Does The Democratic Big Tent Have Room For More Joe Manchins Before It Bursts At The Seams?

Yesterday, Manchin was on Meet The Press pretending that the Founding Fathers-- who purposefully decided legislation should pass both chambers of Congress with simple majorities-- wrote the filibuster into the Constitution. Chuck Todd called him on his deception but didn't make him eat shit over the lie.

Manchin, a pompous asshole and a conservative Democrat who has publicly toyed with switching parties and who revels in the national spotlight, very much loves having veto power over everything the Democratic Party would like to accomplish. In a tweet this morning, I noted that if you personally want to knock him off his perch as co-president, help elect a progressive to the North Carolina open Senate seat, Erica Smith. The more conservative Manchin is perceived by the voters of West Virginia, the better his chances are to be reelected. That's the opposite of Kyrsten Sinema, who is likely to be defeated in 2024 for the same reasons Manchin will win. Arizona Democrats don't want a right-wing sociopath pretending to be a Democrat and a strong primary candidate could take Sinema out. The alternative is much worse-- progressive voters not casting ballots for her and letting a Republican win.

This morning, Mike Allen wrote that Manchin told him on Axios' HBO show that "he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice" on Biden's next big package-- infrastructure/Climate change-- than they did on the COVID stimulus. Manchin, who can't seem to understand the difference between the minority party "having a voice" and having a veto, said "he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

Manchin lied some more to Allen, claiming that though the Democrats watered down the COVID-rescue package horribly, "with just a few concessions, it would have been possible to get some Republicans on the COVID relief package that passed the Senate this weekend on a party-line vote. And he said he'll block Biden's next big package-- $2 trillion to $4 trillion for climate and infrastructure-- if Republicans aren't included. [Suggestion: contribute to Erica Smith's campaign again.]

In fact I asked Erica about the Manchin problem-- and she didn't shy away: "True universal healthcare, robust action to save our planet, a living wage, these are pieces of legislation that we urgently need to pass and despite our trifecta, our path is complicated by the more conservative Democrats in the caucus. Senator Manchin gets to wield unprecedented power because of how slim our majority is. The solution is an obvious one. We need more strong progressives in the US Senate. The best way to ensure that Senator Manchin is not king of the Senate is to expand our majority and ensure that across the country we are nominating progressives who'll take on corporate interests and stand up for working people."

Manchin to Allen: "I'm not going to do it through reconciliation. I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them out completely before we start trying." Asked if he believes it's possible to get 10 Republicans on the infrastructure package, which could yield the 60 votes needed under normal Senate rules, Manchin said: "I sure do."

Manchin gave Biden and the Democrats in Congress to go big if it's paid for with tax increases. "He said he'll start his bargaining by requiring the package be 100% paid for." Like the clueless Republican he is, he babbled that that with all the debt we're piling up, he's worried about "a tremendous deep recession that could lead into a depression if we're not careful. ... We're just setting ourselves up." That isn't true but why would Manchin care if there's no accountability in West Virginia for lies that pander to the right?

Disingenuously, he talked up an array of tax increases, including raising the corporate tax rate from the current 21% to 25% "at least," and repealing "a lot of" the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy. He warned Biden-- who needs no warning and is probably encouraging Manchin-- and congressional Democrats about ramming through legislation by simple majority: "I would say this to my friends. You've got power... Don't abuse it. And that's exactly what you'll be doing if you throw the filibuster out." Manchin is the ultimate white flag, Vichy-Democrat.