Given that she’s spent most of the race pretending to be a centrist, you’d think this would be an easy walkback. Nuh uh.
Kyrsten Sinema, asked twice, does not say she regrets, what she calls, her “off hand” remark in a 2003 radio intvw about being “fine” with an individual joining the Taliban. pic.twitter.com/AUGmONZZuB
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) November 5, 2018
“Now you would say, maybe we do owe something to the world, as long as it’s nice and sweet and peaceful and what you want to do,” Hancock said to Sinema on his show, “Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock.”
“Well it’s not so much a candy cane kind of theory as you’re making it stand out,” Sinema responded. “But I do think that those of us who are privileged to have more do owe something to others.”
“By force?” Hancock asked. “By me, as an individual, if I want to go fight in the Taliban army, I go over there and I’m fighting for the Taliban. I’m saying that’s a personal decision…”
“Fine,” Sinema interjected, “I don’t care if you want to do that, go ahead.”
Offhand I can’t think of a sharper turn in Senate representation than if Arizona went from super-hawk John McCain to Kyrsten “I don’t care if you want to join the Taliban” Sinema in the span of three months. (Yes, yes, I know that she’s running for Flake’s seat, not McCain’s. The point stands.) Goldwater Country’s not really going to do this, are they?
You may remember that the Green Party candidate, Angela Green, is now out of the race and has endorsed Sinema, leaving the state of her potentially important two-percent share here unclear. Has that two percent already been banked via pre-withdrawal early votes? Is some of it still in the pipeline for tomorrow, via far-left progressives who somehow missed the memo that Green had dropped out (or who got the memo but decided to stick with a Green Party protest vote anyway)? Or is most of that two percent headed towards Sinema now to put her over the top?
The Green Party factor here makes me wonder if that’s why Sinema stubbornly refused to walk back the old Taliban comment. She’s had to shed some of her progressive cred, however disingenuously, to stay competitive with McSally in a reddish state like AZ. With Green suddenly out, though, left-wingers may be taking a fresh look at the race — and scrutinizing Sinema’s anti-war stance extra closely, as that’s something they’re confident she was 100 percent right about at a time in 2003 when relatively few Americans agreed. If she starts walking back anti-war positions (or even anti-war rhetorical excesses) in order to win, they may take that as a sign that she’s simply too weak of a liberal to deserve their votes. So here she is standing firm, probably believing that anyone who’s voting against her for the Taliban comment isn’t coming back in the fold if she cynically retreats now, literally hours before Election Day. Better to stick to your guns and signal that you have some backbone, even in service to a garbage opinion, than to waver.