Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. McSally vs. Sinema: (Southwest) Desert Storm

 

Well, maybe a brief shower, with occasional distant thunder. Monday evening, two Arizona congresswomen, Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema, squared off in a debate. This was the only debate in the campaign. Indeed, both McSally and Sinema refused to debate their primary opponents. The debate will likely do little to move the electorate.

Debate Mechanics

The debate was held in the PBS studio, at the Cronkite School of Journalism, on the downtown Arizona State University campus. There was no live audience. Each candidate stood behind a translucent lectern, with notes on the lectern. Each candidate was asked the same questions in this manner: 90-second answer, 45-second response, followed by up to two minutes of discussion on the topic. The closing comments were one minute apiece. Total time, from administrative introduction through closing statements, was 59 minutes, 42 seconds.

Moderator Bias

The two moderators were from PBS and the Arizona Republic. No conservative was involved in the selection of questions, let alone the questioning. However, the moderators know the Arizona electorate and had to play it down the center. They played it down the center-left. The moderators pressed Sinema on whether she would have voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. She evaded until finally, she slipped in a “No.” On the other hand, they ended the questions with one on climate change. They tried spinning it for Arizonans as “water shortages.”

Sinema was happy to give a poll-tested answer that gave away none of the craziness of the DNC and the California Democrats. McSally was having none of it, chastising the moderators for the bias in questions not asked: “In Arizona, we have to talk about the military, we have to talk about our veterans.” That was what she then did. The moderators played this off by not having any responses, instead transitioning straight into the candidates’ closing statements.

Candidates’ Performance

McSally and Sinema brought their A-games to their only debate. Neither made a serious mistake. Each had their own style, their own plan, and stuck to it.

https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/columbiamissourian.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/65/065746bc-44e7-5d03-b888-734360d9557c/5bc4c8bccbc1e.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C764Congresswoman Sinema needed to come across as moderate, as Arizonan, not as the crazies in California or Washington DC. She did so, from her physical appearance, to her words, to her gestures. She also needed to keep questions about Congresswoman McSally’s political trustworthiness alive. Sinema alternately raised questions about McSally changing positions, and claimed McSally was a rubber stamp for President Trump and Republican extremists who did not have Arizonans’ interests at heart. This was a smart tactic, for reasons laid out in a letter to Congresswoman McSally last week.

https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/tulsaworld.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/26/426e6ea0-cc06-5793-949e-82606a5feef9/5bc4c898136b1.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C951Congresswoman McSally needed to shake Sinema’s carefully crafted image, while she apparently calculated she needed to straddle the Republican Establishment – MAGA voters divide. She repeatedly called Sinema’s claims “lies.” McSally rolled out Sinema’s pink tutu, the trash talking in Texas, sex crime legislation comments, and repeated votes with Pelosi. Her strongest charge, which Sinema did not answer, was that comments, about it being acceptable to go fight for the Taliban, supported treason. On that point, McSally demanded Sinema apologize, to all the Americans who have fought in Afghanistan. Sinema completely evaded the issue, with the assistance of the moderators.

Summary

This one debate is unlikely to move the electorate, which both candidates still must do, to win over the decisive, undeclared voters. The media must see danger for their candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, as they are expressing outrage about McSally raising the “treason” charge. Given the deep feelings still against “Hanoi Jane,” it cannot be good for the Democrats to have a candidate who did not categorically denounce the Taliban.

There are 18 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member

    How military is AZ?

    • #1
    • October 16, 2018, at 2:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. Vectorman Member

    Clifford A. Brown: The moderators pressed Sinema on whether she would have voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. She evaded, until finally she slipped in a “No.”

    Dumb answer. She probably has the Kelli Ward voters right now, but won’t have them 6 years from now at primary time if she still thinks this way. And she could have answered “I’m with Susan Collins on this one.”

    • #2
    • October 16, 2018, at 3:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Arahant (View Comment):

    How military is AZ?

    Davis Monthan AFB is a multi-star headquarters, and home to A-10s, plus the “Bone Yard”

    Luke AFB has F-35s

    The Goldwater Bombing Range

    Yuma Proving Ground

    Marine Corps Air Station Yuma

    Air Guard aerial refueling tanker unit

    Fort Huachuca, home of Military Intelligence and some strategic Signal stuff

    Big contractors, for U.S. and foreign military sales: Raytheon, Boeing, Honeywell, General Dynamics

    We are also a huge retirement destination, so chasing veterans’ dollars

    • #3
    • October 16, 2018, at 3:47 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    We are also a huge retirement destination, so chasing veterans’ dollars

    Thus the Taliban comment in Texas could have severe reverberations.

    • #4
    • October 16, 2018, at 4:01 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #5
    • October 16, 2018, at 4:45 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Lois Lane Coolidge

    I don’t know a lot about AZ politics, so thanks for a great rundown/quick summary of the debate. It’s delivered like copy from a journalist who is really playing it down the center, which makes it more helpful.

    • #6
    • October 16, 2018, at 5:15 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Hard to see the media trying to maintain the outrage meter against McSally for three weeks over hitting Sinema about her Taliban remark, because to do so would keep the Taliban remark front and center in the news up to Election Day. And while they might be able to remain outrageously outraged for that time if the comment involved Muslims in general, even radical ones, trying to make a lack of concern over the Taliban or the idea of people joining it into some type of mainstream position — since the Taliban is expressly involved in killing non-believers — isn’t likely to get too many takers among the swing voters who’ll decide Arizona’s election.

    • #7
    • October 16, 2018, at 6:08 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: The moderators pressed Sinema on whether she would have voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. She evaded, until finally she slipped in a “No.”

    Dumb answer. She probably has the Kelli Ward voters right now, but won’t have them 6 years from now at primary time. I hope she gets kicked out then. And she could have answered “I’m with Susan Collins on this one.”

    Sinema is the Democrat. McSally is the Republican.

    • #8
    • October 16, 2018, at 6:21 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. PHCheese Member

    What no doubt blond jokes?

    • #9
    • October 16, 2018, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Vectorman Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: The moderators pressed Sinema on whether she would have voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. She evaded, until finally she slipped in a “No.”

    Dumb answer. She probably has the Kelli Ward voters right now, but won’t have them 6 years from now at primary time. I hope she gets kicked out then. And she could have answered “I’m with Susan Collins on this one.”

    Sinema is the Democrat. McSally is the Republican.

    I changed my answer slightly since then (was up at 5:30 this morning) to

    She probably has the Kelli Ward voters right now, but won’t have them 6 years from now at primary time if she still thinks this way.

    McSally is a middle of the road Republican trying to play it safe. Let’s hope she grows the correct way in Washington rather than the two previous Republican Arizona Senators.

    • #10
    • October 16, 2018, at 7:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Doug Watt Moderator

    McSally is not a publicity seeker, or a bomb thrower in the same way that Flake and McCain have been. She may have some disagreements with President Trump, but she doesn’t run to the nearest camera, or podium to express them. She is strong on Border issues, and supports President Trump on those issues. She has a consistent voting record in the House that supports President Trump. DACA may be a point of disagreement, but President Trump has also offered compromises as well as on DACA.

    Sinema is doing her best to try and hide her Progressive inclinations. She is anti-Israel, and has supported the PLO, and CAIR as well. She also has the support of the Communist Party in Arizona, and has placed her name on May Day, and Cinco de Mayo greetings by the Communist Party in Arizona. They see her as supporting their social policies. Most people are aware of her public disdain of Arizona voters, especially when she gives speeches outside of Arizona. Her radical past is much deeper than those portrayed in the videos that are leaking into the public view.

    I suppose Progressive is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to the media in Arizona, but truth be told there is the same problem in Arizona media that afflicts the rest of the nation. Right now polls suggest McSally has a six point lead over Sinema. The margin of error is usually three points so it’s close. In the last primary Republican voters had a larger turnout than Democrat voters I’m hoping that holds true for the November election.

    • #11
    • October 16, 2018, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Bill Nelson Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    We are also a huge retirement destination, so chasing veterans’ dollars

    Thus the Taliban comment in Texas could have severe reverberations.

    Not getting mainstream media attention here.

    The media is clearly in Sinema’s corner. Not quite rooting, but close.

     

    • #12
    • October 16, 2018, at 1:51 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. JustmeinAZ Member

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    We are also a huge retirement destination, so chasing veterans’ dollars

    Thus the Taliban comment in Texas could have severe reverberations.

    Not getting mainstream media attention here.

    The media is clearly in Sinema’s corner. Not quite rooting, but close.

    I didn’t watch the debate, only saw a clip on the news. But when McSally started to bring up Sinema’s statement regarding Americans joining the Taliban the moderator almost stuttered in his haste to interrupt her and tell her time was up. It was so obvious.

     

     

    • #13
    • October 16, 2018, at 2:49 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Both women put on a clinic for women speaking in public, under stress. Neither went up in register, becoming shrill.

    • #14
    • October 16, 2018, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. SwampyMillenial Coolidge

    I was disappointed by McSally’s inability to more effectively bring up the endless list of examples of Sinema trash talking her own state. No mention of the “meth lab of democracy” comment. McSally barely got in the Taliban jab in the closing moments. You say that McSally brought up Sinema’s trash talking but I must have missed it. Undoubtedly, part of this is because of the moderators’ biased selection of questions. But McSally should have known that would happen. Hopefully McSally’s showing was enough!

    • #15
    • October 16, 2018, at 9:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    SwampyMillenial (View Comment):

    I was disappointed by McSally’s inability to more effectively bring up the endless list of examples of Sinema trash talking her own state. No mention of the “meth lab of democracy” comment. McSally barely got in the Taliban jab in the closing moments. You say that McSally brought up Sinema’s trash talking but I must have missed it. Undoubtedly, part of this is because of the moderators’ biased selection of questions. But McSally should have known that would happen. Hopefully McSally’s showing was enough!

    McSally had to spend a lot of her time refuting Sinema’s, and her “independent” groups’, multimillion dollar media blitz. I do not believe that this very short, one time, debate will significantly shift the electorate. It is a very limited piece of the campaign, as a result of their failure to press for more. I note that Ted Cruz pushed for three, one of which got preempted by the original Kavanaugh vote date, which turned out to be a wasted opportunity — thanks to Jeff Flake. 

     

    • #16
    • October 16, 2018, at 11:25 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Leigh Member

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: The moderators pressed Sinema on whether she would have voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. She evaded, until finally she slipped in a “No.”

    Dumb answer. She probably has the Kelli Ward voters right now, but won’t have them 6 years from now at primary time. I hope she gets kicked out then. And she could have answered “I’m with Susan Collins on this one.”

    Sinema is the Democrat. McSally is the Republican.

    I changed my answer slightly since then (was up at 5:30 this morning) to

    She probably has the Kelli Ward voters right now, but won’t have them 6 years from now at primary time if she still thinks this way.

    McSally is a middle of the road Republican trying to play it safe. Let’s hope she grows the correct way in Washington rather than the two previous Republican Arizona Senators.

     I think you still may be misreading the quote — that’s Krysten Sinema’s answer on Kavanaugh, not McSally. She’s the one who was trying to evade the question. From what I read McSally was actually quite strong on the issue. 

    • #17
    • October 18, 2018, at 5:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Vectorman Member

    Leigh (View Comment):
     I think you still may be misreading the quote — that’s Krysten Sinema’s answer on Kavanaugh, not McSally. She’s the one who was trying to evade the question. From what I read McSally was actually quite strong on the issue.

    Thank you, you’re correct, along with @hangon.

    • #18
    • October 18, 2018, at 6:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.