Kyrsten Sinema And Mitch McConnell, Best Friends Forever FOREVER!
The Republican Party has become an anti-democratic cult of personality that gleefully rolls back voting and reproductive rights while sadistically attacking the LGBTQ community. This is the environment in which the Senate's most useless Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema, visited the McConnell Center in Kentucky and evangelized about the wondrous powers of bipartisanship.
We're past the point of trying to make sense out of Sinema's actions. If you think she's pulling some long game and plans to cash out in 2024 for a big corporate payday, you're free to applaud her ridiculously circuitous scheme. Right now, let's focus on the absurd reality of a Democratic senator from Arizona speaking at a Kentucky event hosted by the Republican Senate leader just 42 days before critical midterm elections. There's no precedent for this, even when Republicans weren't outright fascists.
Sinema is laughably unpopular, with an overall approval rating on par with syphilis. The McConnell Center is probably one of the few places she can go, including most of her own state, without risking a rotten tomato reception. Mitch McConnell, that lovable rascal, greeted Sinema with shameless flattering. He called her "the most effective first-term senator I've seen in my time in the Senate," openly snubbing 2018 Republican freshmen Kevin Cramer, Rick Scott, Josh Hawley, and even Mitt Romney, who didn't plot to overthrow the government. Those guys all support the filibuster, as well, but what makes Sinema special is that she's a Democrat who's personally handed McConnell a legislative veto over President Joe Biden's agenda.
The self-proclaimed Grim Reaper of the Senate praised Sinema's courageous obstruction.
"[Supporting the filibuster] was not fashionable in the Democratic Party in the last year and a half," he said. "It took one hell of a lot of guts for Kyrsten Sinema to stand up and say, 'I'm not gonna break the institution in order to achieve a short term goal.'"
However, McConnell is fine with killing the Supreme Court filibuster to achieve a long-term goal of stacking the Supreme Court with rightwing zealots. Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett would've never come close to reaching the 60-vote threshold for confirmation, but neither would Ketanji Brown Jackson or any of Biden's other judicial nominees. We have a Democratic president and Senate now, so there was much rejoicing (by Republicans) when Sinema stood by her filibuster. She'd even like a return to the filibuster's glory days, when Republicans shamelessly blocked Barack Obama's nominees until Democrats (finally) had enough.
If you have no respect for your eyes and ears, watch the clip below.
\u201cSen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) says she's not only against abolishing the filibuster, she's for strengthening it: "The best thing you can do for your child is to not give them everything they want... We should restore the 60-vote threshold for areas in which it has been eliminated."\u201d— Heartland Signal (@Heartland Signal) 1664209861
Sinema repeated a bunch of nonsense about how the Senate is supposed to "cool the passions" of the House and think "strategically and long term." She doesn't offer any strategic, long-term solution for Republicans quickly and passionately enacting draconian laws at the state level on a simple party line basis while her beloved filibuster prevents the Senate from responding. This is asymmetrical warfare and Republicans are pointing and laughing as we're escorted to re-education camps.
She also shared this bit of toilet-clogged wisdom:
SINEMA: The best thing you can do for your child is to not give them everything they want.
Unlike Sinema, I'm actually a parent, and I think the worst thing a politician can do is talk about voters like they're children. No wonder she has the approval rating of used chewing gum. This is normally a caught-on-tape, hot mic gaffe. It's far worse than suggesting people are "bitter" or "deplorable." She doesn't even use her tone-deaf remarks as a springboard to criticize Republicans who won't even tell their own spoiled brats that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.
I'm willing to cut Sen. Dianne Feinstein some slack because she's from a Flinstones-era of the Senate when Republicans weren't all jackasses. However, Sinema is younger than I am and joined the Senate in 2018. Yet she insults everyone's intelligence with this garbage about McConnell:
SINEMA: Despite our apparent differences, Sen. McConnell and I have forged a friendship, one that is rooted in our commonalities, including our pragmatic approach to legislating, our respect for the Senate as an institution.
McConnell is infamous for having broken the Senate as an institution. Almost normal Republicans such as New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan have run screaming when he's tried to recruit them to serve in his hyper-partisan, obstructionist dystopia. But, on the other hand, Democrats have ... uh ... who exactly is as awful as McConnell?
SINEMA: In Washington, our politics have become increasingly radicalized, spiraling steadily downward into bitter and tribal extremism.
That is a problem, for which Republicans are solely responsible. Republicans voted to overturn a presidential election and actively enable violent extremism.
SINEMA: Some political leaders on both sides of the aisle have let the loudest and more extreme voices in each party dominate the discourse.
Lady, get the fuck out of here with that weak-ass Chuck Todd "both sides" bullshit. Your Republican besties are gonna turn on you hard once you're no longer a useful idiot, and we've already got the laugh track queued up. I can't wait.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."