Long gone are the days of Prada socialism, hearting Ralph Nader, and pagan spiraling for Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.
As noted in a recent Washington Post report, Sinema's attempt to reinvent herself as a centrist, which began before she left the state Legislature, is now complete, as she has been absorbed, along with fellow Democratic Representative from Sand Land Ron Barber, into the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of conservative Ds that is anathema to die-hard lefties.
Check the following from the WaPo piece:
In danger of losing even more clout, the leading Blue Dogs are regrouping and rebuilding. They are adding four members to their ranks this week -- Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), Cheri Bustos (Ill.), Nick J. Rahall II (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) -- and angling to play a key role in bipartisan talks over the next few years in the belief that the polar tension in the Capitol will thaw.
"We're in this for the long haul," Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.), co-chairman of the Blue Dogs, said in an interview, predicting that the Democrats could regain the majority only if they are once again competitive in those rural and Southern districts. "We're the way the Democrats are going to get back into the majority."
Arizona's Ninth Congressional District, which Sinema Represents, is neither rural nor "Southern." That aside, I accept the general premise that conservative Ds can be a means to an end, like obtaining a Democratic majority in the U.S. House.
The BDC's website has the following comments from some old hounds on the new pups:
"When we look back at the political gamesmanship that ultimately shut down the federal government last year, it becomes clear that we need members like Ron, Kyrsten, Nick and Cheri more than ever," said John Barrow (D-GA), Blue Dog co-chair for administration. "As Blue Dogs, we continue to meet regularly with the Republican Tuesday Group to find commonsense solutions that both parties can agree on, and we welcome any Democrat who values this approach to policy-making."
"Being a Blue Dog means you are part of the solution, not part of the problem. Blue Dogs bring commonsense solutions to everyday problems and actually like working with colleagues on the other side of the aisle," said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Blue Dog co-chair for policy. "Our new members know it's time for governing, not gridlock. Congress should follow their lead."
Local libs are not amused, to judge by some of the Facebook comments regarding this news. They want Sinema to be CD 9's version of Congressman Raul Grijalva, minus the facial hair.
I am always befuddled by the anguished response of some lefties when the Democratic firebrand they once trumpeted turns out to be, well, a politician.
In the Third Congressional District, Grijalva has the benefit of an electorate that leans heavily to the D-side. He can afford to be the Bernie Sanders of Baja Arizona, though even Grijalva is not immune to political calculation, as was evidenced by his 2010 flip-flop on the "boycott" of Arizona over Senate Bill 1070.
By contrast, according to a competitiveness chart issued by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, CD 9 just barely skews Dem.
The 2012 election reflected the district the AIRC drew. Sinema's foil was one of the worst Republican candidates imaginable: former Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker.
Sinema scored 121,881 votes to Parker's 111,630. Libertarian Powell Gammill picked up 16,620.
If Gammill had not been in the race, Parker might have won, as there is natural overlap between Republicans and Libertarians. At the very least, Sinema's edge would have been razor thin sans Gammill.
The National Republican Congressional Committee put up ads depicting Sinema as space cadet and using her past leftiness against her. Still, the fact Sinema didn't beat Parker any better than she did is an indicator of where that district sits.
Sinema will have an easier time this year. No one has filed to run against her in the primary, and her Blue Dog label will make her tougher to attack from the right. Also, the Rs will not be able to recycle those ads depicting her as "far out."
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She will face the ire of lefties, some of whom may not want to vote for her. But between Sinema and a Republican, most Ds will go with Sinema.
Purists like to say that they are tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. My reply is always that the lesser of two evils is, by definition, less evil.
So you want some super lefty riding on a white horse as your representative? Find one that can win in CD 9 without moving to the center, then we can talk.