The Democratic Party is in a rare position these days: It controls both the Senate and the House, to say nothing of the presidency. And yet they can’t get as much as they’d like, in part because Republicans keep shooting down debate thanks to an old tool: the filibuster. And they can’t get rid of that thanks primarily to two Democratic senators who oppose its elimination: Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Many have pleaded with them to reconsider but so far to no avail. Now we know Sinema’s reasons why she’s staying resolute, but people aren’t buying it.
On Monday, The Washington Post published an editorial from the sometimes flamboyant congresswoman, where she got to offer her defense of an opinion some find offensive.
“The best way to achieve durable, lasting results? Bipartisan cooperation,” Sinema writes, referring to the current congressional gridlock, where Republican leaders are outspoken about not cooperating. Her argument? That if you destroy the filibuster now, the bills Democrats are finally able to pass may one day be undone when they cede power to the other side:
To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to pass the For the People Act (voting-rights legislation I support and have co-sponsored), I would ask: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?
But many called her argument out, saying it effectively told Democrats to never do anything bold lest it be voted out later. (In related news, the Affordable Care Act — one of Obama’s major accomplishments — was recently upheld for the umpteenth time by a Republican-heavy Supreme Court.) In other words, the reviews were not kind:
In which senator kyrsten sinema argues democrats shouldn’t pass things because Republicans might rescind them. Oy vey. pic.twitter.com/46BIV1Dk4b
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) June 22, 2021
sinema’s argument amounts to an argument against the exercise of power at all since, if you use it, what happens when the other side does too?
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) June 22, 2021
Sinema says she’s against passing things that future Congresses might change or overturn. So… do nothing? Bipartisanship is no guarantee of longevity, let alone good results! https://t.co/KhYX6KOGkw
— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) June 22, 2021
Sinema’s fundamental argument is that the gridlocked status quo is preferable to an environment where both parties can legislate when they’re in the majority and stand or fall on the results of their work in subsequent elections. https://t.co/im0uZY1yCu pic.twitter.com/HRhTfe9m2e
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) June 22, 2021
Filibuster reform doesn’t have to be all or nothing, @SenatorSinema. Making excuses for the status quo is lazy. Find a solution that doesn’t depend on good faith from people who don’t have it — and never will.https://t.co/cHu1PQiuNp
— shauna (@goldengateblond) June 22, 2021
Some pointed out that the backfire of which she speaks may come because of her.
Sinema’s position will allow Republicans to filibuster America into a debt-limit induced financial crisis for which Democrats will be blamed, or to deny blue states emergency disaster relief when earthquakes or fires or hurricanes ravage them. https://t.co/2GnuuhWfKm
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) June 22, 2021
Some accused Sinema of effectively siding with the minority party over the majority of voters.
Short version: @SenatorSinema believes the rights of the Senate minority are more important than the voting rights of millions of Americans https://t.co/BgmdZNvQF9
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) June 22, 2021
Some pointed out that she doesn’t seem to get that the filibuster is preventing them from enacting helpful legislation.
I’m three paragraphs into this Sinema op-ed and I’m gonna lose it.
She knows we’re focused on the filibuster because IT’S BLOCKING US FROM ADDRESSING THOSE ISSUES. pic.twitter.com/Z7X2kJTsNL
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) June 22, 2021
Others reminded her that the restrictive voting laws currently being enacted all over the country by the GOP puts her own job at risk, too.
There are many many moral & just reasons to kill the filibuster, but I don’t get why Sinema hasn’t internalized the most self-centered one: Under the new laws Republicans have unilaterally passed in Arizona, it will be exponentially harder for her to win re-election!
— Amanda Litman (@amandalitman) June 22, 2021
Some thought it was just dumb.
maybe the dumbest article I have ever seen (ghostwritten) by a senator, and that is saying *a LOT* https://t.co/kiDM4FDmgJ
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) June 22, 2021
Even her friends didn’t like it.
Why, @SenatorSinema, my old friend, are you self-destructing? https://t.co/A75hNLPlwr
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) June 22, 2021
While those who haven’t liked her didn’t exactly change her mind.
Kyrsten Sinema is a disgrace and a huge disappointment.https://t.co/qcxYAwf8yj
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) June 22, 2021
In her piece, Sinema brags about being an “independent,” but it’s becoming increasingly clear that she’s so independent that no one actually agrees with her. Except for that one guy.