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Congress

The Worst Performance of the Year Goes to Kyrsten Sinema

No acting job could be worse than Sinema's performance as someone who cares about anything other than herself.

kyrsten sinema filibuster
Reuters

Today, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema made her way to the Senate floor to kill off the Democrats’ feeble attempts to change the filibuster and thus pass (already watered-down) voting rights legislation. In her speech, Sinema said there was “no need” for her to restate her opposition to tweaking the filibuster…and then she proceeded to talk for a while anyway. Could have just put a Notes app statement up Kyrsten!

Since Sinema was kind enough to telegraph that there wouldn’t be anything new in the speech, I won’t waste time dissecting it, except to tell you that it was full of the same kind of ahistorical, stupid bullshit about the filibuster and bipartisanship that Sinema has been peddling for eons.

The one thing I can’t get my mind off, though, is the ludicrously melodramatic tone Sinema chose to employ in her speech. Seriously, watch this clip:

My god! The quavering, choked voice, the whispered tone, the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger cadence—what is going on here??? It’s like she thinks she just won an Oscar and has reached the portion of her speech where she suddenly gets real serious about how “this film was ultimately about the human spirit.” It’s like she’s in her first acting class and has brought a very “powerful” monologue to explore.

The whole thing is clearly intended to project how Seriously She Is Taking All Of This, and how Difficult This Process Has Been For Her, and how Brave She Is Being. (This is the same person who reportedly told police that she thought the constituents who followed her into a bathroom during a political action were committing a crime—she is very schooled in feeling besieged.) But you can practically see the gears turning, sense every calculation. She doesn’t have the chops to make any of this seem natural. Most of all, the self-satisfaction, the preening joy at the sheer power she possesses, practically jumps off of the screen. (That pleasure is a trait she shares with Joe Manchin; we are unlucky to be ruled by people who take such obvious delight in personally dashing the hopes of millions and then lying about their motivations for doing so.)

It’s insulting enough for Sinema to be saying these things. But it adds another layer of insult for her to say them while giving one of the most egregious acting jobs in recent memory. I thought Jared Leto in House of Gucci was the worst thing I was going to see this year. Then Kyrsten Sinema started talking today, acting in the role of someone who cared about anything other than herself. I know it’s only January, but I feel confident I won’t see a more dire performance in 2022.