It is interesting to observe the national media, as well as heavily funded leftist political organizations, working in tandem as they attempt to paint Senator Kyrsten Sinema as an “obstructionist” because of her strong position in favor of protecting the country from single-party authoritarianism over a generations long filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate. I smile to myself in thinking about what the media routinely opined when Republicans flirted with abolishing the filibuster rule…but I digress.
In the same tradition as Arizona Senators Barry Goldwater, John McCain, and Dennis DeConcini, Kyrsten Sinema has consistently stood against instant political gratification or an overly simplistic party line—and many Americans and certainly Arizonans have taken notice. It is a well thought out position that honors and respects the very founders of our nation. In Federalist Paper #62, founder James Madison wrote “The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies, to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions. . .. All that need be remarked is, that a body which is to correct this infirmity, ought itself to be free from it, and consequently ought to be less numerous.”
For better or for worse, Senator Sinema has drawn attention from the “Far Left” (i.e., the “Primary Sinema” project) and from the “Right.” Under the rules of cloture, conservatives and liberals are forced to behave, as Madison wrote, in a manner that doesn’t yield to the “impulse of sudden and violent passions” or the hyperventilating that the band of politicians in the US House or White House engage in. Senator Sinema’s operational standard simply means that 60 votes are necessary for final passage of legislation through the Senate. In turn, this forces both the need for bipartisan support and compromise. Exactly what our forefathers rightly envisioned for the Senate.
On the other hand, conservatives currently have little-to-no power to stay liberal legislation or the whims of an uber populist House of Representatives should Senator Sinema decide to go down the easy political path of acquiescing to those hell bent on short term political gratification. Her position sets a high bar for Republicans when they some day retake control of the political apparat we call Congress and this lesson should long be heeded if you choose to represent the 48th state in Washington, D.C. (hint to Senator Kelly).
In any case, Kyrsten Sinema’s position in Washington is one that her average constituent should appreciate—the average Arizonan is clearly independent in nature. A people of whom the vast majority have fled from other states fraught with bad economies, bad taxes, bad politics, and way too much homage paid to political bosses. Simply put – and often seen through a lens of who Arizona elects to office, the battles that occur in our ballot initiative history and our propensity to be counter cyclical in our politics regularly – Arizonans are politically rugged individualists and have no problem bucking national trends and the extremes.
Our concerns unique to our state—water, a nationally competitive economy, two growing metropolitan areas that are competing with rural resources, and the second largest percentage of public and Native American lands in the nation that host the most wildlife of asny inland state – attract new Arizonans at a breathtaking rate. Senator Sinema is proving to understand, like other maverick senators before her, that she is best positioned, philosophically, intellectually, and politically by maintaining her independent spirit, deliberative nature and watching out for the average Arizonan—not the hysterically politically involved, Democrat, Independent, Republican or Washington D.C.-centered special interest.
Kurt Davis is a founding partner for FirstStrategic. Davis leads the firm’s strategic public policy development for non-profit clients, all federal legislative activities, and rural Arizona issues.