“I spit out like a sewer hole yet still receive your kiss how can I measure up to anyone now after such a love as this?”– Pete Townsend
Today’s piece is all about intention and given that topic, we really should start at the very beginning. The people that read this regularly know I usually throw in a song lyric to start us off. Most of the time it is a gimmick to get the ball rolling. English teachers call it a hook. Most of the time it is related to the topic, but sometimes it’s just a cool line to start everything off with.
The Who formed an interesting partnership where Pete Townsend played lead guitar and wrote most of the songs. Roger Daltrey was the lead singer and really took those creations and made them his own. The interesting story behind the particular song above is that Townsend intended for the song to be a deeper ballad about the nature of God, but when Daltrey read it, he obviously interpreted it another way.
The song was one of their biggest hits, so it’s hard to say if it would have been as successful if Townsend’s interpretation had been the one they went with. Most partnerships seem to work that way. If it’s a successful partnership then both parties manage to smooth out the other’s edges and vice versa.
However, I’m reminded of something Jon Stewart said in an interview with Rachel Maddow. He talked about a special he had run where he put himself out there as a comic and entertainer. A number of critics apparently didn’t like the event or at least misunderstood the meaning behind it. Stewart said that we can only control our intention. Others will interpret what comes out however they want.
This brings us to the sordid tale of Krysten Sinema. Like Townsend and Stewart before her, she can only control her intention. She can’t control how her words and actions are taken by others. The problem is that she is the only one who knows her intention and she is taking specific aims to keep it that way. Even when asked what she is thinking, she declines to say anything.
This all goes back to the Democrats’ razor thin margin of control in the U.S. Senate. The so-called Biden agenda depends on all 50 senators and Kamala Harris voting together. It depends on the Democrats agreeing to either change or eliminate the filibuster rule. Sinema has been sitting with Joe Mancin and blocking that from happening.
It’s not always a bad tactic to take. For his part, Mancin has said that he can use his reticence to negotiate with Republicans to get more moderate versions of bills passed. It allows him to be a power broker and he can go back to a more conservative electorate in his home state and tout how he helped craft a more reasonable version of the bills that end up passing.
Of course, whether Republicans will negotiate in good faith or not is completely debatable. Most of the Democratic senators have given up on this and rightfully so. Mancin at least has done us the solid of giving us an idea of why he is doing what he’s doing. He has a more conservative constituency at home. His political future depends on people viewing him as a conservative Democrat.
Sinema has not made such a declaration. She has made no declaration. Her state is trending blue and she has one more election cycle before she goes up again. So, we don’t know what she is thinking. Even on the bills themselves, she offers no clarification of what she would support. She doesn’t want as much to be spent. Great. What does she want? We still do not know.
Student activists confronted her this weekend outside her classroom. They wanted her to hear their stories and understand their point of view. Sinema ran to the bathroom. Literally. Her predecessor (Jeff Flake) encountered a similar situation during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. A woman who had been a sexual assault survivor confronted him with her story. He stood there and listened and ended up being the deciding vote that moved an FBI investigation forward. It was a sham of an investigation, but we can ignore all of that for now.
Again, we can only control our intention. Yet, we have to ask ourselves how our actions are likely to alter the understanding of our intention. Running to the bathroom signals that you don’t want to engage on the issue. You aren’t interested in other people’s perspectives and you really don’t want to defend your own. Either that or you have a horrible case of diarrhea.
Whatever the case, Sinema is not engaging and she has not communicated what she wants. The natural conclusion is that she is not interested in any particular outcome other than the one that gives her power. As long as she withholds her vote she has the power. She has the power until she comes up for reelection. Something tells me the good people of Arizona will be flushing her down the toilet.