The Naked and Unbound Ambition of Kyrsten Sinema

4d2ce6002fa58.preview-300As the kerfuffle over SB-1062 dies down, politics march on here at ground zero in Arizona. The GOP runs the key Executive Branch offices such as governor and Secretary of State but, more importantly in many respects, also the state legislature, and as long as they do state politics will continue to be dominated by clusterfucks and cleanups. But Arizona has issues with their statewide federal elected officials too. The current manifestation is not McCain, Flake, nor even the Pleistocene era brainfart known as Trent Franks.

No, today’s issue is the once and forever self proclaimed liberal Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema. The transformation of Sinema, who aggressively sold herself as progressive liberal when seeking election, to a conservative Blue Dog toadie of the Minority centrist Dem leadership has been nothing short of astounding, especially for those of us who reside in her district and voted for her in 2012. She completely betrayed her base constituents in Arizona District 9. That is mostly a story for another day though, today’s story is not about discrete policy issues, but wholesale admission of the deceptive nature of Kyrsten Sinema’s incursion into AZ-9 to start with.

The baseline is this: Thursday, longtime Arizona Democratic Congressman Ed Pastor of AZ-7 announced his decision to retire and not seek reelection in 2014. Local politicians, from seemingly forever Maricopa Board of Supervisor’s member Mary Rose Wilcox to new and fairly refreshing voices like state legislature member Ruben Gallego, were literally stepping over one another to announce they would be running for Pastor’s seat. They are almost all minorities vying to represent a solidly minority district. And this is no small thing, as most all of them have to give up their current position to do so under Arizona’s “resign to run” law.

I was asked early on Thursday, not long after Pastor’s announcement, by a friend who supports liberal Dems nationwide, about Kyrsten Sinema jumping in. I thought it was a joke question and said so. Because it was crazy talk. The joke, however, was squarely on me and her other constituents in AZ-09. Yeah, Kysten Sinema, who pledged herself to AZ-09, started lusting after AZ-07 the second it was announced available.

Not that Kyrsten Sinema (see her Twitter feed, which is a litany of everything but her contemplated district switch) or her managers/spokespeople will admit it, or even address the subject, but she was ready to walk from second one. How do we know? Because the Arizona Republic/12 News (via the excellent Brahm Resnik) got a copy of an email to Sinema’s inside staff proving it.

So, why is this a big deal? Because it shows that, for first term congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, her own raw narcissistic ambition, in a dynamic situation, immediately trumps loyalty to her constituents and her party.

How it trumps her constituents is easy. Sinema represents AZ-09, which though a new district emanating out of redistricting from the 2010 Census, consists of a significant portion of John Shadegg’s old district that was taken over by Ben Quayle after Shadegg’s retirement. Sinema did not live in the still leaning conservative district, and explicitly came from an out of district seat in the state legislature to run for the seat when it opened for the 2012 election. She painted herself as a classic liberal of the old Tucson school, who was a progressive and sexually liberated voice. It was a bill of goods, but Sinema was an extremely aggressive campaigner who worked her ass off thusly selling herself. She eked out a victory over a very weak Republican thanks in part to a helpful diversion of votes by a third party Libertarian candidate.

And, though she has been a disappointment to any liberal, at least we thought we had a Democratic representative of some sort for the foreseeable future. Sinema came here and took our votes, surely she was ours at least until she could run for a Senate seat or something larger, right? Apparently not.

Kyrsten Sinema has proved herself willing to leave her, apparently carpetbagged, home in AZ-09 at a moment’s notice before even consummating a whole two year Congressional term.

But Kyrsten Sinema’s knee jerk willingness to dally with AZ-07 does not just sell out her constituents in AZ-09, no it is contemplated treachery to her Democratic party and Congressional caucus as well. Why? Because there is no Democratic alternative to replace Sinema in AZ-09. None. Over the last few months, several of us Democrats here in AZ-09 toyed with the idea of finding a primary challenger for Sinema, because she has been so awful as to genuinely progressive ideas and votes in the House. But there simply are none; it was either Sinema or turn the seat back over to the GOP, which was a non-starter. At least for us. So, if Sinema leaves, AZ-09 is going to flip and the House Democrats are going to lose yet another precious seat.

What’s worse is that if Kyrsten Sinema takes her big campaign war chest to try to claim AZ-07, she will be trying to suck up a seat that has been held by a member of the Latino minority, Ed Pastor, for over 22 years. Again, Arizona’s Congressional districts have evolved over that time, and AZ-07 is a somewhat a new creation. But the core that Pastor now represents, and has always represented, is well over 60% minority, with the majority of those being Hispanic.

Kyrsten Sinema is not only thinking HARD about abandoning her current constituents that she just came to represent, and abandoning a seat for Democratic caucus to the Republicans, she is thinking hard about trying to pilfer a minority seat away from what would otherwise almost surely be a minority Democratic replacement for Ed Pastor.

Why would Kyrsten Sinema think about doing such a loathsome thing? Raw, naked, selfish ambition is the only explanation. Sinema is an aggressive political climber. And her ability to get her mug in between any scene and the TV camera was clearly learned from the great Chuck Schumer and/or John McCain. She has that skill. What it boils down to is that Sinema is on the move, but a real higher office is not in the offing, either this election or next, as Arizona’s two Senate seats are locked up – McCain appears to be running again in 2016, and Jeff Flake is young, just got elected, and may never leave.

So, Kyrsten Sinema is left to ply her trade in the House for the time being. Thing is, AZ-07, once you are in, is a lifetime sinecure for a Democrat. You wouldn’t even have to work your ass off to stay elected, like Sinema will have to in the conservative trending AZ-09. In AZ-07, Sinema could kick back and build up her warchest for the future ambition she most surely holds, and if she never gets there, can ride out eternity in the seat easily and safely. That’s why Kyrsten Sinema wants it. Oh, and it was effectively where she came from before she so benevolently decided to insincerely grace the good folks in AZ-09 with her naked ambition.

What Kyrsten Sinema does at this point is anybody’s guess, and she is certainly not telling even top political reporters here in Phoenix (see: here and here). She is, however, push polling aggressively in AZ-07 over the weekend. Whatever it may be, the real Kyrsten Sinema has been exposed, and it is not a pretty sight for whatever lucky duckies that may be her future district constituents. Blue dogs are going to hunt I guess.

[UPDATE: I was negligent in my attribution. I have been discussing, on Twitter and off, the Pastor/Sinema dynamic since news of Ed Pastor’s retirement broke last Thursday. A lot of us were talking about Sinema from the start, but the actual first to go to print with the speculation was Rebekah Sanders of the Arizona Republic, who had this report Friday night, the 28th of February.]

29 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Maybe you need to contact that guy in AZ doing exorcisms over Skype and see if he can deal with this, um, possession?

  2. Peterr says:

    there is no Democratic alternative to replace Sinema in AZ-09. None.

    If only there were some diehard progressive who lived in the district, was plugged into all the good backstories, and was prickly enough to say what he/she thinks in that way that is apparently so beloved by the Arizona electorate. Someone well versed in the law would be nice — someone who has spent years working on how to present an argument and defend his/her case with passion.

    But where could we possibly find someone like that?

  3. Peterr says:

    I wonder what kind of day the receptionists in her offices in DC and AZ are having . . .

    *ring ring*

    Staffer: Hello – Congresswoman Sinema’s office.
    Caller: I voted for Sinema last year, and was wondering why she hates the people who elected her — people like me?

    Staffer: What? What ever gave you that idea?
    Caller: She did.

    Staffer: She did? How’s that?
    Caller: She wants to continue serving in Congress, but apparently wants to represent some other district. What message can that send, other than she doesn’t give a damn about me and my neighbors?

    Staffer: Now I’m sure it’s not like that . . .
    Caller: Right. It’s kind of like the guy who comes home to his wife and says “I still want to be married, just not to you.”

    Staffer: Rep. Sinema cares deeply about the people of her district . . .
    Caller: That’s what that guy said to his wife. “It’s not you — it’s about me.”

    Staffer: Come on, now. That’s not fair.
    Caller: Really? I’m not the one who just said she wants to date other districts.


    I suspect they may get more than a few calls like this.

  4. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: I’ve heard of gerrymandering, but if Glen Cove is in AZ-07, you guys have taken it to a level that would make both Tom Delay and his Texas chums as well as Rahm Emmanuel and the folks in Chicago mighty jealous.

  5. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    Full disclosure: I live in AZ CD-09 and voted for the Libertarian Party candidate in 2012 as did several thousand voters in my district. Because of our votes, Kyrsten Sinema narrowly defeated Vernon Parker, the Republican Party candidate in the general election.

    My principal interaction with Congresswoman Sinema came as a result of her voting against the Conyers-Amash Amendment, which would have reined in the NSA. I was shocked when I learned she had cast one of the key votes to kill the amendment given her past views on the Iraq War and the Bush Administration’s War on Terror. What is it about Washington that causes people with seemingly sound views to start spouting national security BS once they get there? Maybe it’s the water. Or, maybe, some Coast to Coast AM listeners are correct: the freshmen congressmen are led to a secret room at the capitol where a reptilian pops out of the shadows and tells the new members what’s really going on. In any event, her transformation from an antiwar, Green Party activist to a centrist, DLC Democrat is remarkable.

    In her case, I suspect she’s an opportunist changing districts to improve her prospects for reelection. AZ CD-09 is a marginal district for Democrats, and her new district gives her the possibility to have lifetime employment in Washington as long as she toes the party line.

  6. Phil Perspective says:

    Not that Kyrsten Sinema (see her Twitter feed, which is a litany of everything but her contemplated district switch) or her managers/spokespeople will admit it, or even address the subject, but she was ready to walk from second one. How do we know? Because the Arizona Republic/12 News (via the excellent Brahm Resnik) got a copy of an email to Sinema’s inside staff proving it.

    What does it say that people on the inside were willing to leak said document?

  7. Phil Perspective says:

    And her ability to get her mug in between any scene and the TV camera was clearly learned from the great Chuck Schumer and/or John McCain.

    How much longer is Chuckie going to be around? And does she think she can defeat Old Gluehorse in ’16, considering it’s a Presidential year?

  8. bmaz says:

    @ArizonaBumblebee: I actually, grudgingly, voted for her here in AZ-09 in 2012. She would not have won that but for the Libertarian siphoning of votes from Parker, but I think she can hold it in 2014 if she stays here.

  9. Desider says:

    I am puzzled why I should care about her wanting to “pilfer a minority seat”? Hispanics are now 1/6th the population, and have 1/7th of Congress. By 2050, they’ll have about 31% of the population, and I imagine will be better represented in Congress than whites. Is there something inherently wrong with being white, or a need to step aside if not a minority? Presumably Obama is fine representing majority white Americans even if blacks are only 13% of the population.
    Does color-blindness only work one way?

  10. Now Jealous says:

    I heard the rumor Thursday night. If only I hadn’t thought it completely ridiculous, I could have broken the story.

  11. Phil Perspective says:

    @bmaz: People in AZ still love McCain that much despite the idiot he’s been these past 6 years(ever since giving the nation Prince Dumbass of the Northwoods)? I’d really love to know how many Obama voters also vote for Old Gluehorse.

  12. albrt says:

    Sinema isn’t going to hold AZ-09 if she stays there. The Steve Isreal Democrats are going to get crushed in 2014 (except for the ones like Steve himself who have a special deal with the Republicans to protect their districts, and I don’t think Sinema rates one of those deals).

    The good news is I don’t think she’ll win the AZ-07 primary if she carpet-bags her way over here. Even though I don’t think much of Ed Pastor, I kind of wish he had hung on one more term to leave an open seat when the Democrats have a chance to reinvent themselves in 2016.

    Oh well, the Democrats reinventing themselves in 2016 is a pipe dream anyway.

  13. micheal weakley says:

    I do not think there is any value and praising Ruben over Mary Rose. Mary Rose has been amazing for the Latino community and I am still waiting for Rueben to show his abilities, although I think he has many. The rest, well it is all up for debate of Kyrsten.

  14. Desider says:

    @bmaz: do you really think it a lovely attitude that a white running in a frequently Hispanic district is “pilfering”?
    Quite frankly, if she can convince the voters to vote for her, then she deservers the seat, whether you like her politics or not. (okay, short of the lying/voter deception she used to get her current seat & then switching “views”). Still, it’s like the crap about how Hillary stood in the way of the first Black president – all this entitled crap. I’m fine with quotas and affirmative action, but when Arizona’s Hispanic proportion of the population increased by 25.3% to 29.6% in a decade, including majorities in a number of counties, which is on par with a number of other states, I’m just not too concerned with whites stepping aside to fill some sort of obligation to PC Hispanic quotas. When Hispanics have >50%, will we discuss the needs of “minorities”?

  15. bmaz says:

    @Desider: You understand that district, AZ-07, was specifically created by decree after the 2010 Census in order to facilitate minority representation, right?

  16. Amy Siskind says:

    What a sexist title! If this were a male candidate, he would just be ambitious. And that would be a good thing for him.

  17. bmaz says:

    @Amy Siskind: What a load of bunk. There is nothing whatsoever “sexist” about either the title or content of this post. Not one word would be changed if Sinema were a man. Not one.

  18. Desider says:

    @bmaz: Really? The US has a Hispanic-only-by-decree district? Who woulda thunk it.
    Maybe my dyslexic Lithuanian midget friends and me can get a special district declared for us to – “no infirmity/exoticness left behind” says The Minority Report.
    I like that – democracy by decree – has a nice ring to it.
    Seriously, if AZ-07 elects a black dude, a trans woman, a white preacher, an Inuit whale hunter – that’s their choice, that’s open representation.

  19. decader says:

    @bmaz: You don’t seem to engage in the point that identity politics is not the foremost goal of our democratic system, even though identity politics is certainly part of how people vote and correcting huge out-of-whack under-representation is a noble goal. In the case of Hispanic representation in the Southwest, you’d be hard-pressed to make that point in 2014, so saying a white candidate is “pilfering” a “Hispanic district” or other presumptious constructs in PC-land should be challenged both in our own heads and the party platform. Yes, trying to encourage broader participation & effective representation is great, but presumably an Obama can represent women’s issues just as effectively as a Hillary, as I was once told (snark).

  20. bmaz says:

    @decader: Hahahahaha, oh well, guess people that actually know their ass from a hole in the ground about local shit beat your ignorance. Go figure.

Comments are closed.