TPM Reader XX gives us another view on how Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is doing back in Arizona.
I am a longtime TPM subscriber who has known Krysten Sinema since she was running for Phoenix City Council as a Green party candidate. I think your analyses, and that of fellow reader GT, of her behavior are largely on target, though the revelation this morning that the big mail and digital push on her behalf is coming directly from Big Pharma suggests that this, again, is short-term positioning rather than some long-term plan.
You’re absolutely right in questioning the absence of any core demands she is making of whatever reconciliation bill might come down the pike. Commentators have made much of her reliance on campaign funds from Big Pharma and other corporate interests, but she’s also one of the leading recipients of “women’s issues” money – i.e. donations from groups and individuals associated with pro-choice and pro-equality causes. Yet she has had nothing to say about really important parts of the reconciliation bill that will directly affect women – things like child care, family leave, expanded pre-school.
There’s a lot of good stuff that would appeal to progressives, suburban GOP moms, and major campaign donors! But she can’t even bring herself to verbalize and prioritize these issues.
Like you, I think she believes that passing the Sinema-Romney infrastructure bill will prove that she can get things done in bipartisan fashion. Now apparently she’s got Big Pharma and the Chamber telling her she’s gotta put the brakes on reconciliation because it threatens too many of their interests. And her Dem colleagues are saying she can’t have one without the other.
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.