They left her out on a key deal. Now Kyrsten Sinema's silence has Democrats in a panic

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., center, may be the only Democrat who can get anything done. And Democrats didn't think to include her in negotiations?
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., center, may be the only Democrat who can get anything done. And Democrats didn't think to include her in negotiations?

On Thursday Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., announced they had struck a $433 billion deal to attack climate change and soaring inflation.

Then the boys took a victory lap to the wild cheers of major media.

In newspaper interviews and Sunday shows they reveled in the impending triumph they were about to deliver for their standard bearer, President Joe Biden.

Schumer said he wanted a vote as early as this week.

Missing from victory lane and the grandstand, nor to be found anywhere, was the one person who could actually justify all this popping champagne.

Kyrsten Sinema.

No one thought to talk to Kyrsten Sinema

The boys hadn’t exactly gone out of their way to court her vote.

Going all the way back to February, when CNN asked point-blank if Schumer planned to endorse Sinema in her 2024 reelection bid, the Senate president demurred.

During secret negotiations this month, Schumer and Manchin left Sinema in the dark.

Before she flew home from Washington, Sinema didn’t say a word. But her people did. She was leaving her options open.

The Democrats’ water-boys at the Washington Post intoned with an editorial and slightly menacing headline, “Don’t sink this bill, Sen. Sinema”.

And in Arizona, needing no cue, the yappy attack dog Rep. Ruben Gallego, acting like a 14-year-old with his first Twitter feed, went to work on Sinema in her home state.

“Hi @SenatorSinema this seems like a very heavy decision to make without input from constituents. Since you have some time why not put together a live in-person town hall? I know you are out of practice. Will gladly help.”

The senator's silence is not golden. It's death

Sinema, who holds every card in this particular situation, could have shut him up with a snap of her fingers.

But, really, why bother?

There’s nothing so menacing as silence. Cold. Dead. Silence.

What about Sinema: Will she support Democrats' deal with Manchin?

By Tuesday morning when Sinema had not uttered a word, the panic began to set in.

Democratic anxiety grows over Sinema’s silence,” reported the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill.

“Senate Democrats are growing more anxious over maverick Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-Ariz.) five-day silence on a sweeping proposal to reform the tax code, tackle climate change and reduce the federal deficit.

Democratic lawmakers are privately worried that Sinema’s not happy about being left out of the negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).”

You think?

Manchin told The Hill he hasn’t spoken yet to Sinema. “I’ve called, left a message for her, I might see her on the floor,” he said.

He hoped he might talk to her at Monday evening’s vote on a judicial nominee, but according to The Hill, “Sinema only ducked into the chamber for a few seconds to cast her vote and then abruptly left, leaving colleagues no time to lobby her.”

Sinema's the 1 Democrat who gets things done

Somewhere Sen. Sinema is sitting, sipping sangria and thinking to herself, “These people are so lazy.”

The only Democrat getting anything done in the Biden administration has been Kyrsten Sinema. She was at the critical core of negotiations of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the bipartisan gun safety bill.

Notice the word “bipartisan.”

Sinema actually did the hard work of building coalitions, of delivering Republicans, so her party didn’t need every last Democrat to march in lockstep to pass legislation.

Democratic leadership, holding the most narrow of governing majorities (one vote in the Senate), has tried to jam through some of the biggest spending binges in U.S. history. That means trying to spend trillions of dollars of all Americans’ money on only Democratic initiatives.

When Sinema and Manchin didn’t go along for the ride, the Democrats trained their fury on these two moderate holdouts. That resulted in some of the most vile abuse in memory of an American politician, from expletives on social media to cameras following Sinema into a public restroom. In Arizona, the Democratic Party censured her.

When they need her, they threaten her? Bad move

Now once again her party and the American left want her, need her. And how do they show it? With threats and insults.

“If Sen. Kyrsten Sinema blocks the climate and healthcare bill in order to protect corporations from pay 15% minimum taxes, I will devote my time and platform to supporting her primary opponent in 2024,” tweeted the aging leftist and Star Trek actor George Takei. “And I will ask others here with large followings to join me.”

Ronald Brownstein, a senior editor at The Atlantic, tweeted, “If Sinema, a one-time green party activist, derailed most significant federal climate bill ever while AZ faces mounting impacts of #climate change it would be ‘an incredible repudiation of everything she’s stood for her entire life.’ ”

By refusing to play the scorched earth game of modern Democrats, by reaching across the aisles in a divided America and impressing independents and Republicans, Kyrsten Sinema has options.

At the moment, her option is silence.

And like that distant thunder in the Arizona desert, it roars with menace.

Phil Boas is an editorial columnist at The Arizona Republic. Email him at phil.boas@arizonarepublic.com.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kyrsten Sinema was left out. Now her silence has Democrats in a panic