Like many Arizonans, I’m appalled by the betrayals, obstruction, and attention seeking of our senior senator, Kyrsten Sinema. Our former neighbor and legislator, she represented a reliably blue Phoenix district in the Arizona House and Senate, and I occasionally sent her money and thankful emails, and always my vote. Today, not so much. I’m not alone.

Sinema moved to the center when she ran for a U.S. House seat in 2012, and that rightward drift accelerated when she entered the U.S. Senate race against Martha McSally in 2018. It’s one thing to appeal to the middle to win in a purple state; it’s quite another to break bread with McConnell’s obstructionist, corporate wing of Congress and piss all over the promises that carried Joe Biden to the White House. 

Today we’re still not sure if Sen. Sinema will vote for the infrastructure bill or Build Back Better. Stories appear regularly quoting former friends and colleagues who can’t get an audience or even a call back, the very people who helped send her to Congress: advocates for child care, immigrants, climate, education, LGBTQ, women, voter rights, veterans, seniors, you name it. I don’t believe Sen. Sinema has held a town hall since she entered the Senate, and I sure don’t expect to see one soon, given her infamous coyness and inaccessibility in D.C. Yes, the Senate passed infrastructure—just crossing my fingers that a certain someone doesn’t torpedo the whole package. 

So when she and Sen. Manchin sent out their self-congratulatory tweets this week, patting themselves on their corporately-owned backs for screwing over most Americans, more than a few people noticed.

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She looks forward to “getting this done,” which Congress could’ve done weeks ago if she wasn’t such a self-serving nincompoop. She also blabbers about “helping” families. GMAFB! Every one of her and Manchin’s demands, from dropping paid family leave and free community college to nixing a billionaire tax and gutting the climate agenda, are not “helping” families, unless they’re already very rich.

So I sent a note to her office that mentioned the March 2018 tweet at the top of the diary, which Sinema sent when she was running for the Senate. I’m certainly not the first person to ask the former Green Party politician, WTF happened? Senator, you ran on lowering prescription drug prices, as did Biden, and you both won Arizona, partly because more than 90 percent of voters here want Medicare to negotiate prices, like nearly every other country (who pay about a third the U.S. price). Could it be that the $750,000 Sinema received from the pharmaceutical industry brought on a brain cramp, causing her to forget that March 2018 tweet? Or is she just a lying, curtseying, corporatist turncoat in a neon wig?

Immediately after I sent my message referencing her March 2018 tweet I received the following email reply:

Thank you for contacting my office. I am proud to serve the people of Arizona, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

[infinitive, my bold]

Everyone who contacted her office probably got the same message, which goes on to say she’s really busy, she’s getting a lot of calls and emails, and it may take some time to respond to my specific concern. Don’t bother. I’ve received those followup emails too, and they don’t explain anything. First, they’re condescending as hell, devoting most of the message to explaining how government works, like we never saw Schoolhouse Rock. Often the response is a form letter that has nothing to do with the comment, and even if it does address your concern, it’s usually meaningless gobbledygook. She simply won’t debate an issue on the specifics; heck, even her own colleagues don’t know what she believes or why she believes it because she won’t engage. Ever see Sen. Sinema on TV explaining let alone debating her positions? 

Early in her Senate career, after many of us urged her to oppose William Barr’s Senate confirmation as Attorney General, her long reply boiled down to “he’s qualified.” Keep in mind, she said that after the bootlicking Barr auditioned for the job, essentially telling Trump he’d do whatever the lying, bigoted, draft-dodging sexual predator wanted. So how’d that vote work out, Senator? (I’ve inquired, no reply.) When I asked her to vote no on David Bernhardt’s confirmation to head the Department of Interior, her reason for approving the former oil and mining lobbyist came down to bipartisanship. Play nice with Mitch, the hell with the earth. It didn’t take Bernhardt long to threaten Arizona’s only free-flowing river with a giant open-pit mine and other water-sucking developments. Thanks, Senator, how’s that bipartisanship thing going? Did all your cuts bring a single GOP vote to BBB?

More recently, when it appeared Sen. Sinema was going to put the kibosh on Medicare negotiating prescription drug prices as part of Build Back Better, even though she had campaigned on that very thing, her initial long reply failed to say where she stands. Well, now we know. Thank you Big Pharma, screw you Arizona and the other 49. 

I’d ask her to consult a dictionary and look up the verb “serve.” I’m lucky to have worked with a lot of people who have served our state and nation, admirably and unselfishly, so I have a few benchmarks for service, and Sen. Sinema is not serving Arizonans—or democracy itself. Why is she even there? I think we know and it has little to do with service. 2024 can’t come soon enough.

Sinema enjoys only 25% approval among Democratic primary voters compared to 85% for Mark Kelly, Arizona’s other Democratic U.S. senator…  

She’s toast in the Democratic Party and has no future as a Republican, so all this damage is probably intended to earn her a corporate or media gig. Some service.


UPDATE: So today I received the promised reply to the original email that asked Sinema why she’s gone back on that March 2018 promise to lower prescription drug prices. I won’t bore readers with the whole thing, which amounts to nearly two pages of single-spaced type. As I wrote about her communications in the diary, none of it explains her decision to torpedo Medicare negotiations. The reply spends five paragraphs explaining how the FDA and Medicare work, providing a history of the programs and regulatory matters. Then she introduces arguments for and against Medicare negotiating prices, but never says which camp she’s in or why (reading between the lines, you can take that as a “NO”). Then she says we need to work to keep prescription drug prices affordable. WTF? That’s exactly what 94 percent of Arizonans want her to do! She ends by thanking me and says I should stay in touch. My partner got the same exact letter last week—nearly two pages of pap that don’t explain or defend her actions.    

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