Democrats better think twice about taking advice about how to save themselves from Republican Ross Douthat. The "helpful" conservative wrote that "Only the party’s left, its Bernie Sanders wing, fully developed a more normal theory of the 2016 defeat, trying to understand Obama-Trump voters in the context of globalization and deindustrialization as well as racism, fascism and Putinist dirty tricks. But this created a fundamental imbalance in the party’s conversation: With the Sanders faction trying to pull the party toward social democracy and the establishment acting as if its major challenges were Russian bots and nefarious Facebook memes, there was hardly anyone left to point out the ways that Democrats might be in danger of moving too far left-- and the writers who did so were generally dismissed as dinosaurs."
Douthat wrote that "it was up to Democratic voters to exert a rightward tug on their party-- first by saving the party from the likely disaster of nominating the intelligentsia’s candidate, Elizabeth Warren, and ultimately by putting up a nominee, Joe Biden, whose long career as a moderate gave him some distance from the 'Great Awokening' that swept liberal institutions in 2020. Now, though, with the increasing awareness that Bidenism is probably not a long-term strategy, we’re finally getting the fuller argument that should have broken out after 2016-- over what the Democrats can do, and whether they can do anything, to win over the working-class and rural voters alienated by the party’s increasingly rigorous progressive litmus tests."
Not surprisingly, Douthat buys into David Shor's analysis that "Democrats misread the meaning of Barack Obama’s 2012 victory, imagining that it proved that their multiracial coalition could win without downscale and rural white voters, when in fact Obama had beaten Mitt Romney precisely because of his relatively resilient support from those demographics, especially across the industrial Midwest. And this misreading was particularly disastrous because these voters have outsize influence in Senate races and the Electoral College, so losing them-- and then beginning to lose culturally conservative minority voters as well-- has left the Democrats with a structural disadvantage that will cost them dearly across the next decade absent some kind of clear strategic adjustment. From this diagnosis comes the prescription, so-called popularism, glossed by [Ezra] Klein as follows: 'Democrats should do a lot of polling to figure out which of their views are popular and which are not popular, and then they should talk about the popular stuff and shut up about the unpopular stuff.'"
Polling looks pretty damn good... but that leads to the glaring corruption that makes U.S. politics run. Let's take the carefully cultivated darling of Big PhRMA, Kyrsten Sinema. Remember when they bought off-- first with campaign contributions and then the promise of a multi-million dollar job-- Bill Tauzin, who was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1972, helped start the Blue Dogs and eventually joined the GOP. As Republican chair of what many see as Congress' most powerful committee, Energy and Commerce, he was in position to enrich himself gigantically. And he availed himself of the opportunity, by PhRMA's gigantic rip-off, Medicare Part D, through Congress. Tauzin received $11.6 million from PhRMA in 2010 alone, making him the highest-paid "health" lobbyist in history.
Who was the first person to ever warn you about Kyrsten Sinema? Now I'm warning you that she is the new Billy Tauzin. Is she as evil as Tauzin? MUCH worse. He never saw a day in prison. Let's hope her bribe-taking catches up with her quickly. She certainly isn't making many friends in Washington. Politico's Playbook started the day off by noting what we've been talking about for months: Manchin is horrible; Sinema is much, much worse. He's sane; she isn't. He's trying to seem reasonable and wants to get stuff out of this. She mainly craves attention and notoriety, even if it's as a comic book level arch-villain.
The Playbook crew assert that the talks between the White House and and Sinema and Manchin "have been shrouded in mystery," although "more is known about Manchin than Sinema and for a good reason: While Manchin has been willing to discuss his priorities in detail with his colleagues in the Senate, Sinema only negotiates with the White House. 'I'm not going to share with you or with Schumer or with Pelosi,' she told one Democratic senator recently. 'I have already told the White House what I am willing to do and what I’m not willing to do. I'm not mysterious. It's not that I can't make up my mind. I communicated it to them in detail. They just don’t like what they’re hearing.'"
Manchin and Sinema are not necessarily on the same page either-- other than they are both determined to wreck the Build Back Better without seeming to be the cause of the collapse. "'Manchin and Sinema want very different things, both in terms of revenue and programs,' said a source close to Biden who spent the last few days talking to senior White House officials. 'If you just took their currently presented red lines you wouldn’t have enough left to get this past progressives in the House and Senate. It wouldn’t raise enough money and it wouldn’t do enough big programs.' The biggest obstacle Sinema has created, according to Democrats, is on prescription drug pricing reform. The most robust version of this plan to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices would bring in some $800 billion of revenue at the expense of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s one of the most popular policies on the Democrats’ menu of options and many party strategists believe Democrats owe their House majority to this issue."
Playbook writes they've been told that "Democrats would be lucky if they managed to convince Sinema to support a version of drug pricing reform that raises even $200 billion. That’s not enough to fund the expansion of Medicare benefits that Bernie wants or the expansion of the ACA that Pelosi wants."
Manchin is much more willing to support a bolder version of drug pricing reform. But he’s also insisting on including his own pet plan to tax prescription opioids-- a tax vehemently opposed by Sinema’s allies at PhRMA and one that would dilute the Democrats’s prescription drug pricing plan. So far, the White House has not been able to convince Manchin to drop his opioid tax idea.
The two senators are similarly at odds over climate policy: Manchin opposes several Democratic ideas to price carbon pollution, while Sinema favors them.
And here's where Manchin is really driving his colleagues crazy. There are tens of thousands of coal jobs in West Virginia that are going to disappear as the economy transitions to clean energy. But when Democrats have proposed expensive programs to subsidize those workers’ income as they find new jobs, Manchin, we’re told, “rejected it out of hand,” calling the idea “welfare.”
"So, like where the hell is the overlap?" the source close to Biden said of the “maddening” policy gap between the two [corrupt conservative shitbags]. “How do you land that?”