Early this morning, Punchbowl offered this bleak assessment-- which I should add, sounds depressingly like what progressive members have been telling me was coming all week. "Progressives, who had been holding the line successfully for weeks, have softened their opposition, in part because they don’t want to be blamed for the continued delay in advancing President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda, especially following last week’s debacle over the bipartisan infrastructure bill."
"They don't want to be blamed" may be part of the reason they're basically throwing in the towel and bowing to the inevitable when they need all 50 Senate votes and they have two hard core corrupt sociopaths in the mix who would prefer the whole bill to collapse. The progressive members I've been speaking with all say pretty much the same thing: even the crumbs Manchin and Sinema are leaving on the table are a step forward for desperate working families. When I suggest a better alternative would be to tank the bill and begin the process of splitting the Democratic Party in two... well, no one likes that-- not even remotely. No one takes it seriously. But sooner or later it will have to come. A Democratic Party controlled by corruption cannot represent Justice; that simple. Young people, the party was counting on to bail them out aren't voting in Virginia today and perhaps some Democrats will get the message, even if the party establishment doesn't.
Let me point back to a point Florida progressive candidate Christine Olivo made earlier this morning in The Most Hated Man In American Politics post: "Joe Manchin is what we get for not taking a chance on Paula Jean Swearengin." How true that rings now.
Back to the Punch Bowl report with what they term Pramila's brand new tone:
"I just have to believe what the president says and the president said right after [Manchin] spoke that he is confident he can deliver 51 votes for this plan. I am going to trust the president. Our members are going to trust the president and we are going to do the job that we need to do which is pass both bills through the House and whatever Sen. Manchin says is, you know, up to him."
I guess that's as graceful a way to back away as anyone could muster, as support in the CPC started collapsing for the hard resistance stand. One surrender money, Jared Huffman who represents a D+23 northern California district (bright blue Marin, Sonoma, Humbolt and Mendocino counties) said it’s time to move forward-- even without assurances from Manchin: "We have an informed sense of confidence [Manchin will support the bill]… Is it as ironclad as I’d like? No. Am I taking a step if not a leap of faith? Yes. Could I end up in the witness protection program politically? Absolutely. But at the same time, Joe Manchin is never going to say everything we want exactly the way we want it. It's just not going to happen."
Steven Holden is the progressive Democrat taking on conservative Republican John Katko in Central New York (Syracuse). Early this morning he said that "It should come as no shock that Sen. Manchin that is going to torpedo the Build Back Better plan. This is a plan that is popular with all Americans, regardless of party, including over 70% of West Virginians. I hear arguments that Manchin is simply representing his people, but that is not the case here. The President’s plan focuses on areas of all facets of infrastructure, both material and human, that are in my Green New Deal for CNY. If senators Manchin and Sinema-- along with every GOP Senator-- continue to torpedo this critical legislation to help the American people, I will re-introduce this exact same bill in Jan. 2023. We will neutralize the Manchins and Sinemas of the world by electing real progressive leaders such as John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Lucas Kunce in Missouri, Morgan Harper in Ohio, Erica Smith in North Carolina and Alan Grayson in Florida."
That's an optimistic perspective but don't worry, Punch Bowl News knows how to take a crap in any punchbowl: "We have bad news for Democrats-- [corrupt conservative] Blue Dogs aren’t down with your plans right now. Several sources tell us that the group of middle-of-the-road Democrats is ready to block consideration of the BBB unless leadership gets a CBO score. We’re told at least five Democrats-- Reps. Stephanie Murphy (FL), Jared Golden (ME), Kurt Schrader (OR), Jim Costa (CA) and Ed Case (HI)-- could block action on the BBB without an analysis of the revenue and spending impacts. This echoes Manchin’s position." [Notice how the worst of them-- former p.r. expert and "reputation doctor" Josh Gottheimer-- always manages to keep his name out if these reports.]
I would like to use this opportunity to urge you to consider getting on board with a Blue Dog political extermination project. By clicking on the thermometer on the right, you will find the names of vetted progressives with viable campaigns running against corrupt anti-family Blue Dogs. I promise you that this list with grow but, for now, the candidates opposing Blue Dogs most worth supporting are Sergio Alcubilla (Case), Jamie McLeod-Skinner (Schrader), Mike Ortega (Correa) and Jessica Cisneros (Cuellar). How about investing $20 now-- $5.00 to each by clicking on the 2022 Primary a Blue Dog thermometer? A little reminder from Jason Call, the Washington state progressive running for a seat held by toxic New Dem Rick Larsen: "Joe Manchin represents the elitism and cynicism of the entire corporate owned political establishment. He has no vision or care for the future (not the next five years, but the next fifty); it’s hard to fathom someone considering themselves an agent of good when they flaunt economic and environmental health for the masses in favor of the wealthy few. However, while Manchin is today’s face of despotism, don’t lose sight of the fact that Manchin is providing welcome cover for all corporate Democrats who can now cry foul, while being thankful they aren’t pressured to go on record voting against the general public. Many of these corporate Democrats watched happily while Manchin and Sinema emasculated the already compromised $3.5T Build Back Better reconciliation. We’re playing a game of chicken in which the Progressive Caucus has shown its willingness to flinch over and over. It’s no surprise Manchin feels like he has a free hand to exercise this vulgar display of power."
Yesterday C.J. Polychroniou asked Noam Chomsky how he assesses the reconciliation clusterfuck playing out right now. Chomsky blames Trump and the cowardice of the GOP and notes that "The right-wing Democrats (mislabeled 'moderate') follow along for their own reasons. These are not hard to discern in some cases: It’s not a great surprise that a coal baron who is Congress’s leading recipient of fossil fuel funding (Manchin) should proclaim the fossil fuel industry’s 'no elimination' slogan, or that a top recipient of donations from the pharmaceutical industry (Sen. Kyrsten Sinema) should be holding back badly need drug pricing reforms. That’s normal in a political system mired in corruption. But the rot runs deeper. It’s often been observed that the U.S. has a one-party political system-- the business party-- with two factions, Democrats and Republicans. In the past, the Republican faction has tended to be more dedicated to the concerns of extreme wealth and the corporate sector, but with the resurgence of the one-sided class war called 'neoliberalism' under President Ronald Reagan, the leadership has been going off the rails. By now they barely resemble a political party in a functioning democracy. Since the late President Jimmy Carter years, the Democrats have not lagged far behind, becoming a party of affluent professionals and Wall Street donors with the working class handed over to their bitter class enemy. One of Trump’s occasional true statements was that Republicans could never win a fair election on their actual programs. Recognizing this, since President Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy, the party has been mobilizing voters on 'cultural issues'-- white supremacy, abortion, guns, traditional patriarchal families, God (favoring the evangelical Christian variety)… anything that doesn’t lift the veil on their loyal service to their prime constituency. That way they can at least stay in the running, exploiting the deeply undemocratic features of the electoral system with its built-in advantages for their largely rural voting base."
The progressive Democrat running in the Staten Island/Brooklyn district, Brittany Ramos DeBarros seems very much to see things the way Chomsky does on this. This morning she told that "Manchin is a millionaire who got wealthy distributing coal and is still heavily invested in the industry. He takes more than twice the money from the fossil fuel industry than any other Senator. What he failed to mention when he was lecturing us about the economy and what’s good for us is that he and his donors are literally getting richer every day that he obstructs Build Back Better. We will not be gaslit by the greedy. We are the workers, the tax payers, the mothers. We are the backbone of this economy and we are the ones facing hunger, houselessness and the horrifying effects of climate crisis. These are our resources and we want them invested in our communities. There is nothing unreasonable about our demand and there is nothing pragmatic about Senator Manchin’s corruption."