There are many ways to create a headline and push a message if you are in the political arena. Most of the first-ranked names on both sides of the aisle have a team of media consultants who drive a theme, craft a message, and then sell it. Only the pols who have some over-driving need to roll over anything in their way take matters onto the unseemly paths.
That happened twice this week. President Biden was the recipient of both occurrences. It looked bad because it was bad. Both for the leader of our nation, but also for two politicos that need strong support if they are to prevail in their next elections.
In a publicity stunt of the most rank kind, ‘Democratic’ Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, took to the chamber’s floor before President Biden had the opportunity to address the caucus. She wanted to make a fast headline of her strong desire to be a major roadblock to the national work required to address voting reforms.
It was truly ‘in your face’ politics. Sinema’s stand was not a surprise, as we knew she was very much opposed to ending the filibuster. But she delivered her ‘nothing new here but this stick in the president’s eye’ less than 45 minutes before Biden arrived at the Democratic luncheon. He wanted to prod all 50 members to support changing Senate rules, allowing for a carve-out to allow voting rights legislation to pass.
Earlier in the week many thought it most low-brow when Stacey Abrams created headlines by being a no-show when Biden traveled to Georgia for a voting-rights speech. It was an odd spectacle of its own kind since she needs to have all hands-on deck if she is to marshal forward with a race for the statehouse. She lost her first attempt by about 55,000 votes in 2018.
Needless to say, Abrams has a huge national base of support, a truly first-rate fundraising operation, and a message that is pointed to the needs of Georgia’s residents. In other words, she has room for being courteous and polite when the president flies in on Air Force One.
Not for the first time do I comment on a politician asking voters to have faith in their leadership abilities but then show weakness by making a less-than-artful political move. I admonished Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial Mary Burke for skipping the chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama. I took Senator Russ Feingold to task for not standing alongside Obama at a Labor Day rally in our state. I believe that not being on stage with your president should dismay all about the state of our politics.
I am perplexed with Democrats who cannot stand up and take credit for the good things that have been done or refuse to stand alongside those who brought them to the dance. One of the main problems for Democrats as the mid-term elections approach is the lack of spine and verve in strutting their accomplishments. While Democrats limp along without cheering for what was gained, Republicans will be more than happy in the midterms to spin the past two years into a frightful liberal nightmare.
Such behavior, from Abrams to Sinema, is just not a very classy thing to witness. Regardless of politics, you should always stand with your friends. There comes a time when you say, whatever the impact, I will not turn my back on the leader of the free world. The president is coming to my state, and by God, I will be there with him. Or the president is coming to my legislative chamber and I will offer all due respect.
That may seem corny and outdated in this era of slash and burn politics, but it is a standard I still think has merit. It is a value I think many of my fellow citizens share, even in this jaded time in which we live.