Wineke: Here’s one cheer for Joe Manchin
The entire Democratic Party seems ready to bludgeon West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who, Sunday, said he won’t support President Biden’s “Build Back Better” program.
I tend to think Manchin did the Democrats a favor.
I personally support the Biden program. I think paid family support is a boon to families everywhere and essential to the future of the nation’s economy. I think programs to reduce greenhouse gases are essential to the future of the world’s health. I like what I see in all those programs. I also think it is critical to the nation’s future to enact laws protecting voting rights.
What I don’t understand is how we managed to make Senator Manchin’s approval critical to their adoption.
It seems just assumed by the politicians, by the press, and by public perception that the Republicans led by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy will just block any progressive effort and are, therefore, irrelevant to the debate.
But why should that be?
Are there no Republicans who support children? Does every Republican agree that laws should be changed making it virtually impossible for Democrats to win or hold power?
Why is Joe Manchin’s vote more critical than that of Maine Senator Susan Collins? Why is it more critical than that of Utah Senator Mitt Romney?
Is there some unwritten law that prohibits President Biden from inviting Collins to his Delaware home and showing her around?
Why do Democrats defer to the power of McConnell while former President Trump calls him an “old crow?”
I realize that what I’m suggesting here just sounds like pious calls for some sweet bipartisan past.
The thing is there never was a sweet bipartisan past.
Legislation has always passed because politicians bribed and threatened and horse-traded favors with one another.
Democrats pretty much still do that, which is why Democratic Party politics always looks so messy in public. The end result is, however, that Democrats do things that help people.
Republicans, so far, have gotten away with presenting a solid negative block to anything a Democrat leader endorses and the end result has been that we give tax breaks to the richest among us and make life more difficult for the poorest.
Democrats shouldn’t let them get away with that. The press shouldn’t let them get away with that.
Because the conversion of one Republican senator to the cause of helping children or the environment will negate the relative power of one Democratic senator from West Virginia.
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