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Joe Manchin’s Outrageous Blind-Spot

Joe Manchin had a moment of outrage when Bernie Sanders recently penned an opinion piece about the Biden agenda in a local West Virginia newspaper. I could say some negative things about Bernie, like, he probably cost Hillary Clinton the election in 2016 but I will give him credit for trying to move the ball forward for Working Class people. Some of policy initiatives in Biden’s agenda are like the ones that contribute to high standards of quality of life in many other countries. I’m pretty sure that if you took the party affiliation labels off these initiatives, there would be plenty of West Virginians who would support them.

But Manchin seems to not understand what century we’re in and what our expectations are trending towards. So, he’s threatening to REGRESS in his support of some elements of the bill in retaliation for Bernie Sanders bringing his foreign ass to West Virginia and showing the voters what their options are.

Yes, yes, it’s BERNIE who is throwing his weight around and telling West Virginians what is good for them. Its the libtards who don’t understand what West Virginians value and are forcing their coastal elitism down their throats.

Hmmm…

Here’s how *I* see it.

Joe Manchin is ignoring the hopes and dreams of a more future oriented, fairer, more environmentally conscious electorate that overwhelmingly voted Biden and the Democrats into office.

The senate Democrats represent 40 million more people than senate Republicans. They are the majority and they want this agenda to pass. That majority cares deeply about climate change and child care and infrastructure and moving forward. Those are the values of the majority of the people who are represented in the Senate.

It seems to me that Joe Manchin is the one going into all of those states and telling the majority what they can or cannot have based on a small but vocal minority of voters in West Virginia. Joe Manchin is the one threatening to make all those large majority states into passive bystanders whose votes are irrelevant because of a bunch of Luddite coal miners and their owners who still want to make their fortune in fossil fuels.

It’s not like Republicans have anything to offer West Virginians except hardship and lies. But Joe Manchin refuses to lead them.

How dare he come into California or New York or even Pennsylvania and dictate to all of us who voted for doing *something* for godssakes that what we want and how we want to pay for it is inappropriate.

How dare he tell all of these large Democratic states that gave him the power to make real change that HE isn’t going to do it.

My patience with Manchin, and his protege Kirsten Sinema, is wearing very thin. It’s about where my patience is with vaccine refusers. You know, I don’t have to have any respect for your opinion if your actions are wholly disrespectful of the wellbeing of other people in the country or the world.

Joe Manchin has made a lot of good progress with the voting rights bill. He was able to strike some important compromises that would protect the rights of all voters, including Republicans. But his holding out like some Fox News addled libertarian with a contrarian streak is screwing the majority in the biggest states of the union whose intentions were made very clear in November 2020.

He has a lot of nerve, arrogance and hubris to be lecturing Bernie Sanders right now. Joe would be doing himself a favor by STFU and not insulting the rest of the Democratic caucus.

24 Responses

  1. Because of the current balance of the Senate, we are seeing the worst aspects of how the governing system was set up in the Constitution. We’ve got two ostensibly Democratic senators essentially overruling most of the rest of the country, as you note. The Senate is anti-populist, and anti-majoritariarn, since the less populous states have the same number of senators as the largest ones. So Manchin, whose state has been all about coal, gets to use his power to hold up the whole bill which most of the country wants when they learn about what is in it. Who knows what Sinema cares about, she won’t deign to tell us.

    The so-called checks and balances in the Constitution are being used to stymie virtually every bid of legislation, which is the Republicans” dream, since they don’t want to the government to enact any social programs. Manchin and Sinema somehow hold all this power now, only because we are at 50-50. And Manchin is virtually impregnable politically, while Sinema is not, but probably doesn’t care. It infuriates me that desperately needed parts of the bill dealing with climate change are being threatened because of the views of one senator from West Virginia. Apparently the only way to “fix” it, is for us to win the Senate races in Pennnsylvania, Wisconsin, and maybe Florida, and hold Warnock’s and Kelly’s seats in 2022.

  2. My view is that Manchin cares not for the country or the people of West Virginia. His primary concern is lining his pockets to the extent that watering down (or at least not increasing) any of the Estate taxes will be of benefit to him and his.

    This is one of those issues that do have “both sides do it”, because, sadly, Manchin is far from the only Democrat who I think has this attitude and a good portion of the GOP (almost all in the Senate, IMO) are right there too.

    • The estate tax angle is something that hadn’t really occurred to me. Manchin’s share of the family coal business pays him $500k/year. Assuming a rather generous 5% dividend rate, that would put the value of his holdings at around $10 million – and that doesn’t count the yacht, real estate, and other investments. I’m sure his heirs would be hit rather hard.

  3. I am beginning to hate Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. I want human infrastructure and the voting rights bills to pass so badly.

  4. It’s a matter of priorities, William. The taxpayers pay Manchin $174k/year. The family coal business pays him $500k/year. Who do you think he’s really working for?

    • You’re very probably right, though one hates to think so. But I guess that’s the best we can get in West Virginia, which voted around 72% for Trump. I guess we need some more states, though I don’t imagine we will get any. The whole concept of states with their individual power, was probably a misguided one in the long term. The electoral college, which seemed like fun when I was a boy, was a terrible idea.

      • Every time I hear Bill Maher exclaim “why are we the stupid country?” I feel like pointing out that we’re not the stupid country, we’re the *corrupt* country. We make Uzbekistan look like a model of probity.

  5. I can’t help thinking that it wasn’t all that long ago that West Virginia had two Democratic Senators who were of a very different ilk from Manchin: Robert Byrd (1959-2010)* and Jay Rockefeller (1985-2015)*.

    *Byrd died in office at age 92; Rockefeller retired and is still alive (now age 84).

    Roz in NJ/NYC

    • WV isn’t a solid Red State: in the 40 Presidential elections since WV seceded from Virginia in order to remain in the Union, WV has gone for each party exactly 20 times. WV went for *Dukakis*, for God’s sake,

      • Stop making sense and using facts! This is the internet.

      • When looking for the dates exactly when Byrd and Rockefeller were in the Senate, I did find that in Wiki’s list of all the senators who have represented WV since it was admitted to the Union in 1863, through the years, Democrats and Republicans have been elected.

        The most interesting one to me was Democrat Rush Holt, Sr., who served from 1935-1941. His son, Rush Holt, Jr,, was my House Representative. When he was first elected in 1999, I worked with him on a local committee about women’s issues. Unfortunately. Our town was redistricted, and were then represented by Republican Chris Smith (Ugh!) But then once again, our district changed and we
        our town’s district was changed, we were in a district that elected

        • (Somehow cut off before I could finish) Since our town was changed again, we are now in a more solidly Democratic district with Democrat Frank Pallone representing us.

          Roz in NY/NYC

        • Interesting… was in 17th NJ at that time too, as was RD. Rush was the last vote for the 17th Rep that I cast before moving.

          Most of the time I lived in Hillsborough (1984- sept 1999) it was solidly Republican.

  6. I suspect that Manchin and Sinema would be Republicans if the GOP had not mutated into the GRP (Grim Reaper Party), aka the Bat Guano Crazy Party–and likewise, many Democratic voters would be Republican voters if Moderate Republicanism still existed.

    These people form enough of the Democratic Party and its voter base that the “Sandernista” approach to conducting the DP can’t work, because it would drive off too many of the current Dems and their voters. I would probably support at least 90% of the Sandernista program, but I recognize that, if the DP adopted it, it would make many of my peers either vote GOP, or not vote at all, which is why I am not a Sandernista.

    • Sinema started in politics as a Green, and sold herself as a “Progressive” for a number of years. A lot of the people who are demonstrating against her now are leftists who were suckered into supporting her run (“she’s bi, she *must* be progressive!”), not realizing that she’d sold out to corporate donors. They feel betrayed, and that’s why they’re not shy about following her into the bathroom to let her know.

      As far as I’m concerned, both Manchin and Sinema *are* Republicans.

  7. I suspect Sinema has sold her vote on Rx drug pricing. That vote is worth, literally, hundreds of billions of dollars to big pharma. After her term is done she will take a sinecure lobbyist job that pays multi-millions and it will be the best money big pharma ever spent.

    I exoect the job will be a sinecure because she has thoroughly alienated her fellow Democrats and so she will have no relationships on the Hill. She won’t be able to influence legislation in any way, shape or form. So on this job she’ll have even more time to compete in triathlons and work as a winery intern. You know, the kinds of things she likes to do now rather than do the work of a Senator who represents her State.

    But her employers won’t care, because she will have already provided inestimable value.

    Just saying…

    • I think you are absolutely right about this.

    • This is the first explanation I’ve seen of what Sinema is doing which actually makes sense. I wish she would at least be honest about what she wants, instead of just twirling and dancing around and acting like the Chaos Pixie of the Senate every time she’s asked a question.

  8. I suppose that if Sinema and Manchin are honestly concerned about the cost of the $350 billion/year reconciliation bill, we could alleviate their concern by suspending all Federal spending in Arizona and West Virginia. For the good of the country, you understand.

  9. I think that if we can make some reasonable deal to get the votes of Manchin and SInema, we need to make it. There is no other good choice. The Republicans uniformly present an unyielding granite wall of “no” to all Democratic legislation. So we cannot get anything but financial packages through.We are at the mercy of any maverick Democratic senator. That is where we are. So we have to make a decent deal, and then hope to win more seats next time.

    What is the other choice? Blow up the whole bill? Not passing anything makes it look like Democrats can’t govern or effect change, so that is a very bad idea. Swallow the disappointing deal which still has some good things in it. It is a real disappointment that this is where we are, but it is. We do not have enough seats. Maybe we can get more next time, but only if we have something to run on. And the bill would be, even now.

    • I think there are an awful lot of Democrats who wouldn’t find any deal Sinema and Manchin might agree to to be “reasonable”. It seems the rachet only turns to the right, and a lot of us are tired of it. As uncomfortable as it might be, maybe the time has come to play hardball.

      • Agreed… it is likely time to play hardball, and it looks like they may have threatened to do so during their meetings yesterday, since now Manchin is threatening to leave the party

        • He threatened to do that a couple of years ago, too. My response to that is “who the hell cares?”. If he’s going to side with the Republicans on every significant issue, there’s no point in him being in the party. Yeah, it keeps Schumer in the Majority Leader slot, but if we can’t pass any legislation I’m not sure that really matters.

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