Two days ago in Atlanta, Joe Biden laid out what’s at stake in the fight to protect voting rights:
So, I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered?
At consequential moments in history, they present a choice: Do you want to be the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?
Here’s one elected official’s answer:
Sinema Delivers Senate Floor Remarks on Voting Rights, America's Divisions, and the U.S. Senate https://t.co/72zAFWDPjO
— Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) January 13, 2022
Sinema chose Wallace over King, Connor over Lewis, and Davis over Lincoln.
I don’t claim to have any special insight, and I admit I often have crappy political instincts. But the president and all party leaders have been shouting the danger Republican-led voter suppression and election subversion pose to democracy from the rooftop, and rightly so.
Now they need to hold the vote on a filibuster carveout to protect voting rights, which will fall short by at least one or more likely two Democratic votes and 100% of Republican votes. And then they need to throw the saboteurs off that same rooftop — Republican and Democratic saboteurs alike.
Otherwise, “Democrats” will take collective blame for failing to protect voting rights. That may happen anyway, but IMO, party leaders, including the president just shivved by Sinema, need to treat “nay” voters like people who chose Wallace, Connor and Davis. The consequences of that nay vote have to be in line with the scale of the betrayal and equal to the magnitude of the danger the saboteurs are keeping us in.
I don’t know exactly what that would look like. But absent a serious and perhaps unprecedented response to this unprecedented betrayal, the words spoken about the danger we’re in will ring hollow.
As a senator who famously got along with Republicans back in the day, Biden used to say that while he might question a colleague’s actions, he never questioned their motives. Well, maybe it’s time to question their motives. I don’t think this is a situation where you can disagree without being disagreeable.