One of the hallmarks of maturity is being able to acknowledge mistakes. We’ve all said and done stupid things, especially in our younger years … but if you can’t look back and humbly recognize a misstep, your judgement might be a bit off.
Arizona voters are definitely questioning Kyrsten Sinema’s judgement ahead of a close Senate race. She’s the Democrat who is taking on Republican Martha McSally for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake’s coming retirement in January, and her radical past is coming back to haunt her.
Back in 2003, Sinema was closely involved in protesting America’s involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. That by itself isn’t particularly damning, but the liberal’s flippant response regarding Americans fighting for the Taliban against U.S. troops is raising many eyebrows.
During a 2003 radio interview during which the anti-war activist was trying to talk about her protest group, libertarian radio host Ernest Hancock went on a tangent about people leaving the United States to join the militant Islamic group in Afghanistan.
“By me, as an individual, if I want to go fight in the Taliban army, I go over there and I’m fighting for the Taliban. I’m saying that’s a personal decision — individuals. Knock yourself out,” Hancock declared on the air.
Fighting for the Taliban army would mean joining an enemy that was hell-bent on killing as many American troops as possible. Sinema could have said, “I don’t agree with that.” She could have said “I can’t endorse that,” or even just “wait, what?”
Instead, she indicated that she was fine with someone going to Afghanistan to join the radical group.
“Fine. I don’t care if you want to do that, go ahead,” she responded on the air.
Audio of this exchange is publicly available, while numerous publications ranging from FactCheck.org to The Daily Caller and even CNN have confirmed the exchange. They also pointed out Sinema’s other activities which can certainly be seen as anti-U.S. military.
It wasn’t the only controversial remark dogging Sinema in the Arizona campaign.
— The Senate Majority (@NRSC) October 22, 2018
“As an anti-war activist in the early 2000s, Arizona Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema led a group that distributed flyers depicting an American soldier as a skeleton inflicting ‘U.S. terror’ in Iraq and the Middle East,” CNN reported.
Now that she’s running for senator, Sinema could easily own up to being a bit radical in her youth. She was a 27-year-old law student when the Iraq war started. If she said “well, I said a few things when I was younger that in hindsight weren’t so bright,” it might signify wisdom.
But she didn’t. During a recent interview with the editorial board of The Arizona Republic newspaper, Sinema seemed to dodge around repeated questions about her 2003 radio comment, and refused to disown it as a dumb statement despite repeated opportunities.
The GOP War Room, an official media wing of the Republican party, shared a video of that interview and held it up as evidence that the liberal was sticking to her controversial comment. “Kyrsten Sinema refuses to say she regrets saying it’s OK for Americans to join the Taliban,” the GOP reported.
Sure enough, the video shared by the War Room looks bad for her.
“That was an offhand comment to direct the conversation back to what I wanted to talk about, which was my concerns around this war,” the Democrat said.
If she said she was fine with someone joining the Taliban in an “offhand comment,” doesn’t that almost make it worse? Remember, American servicemen were dying and losing limbs at the hands of the Afghan enemy. That’s a pretty serious situation to be glib about.
To their credit, the editors of the major Arizona newspaper didn’t let her get off that easily.
“But you can see how that comment about the Taliban could be offensive to people on the ground?” one asked.
Again, she could have easily said “yes, I was a 27-year-old activist and didn’t think about the impact of that comment. It was a mistake and I’ve learned from it.”
She didn’t. Instead, she tried to weasel out of the question by babbling about context — context, by the way, which is available for anyone to hear for themselves.
“I think understanding the context in which that conversation occurred, I don’t know if you’ve had an opportunity to listen to the tape, and heard Mr. Hancock, who is, again, a very interesting fellow, it was a very difficult conversation,” Sinema rambled.
“I was really struggling to be able to talk about what I wanted to speak about and so an offhand comment to get us back on track was what I did to try to talk about the issue,” she continued.
Hey, nothing gets a conversation “back on track” like saying an American joining the Taliban is fine and dandy.
Again, Sinema could easily have said her statement in 2003 was said in the heat of the moment. She could have said she didn’t mean she was OK with Americans joining the Taliban, that she was just trying to mollify a persistent radio host so she could make her own points.
She did nothing of the kind. To a reasonable viewer, that indicates she at least tacitly approved of individuals going to fight for the Taliban in 2003, and hasn’t changed since.
It isn’t that shocking that a liberal university protester acted ridiculous and ignorant 15 years ago. That’s to be expected. The truly appalling part of this scandal is that after all this time, she doesn’t seem to have changed much.
The elephant in the room — or is it donkey? — is that Sinema may be unable to convincingly distance herself from the 2003 comment because she actually meant it — and that should be an eye-opener for every voter in this senate race.
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