In a 50-50 Senate, any Democrat could derail anything-- including the Democratic Party hold on the "majority." Were Manchin or Psycho-Sinema to switch parties, the GOP would be the majority party and that's that for any semblance of a Biden agenda. So the White House and the party leadership only has so much-- not much-- leverage over senators who don't give a shit... and there are two: Manchin and Psycho.
And although no one can speak authoritatively about Sinema-- other than her shrink, if she has one-- this morning the Punchbowl News crew reminded its leaders about who Manchin is. Manchin-- a corrupt man who is not an especially intelligent person and one who is shockingly ignorant when it comes to economics-- has been very consistent in what he wants and doesn't want for his vote on reconciliation for the Build Back Better Act. Basically, it's a bunch of conservative claptrap... but he has the power to force that on the Democratic Party. He has been clear that he...
• wasn’t willing to spend much more than $1.5 trillion.
• supports means testing on government programs, as he showed during last-minute negotiations over the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March.
• was opposed to the Democrats’ clean energy plans.
"Manchin," they wrote, "has been remarkably consistent, and all the major media outlets have reported it time and time again... [I]f you have listened to Manchin and you’re still surprised by or enraged at his positions, that may be because you’re irrationally hopeful he will change his beliefs, or you’re engaging in wishful and likely unrealistic thinking. Maybe you’re just listening to what you want to hear. But don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Half of official Washington has decided that they’re going to ignore what Manchin says and believe he has a secret set of beliefs he's waiting to unveil. Here’s what you have to understand about Manchin: He says what he means. When he gets heavy pressure from the left, it helps him back home. Here’s the reality: Joe Manchin is a filibuster-supporting conservative Democrat who is also an ardent supporter of coal, skeptical of big government and massive spending packages. He never pretends otherwise. Let’s all stop acting surprised when he says the same thing for the umpteenth time."
And he's the rational one between him and Psycho-Sinema! The two of them are whittling down the Build Back Better program and there really isn't anything Biden-- nor anyone else can do about it. NOTHING. For example, the Washington Post reported that today, Senate Dems "will unveil a scaled-back version of a Biden administration proposal to crack down on wealthy tax cheats... The Clean Energy Performance Program is very popular with the rest of the Democratic Senate and with the public, but Biden wants it removed in return for his vote on the package, so it's being removed.
The battle is coming down to one pitting the interests of working families against the interests of the ruling class. Bernie represents working families and Manchin represents the ruling class. Because Manchin is perfectly willing to see the Democratic Party flushed down the toilet without so much as a blink-- and Bernie isn't-- the ruling class, as always, i bound to get its way. It's great for them when they own both major parties, isn't it? We can thank Bill Clinton for that. And, by the way, the current happiness is perfectly reflected in Wall street's soaring stock prices lately.
Third Way is one of the predominant think tanks for the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. They released a public memo Sunday insisting it's time to cut a deal and that progressives have no choice but to agree to take half a loaf and smile, which the conservative protectors of wealth and privilege call "mutually assured success. If they don’t, our Democratic majority will reap a whirlwind of political destruction." This is how the Republican wing of the Democratic Party sees it:
We acknowledge that the distrust between the wings of the big and restive Democratic coalition is warranted. Enough [conservatives] have been either lukewarm or opaque about the reconciliation bill that progressives should feel unsettled about their intentions. And enough progressives have been so eager to add more spending to the same package that [conservatives] should feel alarmed that it’s at risk of being too big and ill-defined.
The result of the present intra-party negotiation inevitably must be a compromise, and no one-- not [conservatives] or progressives, the House, Senate or White House-- will get the process or the package of their dreams. For one thing, the fate of the bipartisan infrastructure bill is now affixed to the Build Back Better reconciliation package, despite lines drawn in the sand by some [conservatives]. And the final bill’s topline cost will be far south of the $3.5 trillion that some progressives still are insisting is their bare minimum.
So as legislators return to Washington this week, it is critical for Democrats across the political spectrum to get a deal done and then rally in support of the agreement. Leave aside for the moment the overwhelming substantive imperatives of enacting this legislation. The climate crisis, our crumbling infrastructure, holes in the health care system, and staggering inequality all require the kind of big responses that these bills could offer.
But the raw political calculus is equally clear, and failure is not an option. Any Democrat who stands in the way threatens to squander a historic political opportunity and imperil Democratic majorities.
The downside risk is obvious. Democrats seeking to protect our tiny majorities in 2022 already face significant hurdles, like partisan gerrymandering and Republican vote suppression. The [conservatives] in swing districts at the frontlines of this battle will suffer most if reconciliation fails. And if they go down, the progressives will lose their committee gavels and majority party power to Trump-serving Republicans.
Democrats flirting with voting “no” also should be mindful that the party’s last two midterm collapses were preceded by major legislative fumbles. In 1994, the health care reform debate turned into a Democratic debacle, splintering the coalition over the most high-profile item on the president’s agenda-- the bill’s informal moniker even carried the First Lady’s name. Its failure was a big part of the electoral fiasco to come. In 2010, House Democrats voted for the controversial cap-and-trade bill and then garnered only its political downside when it failed to pass in the Senate, despite Democrats holding 59 seats.
In 2020, Democrats won on a pledge of calm, capable leadership. That’s going to ring hollow if we can’t cut a deal inside our own party on two huge measures that we’ve been debating in public for months. We must show voters that when they elect Democrats, American lives improve. Inaction does not make anyone’s life better.
With mutually assured destruction not an option, Democrats should embark on a strategy of mutually assured success. That means progressives and [conservatives] must swallow their misgivings, hammer out a deal, and get it to the Rose Garden.
If they do, all Democrats will go home with a story of real success. We started the year with the American Rescue Plan, which put shots in arms and checks in pockets. Then we worked out a bipartisan infrastructure deal, which will put Americans to work and rebuilds our crumbling roads and bridges. Finally, the Build Back Better bill will provide a huge middle-class tax cut, other aid to working families, and a massive move toward clean energy, all paid for by restoring some semblance of fairness to the tax code. That is the kind of robust response to crises that voters would reward, just as they rewarded (prematurely, it turned out) the Republican reaction to 9/11 in the 2002 midterms. And indeed, polling from ALG and Tax March found that voters in seven highly competitive districts are far more likely to support Members who vote for the president’s agenda.
We narrowly avoided a second term of the Trump presidency by uniting Democrats under a very big tent. Debates inside that tent are healthy, but now it’s time to prove that Democrats can govern. That means [conservatives] and progressives must reach a deal to mutually assure success.
Their appeal is dishonest-- any time nothing is done to address a festering problem, it is a victory for conservatives and the special interests who pay them off. But, when Manchin said that if progressives want to pass more progressive policies they have to elect more progressives to Congress... he was completely correct. If you want to see that happen-- never-- never, never, never-- support any Senate candidates backed by Chuck "let me introduce you to Kyrsten Sinema" Schumer. He never gets it right. You can safely assume that every candidate he gets behind will be a defender of the status quo. This cycle that means Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania, Val Demings in Florida, Tim Ryan in Ohio, Cheri Beasley in North Carolina... It's primary season. Please reject Schumerism and support progressive candidates for the Senate. It's the same kind of crap in the House, where a mistrust of progressive values always portends a rush by the DCCC to put forth garbage candidates, resulting in a dysfunctional Democratic Conference pockmarked with corrupt shitbags like Ed Case (Blue Dog-HI), Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ), Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL), Lou Correa (Blue Dog-CA), Scott Peters (New Dem-CA), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Rick Larsen (New Dem-WA), Ami Bera (New Dem-CA), Kathleen Rice (New Dem-NY)... How to avoid them? Avoid the DCCC and its front groups (like End Citizens United and EMILY's List) and do what you can to support progressive House candidates like these men and men, not the careerists and corrupt conservatives that the DCCC invariably back.