Like the late Arizona Senator John McCain (R), Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema is seen as a centrist “maverick.” Yet Sinema’s recent, dramatic thumbs-down voting gesture on the minimum wage was excoriated by The New York Times on Monday as having “stir[red] ire,” and, in the eyes of leftists, “callously cast[ed] her to voter to deny workers higher pay.”
Obviously, she wasn’t celebrated the way McCain’s similar thumbs-down “no” vote helped preserve ObamaCare in 2017.
The Times painted the motion with hostility in its lead National story, taking the side of the angry far-left fringe in “The Gesture By a Senator That Enraged Progressives — Sinema’s Thumbs-Down On Wage Vote Stirs Ire”:
When Senator Kyrsten Sinema stepped onto the Senate floor on Friday to vote against including a minimum-wage increase in President Biden’s pandemic aid bill, she knew she would draw the ire of progressives in her own party.
Ms. Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, did it anyway, punctuating her defection from the party line with a thumbs-down.
Senators frequently use the motion to register their opposition to legislation, and she was one of eight on the Democratic side to vote against the wage increase. But Ms. Sinema’s gesture drew a singularly scathing response from liberal lawmakers and activists, who accused her of callously casting her vote to deny workers higher pay.
Edmondson somehow managed to skip McCain’s similarly memorable gesture from less than four years ago: “Her refusal to embrace progressive priorities like fast-tracking the minimum-wage increase as part of the stimulus bill, along with her opposition to changing Senate rules to kill the filibuster — which effectively requires 60 votes to advance any major legislation — has made her a target for liberals across the country.”
The paper unwittingly revealed the vengeful insularity of left-wing ideology. Admit Trump did good things, and you are automatically suspect:
But her history as a liberal has only sharpened the sense of resentment she inspires among progressive activists.
“It’s just beyond my understanding that someone could go from a Code Pink activist to saying, ‘Yeah, there are some good things Trump did and I vote with him sometimes,’” said Jenise Porter, an activist in Arizona who helped draft a resolution censuring Ms. Sinema in 2019 for failing to vote along party lines.
To her credit, Edmondson concluded with positive anecdotes about Sinema’s personal grace (click “expand”):
Matt Salmon, a conservative former Republican congressman from Arizona, said his relationship with Ms. Sinema reached an inflection point during a particularly fraught period of his political career, after he initially expressed reluctance to endorse marriage equality after his son came out as gay.
When a local reporter asked Ms. Sinema, who is bisexual and had long lobbied for marriage equality, for her reaction, Mr. Salmon braced himself for the worst. Instead, he recalled, Ms. Sinema responded that she knew how much he loved his son.
“From that moment on, I probably would have walked on hot coals for her,” Mr. Salmon said, growing emotional. “She had an opportunity to slice my throat and let me bleed to death politically.”
So what did the Times think when Sen. McCain made the same thumbs-down gesture to scuttle the Republican attempt to abolish Obamacare in July 2017? They loved it: “McCain Provides a Dramatic Finale on Health Care: Thumb Down.”
In that piece, longtime congressional correspondent Carl Hulse gushed:
But early Friday morning, Mr. McCain, showing little sign of his grave illness, strode onto the Senate floor as the vote was being taken to repeal it, and shocked many of his colleagues and the nation. He sought recognition from the vote counters, turned his thumb down, and said “no.” There were gasps and some applause.
He had just derailed the fevered Republican effort to undo the Obama-era health care law.
It was a stunning moment that will be long remembered in the Senate, a flash of the maverick John McCain, unafraid of going his own way despite the pleas of his fellow Republicans.