By now, we’ve all heard and considered the graceless manner in which Sen. Joe Manchin (D-VW) went on television on Sunday to announce he is personally killing Joe Biden’s big spending bill labeled Build Back Better.
After months of dawdling, negotiating, whittling, spinning, and otherwise trying to get everyone else in his party to turn around his central star, Manchin simply said no more. And he said it publicly first, not even giving a stunned White House notice.
Of the many questions one might ask, here are two:
Can Democrats put separate, more targeted bills together towards a similar, but different set of goals? Prospects are slim, because they still need support from Republicans even for items like extending child tax credits, support that will never be forthcoming.
And second, will any bill sponsored by Manchin ever gain approval ever again? Indeed, will Democrats drop the hammer on Manchin politically now rather than tiptoe around him, possibly including taking away his chairmanship of the Senate Natural Resources Committee?
Is there a consequence for undercutting your president, your national following as a party, whatever it is that you think makes a Democrat different from a Republican?
Achieving the Wrong Goals
Manchin has achieved the opposite goal of everything he says he stands for in the manner of bipartisanship and compromise.
Instead, his self-centered view of senatorial prerogative has left him marooned in his party leadership and likely has struck a blow for Republican obstinance against any kind of deal on any issue with the Democratic White House.
And he has done so by failing to live up even to his own personal word to Joe Biden, to skeptical progressives in his party, and to millions who were depending on this legislation as the beginning of a cultural turn towards a more equitable society.
Instead, we will have the status quo, increasing division, increasing income inequality, increased discrepancies in health and social services, increasing risk from climate and oil and gas dependency. And we will have all the problems he cites as reasons – high national debt, rising inflation and prices, and a growing sense of hopelessness for the poorer half of our nation.
The useless, ridiculous debate between Charlamagne tha God and Vice President Kamala Harris about who in effect is the real president of the United States shows just why politics is missing the boat in compromise-less America.
Manchin just assured that there are no winners, but rather we all are losing.