someone in Pima County (Tucson) who might take her on, but since 60% of the state lives in Maricopa County (greater Phoenix, essentially) any candidate who is only known south of the Gila River starts out at a significant disadvantage. In fact I am hard-pressed to think of anybody from that area in my lifetime who has become governor or US senator
As unpopular as she is among the Democratic base, I would not bet against her and in fact I would go long. The state GOP is led by lunatics pandering to even bigger lunatics; I expect they will once again choose a loser in their primary to run against her and everyone will hold their noses and vote Sinema rather than for whoever the new McSally turns out to be.
@Suzanne: Well the parts of Pennsylvania that aern’t Pittsburgh or Philadelphia have a lot of racist douchebags too. So much so that we are one of the most gerrymandered states in the country.
But are there enough Dems to win statewide races? In PA we have a Dem governor, Attorney General, and almost all of our appellate court judges.