Mark Kelly would have Arizona voters believe he’s a maverick just like John McCain – invoking the former Republican Senator’s name on the campaign trail to latch on to McCain’s legendary independent streak that ruffled feathers in both parties.
But Kelly’s penchant to fall in lockstep with Democrats in Washington flies in the face of the big promises he made to buck party bosses like Chuck Schumer while on the campaign trail.
In fact, a new article shows it’s Kelly’s Senate colleague Kyrsten Sinema, not Kelly himself, who is actually walking the walk when it comes to bucking Washington Democrats.
While Sinema appears to be enjoying flexing her maverick muscles, Kelly has been hesitant, especially when it comes to the filibuster, which McCain always defended. Over the course of the campaign and in his first months in office, Kelly has refused to take a clear stand on the issue…
McCain, however, never waffled in his view about modifying or abolishing the filibuster. Over the last decade, up until his death in 2018, he led the fight against changing or abolishing the procedure, arguing that to do so would permanently damage the Senate as an institution and the way the nation’s founders envisioned it as the more deliberative body.
As far back as 2005, McCain said he believed the Founding Fathers had designed the upper chamber with the “purpose of protecting the rights of the minority.” And in 2012, when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, threatened to alter the filibuster, McCain issued several dire warnings about such a step.
The clearest indication of Kelly’s leanings was in an interview with the Arizona Republic in which Kelly remarked “Change is generally a good thing” – a far cry from John McCain’s defense of the filibuster as a tool to build bridges between Republicans and Democrats. Sinema, on the other hand, has remained steadfast: “When you have a place that’s broken and not working, and many would say that’s the Senate today, I don’t think the solution is to erode the rules. I think the solution is for senators to change their behavior and begin to work together, which is what the country wants us to do.”