Tired, tired, tired. Dog tired. Bone tired. Absolutely exhausted, and we’re only about ten weeks into the years of aggravation that lay ahead.
Joe Manchin (D-sort of)(West Virginia) is all of a sudden the big man on campus, and the most important barrier to progress in a Congress that might, just might, be able to achieve something with the Democrats’ razor-thin Senate majority, if only he’d play along. But he won’t. Faced with a Republican caucus that’s still run by the apparently deathless Mitch McConnell, who remains as determined as ever to prevent the legislative branch from doing any damned thing at all, ever, Manchin says he wants the Senate to function on a bipartisan basis. On that he will not budge. He believes that the Senate was designed to work only on the strength of two-party consensus, which he seems to think is actually how the Constitution was drafted (it wasn’t). The filibuster must therefore remain, and moreover must remain just as it is, with no tinkering even to eliminate it for certain types of bill, say those protecting voting rights, while otherwise letting it stay largely in place. Not satisfactory. So, because he says so, the Dems only have 49 votes for curing the Senate’s chronic, utterly dysfunctional gridlock, not enough to bring in Kamala to cast the tie-break. Congress can continue to be the broken place where next to nothing gets done.
Suppose, though, that he did buy in to repealing the filibuster (and for the sake of the fantasy scenario, let’s suppose he drags fellow dim-bulb Kyrsten Sinema along with him). What then? Well, then Manchin becomes just as important for every subsequent bill as he was for changing the rules. For everything, he’s the crucial 50th Democratic vote, so nothing happens unless he says so, and all the rest of y’all can go piss up a rope, you don’t like it. Manchin would, in effect, take over the filibuster power from Mitch, is all, and is that so much better?
Somewhat, yes. Joe went along with the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, something McConnell surely would have blocked if he could, and so far, anyway, it seems like he’s fine with Biden’s immensely ambitious (and really quite fiscally breathtaking) $3 trillion infrastructure proposal, though I’m not convinced on that score yet. On other things though? Not so much. Raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, i.e., bring it up to starvation level? Nah. Tell you what, though, he’ll think about going as high as $11.00, if you ask nicely. The For the People Act, vital, now, to stop Republican State governments from completing their headlong rush to institute Jim Crow II? Meh. Parts of it are O.K., he figures. Others he doesn’t like. Anyway, he won’t vote for anything along those lines unless Republicans get on board too (which of course they never will, the whole point being an attempt to thwart a deliberate GOP coup via voter suppression). The Green New Deal? Nope. Not as such. Doesn’t like it (which makes me wonder about the infrastructure plan, much of which is aimed at green energy initiatives as a way of killing two crucial policy birds with one stone). Gun control? Nope. Doesn’t play where he comes from. Can’t hold with it.
Day after day, it’s headline after headline:
Even as the Republicans shove through heinous, outrageously racist voter suppression “reforms” that may well guarantee that he and his party never hold a majority again, he won’t lift a finger to stop them, or to allow the Dems to accomplish most of their other long-cherished progressive policy objectives.
Some punk can continue to find it easier to buy an AR-15 than vote. Because he says so.
The Republicans can rig the system and entrench white minority rule for decades to come. Because he says so.
Climate change can continue, unabated, until it lays waste to the whole world and all its fragile ecosystems. Because he says so.
Meanwhile, workers can continue to live in near abject poverty no matter how many full and part time jobs they manage to hold down. Because he says so.
This one Senator, representing a state of about 1.8 million people, will determine how things go for the other 330 million Americans, and, on some matters, all seven billion of us out here, too. He’s comfortable with that. He likes it that way. He thinks he’s right. About everything, all the time.
Mitch must be giggling himself to sleep every night. He must just be beaming and whistling a happy tune all the live-long day. Joe’s on the beat. Joe will take care of it. He might just as well be a Republican mole.
I’d buy another voodoo doll, but by now I know the frigging things don’t work worth jack.