Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, 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 J. Powers

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 focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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