While the New York Times attempts to augur Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's demands as she and fellow moderate Dem Sen. Joe Manchin continue their battle with progressive House Dems that has left President Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda - an infrastructure bill and accompanying expansion of the social safety net - the backlash against her "obstructionist" stance has just prompted five veterans who once served on her semi-formal "advisory council" to resign in protest.
In recent weeks, Sinema has been hounded by progressive activists who tried - but failed - to harangue her as she ran the Boston Marathon. Now, that pressure is likely about to be turned up to '11' as the former advisors accused her of "hanging your own constituents out to dry" in a letter that was just leaked to the New York Times.
As President Biden struggles to quell the partisan battle over his agenda and sell it to the American people (as warnings about the potential for stoking further inflationary pressures multiply), progressives are getting increasingly desperate, and ramping up their attacks on Dem moderates who are in the middle of a pitched battle with progressives.
According to the NYT, which "obtained" (ie was given) a copy of the letter, the former Sinema aides accuse her of placing the needs of wealthy donors ahead of the needs of her constituents.
In a scathing letter obtained by The New York Times, the veterans took Ms. Sinema to task for her refusal to abolish the filibuster and her opposition to parts of Mr. Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social safety net, education, climate and tax plan, stances that have stymied some of his top priorities.
"You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people," the veterans wrote in a letter that is to be featured in a new advertisement by Common Defense, a progressive veterans’ activist group that has targeted Ms. Sinema.
"We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming," they added.
Moreover, the NYT said the letter is the latest in a "crescendo of anger" directed at Sinema over her 'perplexing' tactics during the hectic negotiations, which have most recently centered on the tax hikes Dems' have promised to help offset the cost of both Biden's "bipartisan" infrastructure plan as well as his plan to expand the social safety net. Sinema is a key swing vote in this battle.
But it's not just Sinema's stance on the tax hikes that's got the far-left so hot and bothered. There's a groundswell of anger over her opposition to scrapping the filibuster, which progressive Dems want to eliminate to help push through a version of the Biden agenda that they effectively dictate.
The resignations add to a crescendo of anger and pressure that Ms. Sinema is facing from erstwhile allies who say they are perplexed by her recent tactics. She has resisted major elements of Democrats’ sprawling social safety net and climate bill, including raising individual income and corporate tax rates to pay for it. Because Democrats control the Senate with only 50 votes, even one defection could spell defeat for the measure, giving Ms. Sinema outsize influence to determine what can be included.
Ms. Sinema has also steadfastly opposed changing the Senate’s filibuster rule, which effectively requires 60 votes to move forward on any major bill, even as Republicans have used it as a procedural weapon to block voting rights legislation and a bill to avert a federal debt default.
Progressive activists have stepped up their campaign to push Democrats to do away with the rule so they can muscle Mr. Biden’s priorities through Congress on simple majority votes, and they have trained their anger on Ms. Sinema and another centrist holdout, Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia.
One progressive activist quoted by the NYT said that Dems worked "so hard" to get Sinema elected, and now they feel betrayed.
"Democrats were out desperately trying to help her win the seat, and now we feel like, what was it for?” Sylvia González Andersh, one of the veterans who signed the letter, said in an interview. "Nobody knows what she is thinking because she doesn’t tell anybody anything. It’s very sad to think that someone who you worked for that hard to get elected is not even willing to listen."
Well, there is one person who knows - Nancy Pelosi. But apparently she won't tell.
Despite campaigning on raising tax rates on corporations and high earners, Dems may finance the bill without it given Sinema's position, something Pelosi said was an option. Pelosi says that Dems are exploring options.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 21, 2021
"Her position is well known," Pelosi said to me of Sinema pic.twitter.com/70JymRP8Kl
As time goes on, pressure on Sinema is only going to get worse. How much longer until she gets "Tucker Carlson'd" - or worse - by Antifa?