Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Sinema Touts Bipartisanship: Is It Really a Good Strategy for Democrats? (video)

Arizona's Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema (at left in matching black and red) are members of the United Solutions Caucus.

Arizona’s Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema (at left in matching black and red) are members of the bipartisan United Solutions Caucus.

Bipartisanship is a popular buzz word in some political circles. Republicans use the call for “bipartisan solutions” to strong-arm Democrats into voting for bad ideas (like increased militarization and drone surveillance on the border in exchange for a long and complicated path to citizenship).

Democrats tout the quest for bipartisanship as code for “I’m a Democrat who votes with Republicans when it’s politically expedient.”

When the vast majority of American voters want higher taxes on the 1%, universal background checks, bans on assault weapons, immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, good jobs, relief from crushing student and credit card debt, safe roads and bridges, regulatory controls on Wall Street, safe guards on Social Security, legalization of marijuana, and the right to vote, Congress devolves into inaction and gamesmanship.

When real action is needed, but no action is taken, the “bipartisan solutions” rallying cry is revealed as a sham. The threatened filibuster that stopped the universal background check bill is the quintessential example of something that 90% of Americans wanted, but 40 men stopped.

Is bipartisanship a good strategy or just a trap to get Democrats to “punt on the first down”?

In her speech to the State Committee of the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP), Freshman Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema strongly promoted bipartisanship and told precinct committee members and ADP officers about the caucus that she “organized”– the bipartisan United Solutions Caucus. (Arizona Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is also a member.)

The United Solutions Caucus is made up of Democrats and Republicans who “meet weekly to find shared solutions to our nation’s problems,” Sinema told the Arizona Democrats. Caucus members “put partisanship aside and solve problems.”

If you watch the votes that Sinema, Kirkpatrick, and fellow Congressman Ron Barber make, “bipartisan” means often voting with the Republicans. Last week all three voted to give the Pentagon $640 billion dollars more than the military asked for. All three of them voted against the Back to Work Budget. Is that fiscally responsible in tight budget times? No! In committee, Sinema voted to relax regulatory controls on Wall Street and allow some types of Wall Street trades to be exempt from regulation. Kirkpatrick and Barber are among the Democrats most like to vote Republican.

Perhaps, Sinema, Kirkpatrick, and Barber are fence-sitters because they won their Congressional races with the lowest percentages in Arizona– 48.7%, 48.8%, and 50.4%, respectively. The conventional wisdom is that since these three are in swing districts they have to act like Republicans (at least some of the time) to win re-election. Unfortunately, when Democratic candidates vote like Republicans, they lose support from the Democratic donors and the foot soldiers who helped them win the offices in the first place. When the choice is Republican vs an uninspiring and not-to-be-counted-on Republican-lite “Democrat”, the voter response is: “Phhht…Who cares?” In 2010, when Republicans took over the House of Representatives in the Tea Party revolt, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was one of the few Blue Dog Democrats to win re-election. (It was a squeaker, and some of the credit for Giffords’ win goes to the Libertarian spoiler candidate.)

Important votes are coming up on cuts to food stamps, on increases in the interest rates on student loans, and on immigration reform, will these three stand as strong Democrats on these issues? All we can do is hope.

P.S. In the above video Sinema clearly states that she organized the United Solutions Caucus. Oops… a bit of stretch? On the United Solutions Flickr site and its website, it says this about the group’s founder:

The United Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group of freshman Congressman Patrick E. Murphy organized with co-chair Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-OH) who are dedicated to finding common ground and addressing the nation’s fiscal issues with bipartisan, long-term solutions. [Oops.]

6 comments on “Sinema Touts Bipartisanship: Is It Really a Good Strategy for Democrats? (video)

  1. PhilPerspective
    June 17, 2013

    The United Solutions Caucus is made up of Democrats and Republicans who “meet weekly to find shared solutions to our nation’s problems,” …

    Isn’t this the same caucus that counts terrorist sympathizer, and one of the dumbest members of Congress, Steve Stockman as a member?


    • p2hannley
      June 17, 2013

      Good question, but it doesn’t look as if he is on the list (linked above to the word “bipartisan” in paragraph 6).


  2. James Hannley
    June 18, 2013

    Kirsten are you so very proud to have founded a caucus that somebody else actually founded? Where I come from (Tucson) that’s what’s known as a “lie”. What’s more, Pam has you nailed with more than the polka dots on your dress. You are so obviously a poseur and Unashamed opportunist that you deny the class conflict and decry “politics” rather than the strong arm of the 1% continuing to cultivate the oyster that is theirs, namely the U.S.A. We don’t need your collaboration with the 1% and their agent, the GOP. Sayonara, baby!


    • p2hannley
      June 18, 2013

      It is sad to see a former Ralph Nader supporter voting for Wall Street deregulation. Hopefully, if enough people call her out, she will rediscover her roots, which are more progressive than her current voting pattern is.


  3. Pingback: Obama Opposes Food Stamp Cuts, Threatens Veto of Farm Bill | Tucson Progressive

  4. Pingback: MoveOn Members Blast Blue Dogs Sinema & Kirkpatirck for Obamacare Vote (video) | Tucson Progressive

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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