The Manchin mess
I understand why congressional Democrats are frustrated with Manchin. But what on earth is the point of this:
“I do believe the president when he said to us, and to me personally, that he got a commitment from Senator Manchin or [Manchin] would have to go back on his word,” Jayapal told reporters on a Monday afternoon press call. “And obviously yesterday, the senator took the latter path and went back on this word. That lack of integrity is stunning in a town where people say the only thing that you have is your word.”
The White House statement is similar.
We can argue about what the best strategy for progressives was and is. In theory, public criticism of Manchin could be useful if Manchin needs to separate himself politically from the mainstream of the Democratic party. But the actual criticism aimed at Manchin has been insulting and it’s hard to see how it serves a useful purpose. I understand that Democrats in Congress are angry, and their voters are angry, but anger is not a plan. When you need to persuade someone to do something they are not inclined to do, insulting them is generally not a good place to start.
It’s hardly the start. It’s been most of a year of hemming, hawing, and leading everyone on that in the end some middle ground (middle ground that is entirely on his side of the fence, and has no Republicans on it) would be found. In the end he magically determined that he just couldn’t negotiate with himself hard enough to get anything passed.
I think we are dealing with a country boy with Manchin. Got his big floater on a lake where he can show off. So he is happy with himself. I also do not believe he knows what he needs for his constituents or wants. If it is true, the coal miners union are in favor of the BBB; then it could be business interests. Much of the business community will get a positive from BBB.So what could it be? So why oppose BBB?
In the end, I do not believe he is that smart and he is in over-his-head in deciding what he wants.
You will never persuade Manchin to support this. He never intended to. His mission was to separate the infrastructure bill from the BBB Bill and then kill BBB. Why? Because Capital, the force for which he works wanted the infrastructure bill and they loathed the BBB. Why? Because BBB moves on fossil fuels and strengthens the safety net buy raising taxes on Capital. So, with their party sidelined they needed moles. They bought two for good measure.
If what I think is true about Manchin being a country boy; insulting him will just anger him. I also think he is out of his element in trying to decide. He sees things close up. Get beyond the tip of his nose and he is lost.
It is frustrating to have to deal with such a person as I describe. You know the answer, and you can not implement the plan, because one person does not understand or will not understand.
Maybe verbal tongue lashing is too harsh. Silence can be powerful too. Let him be the first to speak and establish his position .
There are lots of options besides insulting him. Flatter him. Negotiate with him quietly. Allow him to showboat. Grumble that he is not as progressive as you want. Urge him to be a team player. It’s very difficult to construct a scenario in which insulting him is helpful.
Sometimes in a negotiation it can be helpful to convince people that you are crazy, or angry enough to do crazy things. Maybe progressives could have convinced Manchin that they were angry/crazy enough to kill the infrastructure bill if he did not give them a big enough BBB bill. But even Jayapal acknowledges that the infrastructure bill did not give progressives leverage.
Which is why BBB was tied to the other bill.
I believe Biden needs to AGAIN hold talks in private with him and someone popular needs to start selling BBB to the West Virginia population (if not Biden). Biden should be asking what the hell he is doing in private after all the conversations. Early in Fall, Manchin said he want to delay till 2022. Maybe he still does?
Manchin could care less about public opinions in W VA. He knows he can never win another election there, that was etched in stone with his two impeachment votes in a state that elected Trump by 40 points, twice. He was probably done even without his impeachment votes though.
He lost 80% of his winning margin from 2012 to 2018, and he has no chance in an election with a Presidential vote.
They planned to tie the bills together, they could not due to Dem House centrists who would not vote for a budget resolution until after the BIF bill was passed. Hard to understand why so many people think they were tied together. The BBB didn’t even exist when they voted on the BIF.
” Nine moderate House Democrats warned Speaker Nancy Pelosi they won’t vote for a budget resolution critical to passing Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social policy package unless the House first passes a Senate-approved infrastructure bill, a move that threatens to derail the party’s economic agenda.
“Some have suggested that we hold off on considering the Senate infrastructure bill for months — until the reconciliation process is completed. We disagree,” the lawmakers wrote Thursday in a letter to Pelosi. “With the livelihoods of hardworking American families at stake, we simply can’t afford months of unnecessary delays and risk squandering this once-in-a-century, bipartisan infrastructure package. It’s time to get shovels in the ground and people to work.”
The letter is signed by Reps. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia, Filemon Vela of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Ed Case of Hawaii, Jim Costa of California and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.”
Or just get him to stop following the wishes of Charles Koch and the American Prosperity Foundation.
With 50 GOP senators and 48+2 Dem senators, it was always going to be this way.
Or is it 48+2 and 48+2 on each side?
Manchin just lucked out. With Synema for back-up?
One of these days, elect more Dems, get a ‘super-majority’.
Admittedly, the current mix causes havoc & chaos in Congress.
Maybe if Manchin (and/or Synema) cross the aisle, things will settle down.
Err, actually it’s 48+2 for Dems and 50 for the GOP.
Could change to 51 (or 52) for the GOP and 47+2 (or 46+2) for the Dems.
One thought that crosses my mind is how one, in their primate rock banging brain, would feel to be able to scuttle an entire countries worth of set proposed law. “Joe says no” and just like that, millions are effected. To go from West Virginia backwoods where daddy had money to being the most loved or hated depending upon which Pissed-Off Team ™ has got to be one hell of a head rush. Primate brains aren’t wired for such things, so poor choices abound.
The situation w/r/t Joe Manchin is really a sort of worse-case scenario.
(If not Joe, the fall-back is Kyrsten Synema.)
Admittedly, there may be a lot of w-c scenarios these days.
Too small a Dem majority in the Senate to accomplish anything useful.
A Senate that is too powerful to serve the country fairly or properly.
Practically no way to do anything politically to correct this.
This is the sort of weak central guv’mint the framers had in mind, and they achieved this goal.
Are we not toast? Quite possibly, we are.
Err, the situation w/r/t Joe Manchin is really a sort of worst-case scenario.
he’s now in a position to pass just those parts of the reconciliation bill that he favors…
here’s an op ed touting Manchin for president:
Citizenship before partisanship: Is Manchin the ideal candidate for 2024? | TheHill
the Hill also links to a list of those corporations who paid for status quo policy this time around…
Joe Lieberman did stuff everyone hated
Joe Manchin takes over as the guy Dems love to hate.
And yet, he imagines he might become President.
It is better for the Dems to have the Senate majority than to not have it, even if they can’t accomplish much with it. (They have in fact accomplished much with it in Biden’s first year, just not as much as they hoped.) The leadership prefers to hold on to that majority.
If Manchin (and/or Synema) join up with the GOP, the Senate will be in full control of Mitch McConnell. That’s scary.