WASHINGTON — Democrats in Washington and across the country have been wondering the same thing for months: how they can wear down Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. The answer might be that they can't. Sinema, a political progressive turned moderate, is holding President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" social spending bill hostage, along with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. Biden, along with White House officials and Democratic activists, have tried nearly every imaginable strategy to get Sinema to abandon or soften her demands. Those demands include the House passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill first, shrinking the overall size of the "Build Back Better" bill and abandoning income-tax rate hikes for corporations and high-end earners. Biden has sat down repeatedly with Sinema, still in her first term. At other times, Democratic leaders have tried to isolate her. Arizona activists took the opposite approach, pursuing Sinema into a bathroom earlier this month to harangue her. Last week, five members of her veterans advisory council resigned, citing her "unwillingness to act on behalf of [her] constituents’ needs." And Democratic officials in Washington and Arizona have tried to create an electoral threat by recruiting Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., to announce now that he will run a primary campaign against Sinema — in 2024. None of it has worked. Critics suggest that Sinema is in the pocket of various industry donors to her campaigns or seeking to carve out a "maverick" reputation, like longtime Republican Sen. John McCain, in Arizona. But friends say her approach is consistent with a political philosophy that emphasizes credibility with colleagues, working across the aisle and rejecting single-party legislation. In keeping with Sinema's desire to keep private negotiations out of the public sphere, several of her allies, including those in the legislative, lobbying and donor ranks, declined to speak about her. But others, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, say she's being maligned and mischaracterized. "She’s kind of a head-down hard worker and she just doesn’t play the game the same way" as many other members of Congress, said one lawmaker who is close to her. "It gets lost in the 'Saturday Night Live' view of her, which is off. People just don't understand her." Sinema described her own legislative philosophy — and how it changed when she was in the Arizona legislature — in a 2009 book. Sinema wrote that she came into elective office as a partisan bomb-thrower and found that she had ostracized herself from serious negotiations on legislation. She decided she wanted to be part of coalitions that could pass, kill or amend legislation and transformed her approach to colleagues with different views. She also decried the modern era of hyper-partisanship in Congress, in which "wholesale ideas created by one party were brought to the floor and ushered through." Politicians have not "made any real effort to change the way we do business, and so the hyper-partisanship continues," she wrote. Sinema's approach is designed to get the kind of buy-in from the parties and the public that ensures legislation isn't repealed when power shifts in Washington, according to spokesman John LaBombard. "She would much prefer sturdier, long-term legislative solutions for everyday people as opposed to short-term partisan victories that have a tendency to be wiped out in a new majority just a couple of years down the road," he said. LaBombard said she wants to strike a deal on the "Build Back Better" plan. "She would not be involved in these negotiations for . . . read the full article here.