Democracy Probably F*cked, Thanks to Supreme Leader Joe Manchin
Joe Manchin is very bad at politics and history.
Ever since Democrats won the Senate, we've been in the awkward position of simultaneously being the "majority" while not having enough to power to make sweeping changes without fixing/eliminating the filibuster. Also, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has to contend with the ego and whims of King Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (and her vacation plans).
Appearing on CNN's "State Of The Union" with Jake Tapper, Manchin was asked about a report he was booed at a Democratic luncheon for bringing up deficits to his Senate colleagues. His answer was either naïve obliviousness or sad deflection.
Manchin responds to a Politico report that he was booed at a Democratic Caucus luncheon: "I'm not sure. I heard a l… https://t.co/kqvBrg4mfn— Andrew Solender (@Andrew Solender)1627825015.0
TAPPER: Politico reports that, when you brought up the federal deficit at a Democratic Caucus luncheon on Tuesday, you were booed.
MANCHIN: I'm not sure. I...
TAPPER: You were booed.
MANCHIN: I heard a lot of no's. I don't know if it -- maybe it was boo no or no boo or something.
Upon hearing this lame excuse, you can't help seeing this classic moment from The Simpsons:
Tapper asked Manchin a more substantial question about the possibility getting rid of the filibuster to pass voting rights laws and protect democracy. Manchin gave the most idiotic and incoherent excuse, especially in light of the reality Tapper pointed out:
In short, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is still a no on killing the filibuster or any sort of carve-out for voting right… https://t.co/YOecQHesWD— The Recount (@The Recount)1627825113.0
MANCHIN: So, people say, well, what's Joe going to do or what's Joe going -- what's he for or against? I will not do anything, Jake, that will separate our country further. And to do a major overhaul on [the voting rights bill], take the Voting Rights Act that we had in '65, use the John Lewis -- and John Lewis, the most decent human being -- and make sure we stay within the guidelines of what we're supposed to, protect the elections, not going into this expansive overhaul, if you will, to the point to where it can be overturned in court. And we have been seeing the courts overturn some of this.
TAPPER: I know you want it to be bipartisan.
MANCHIN: It should be.
TAPPER: But I don't know how possible that is. The only Republican I have heard talk about this in a positive way is Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
MANCHIN: You know what I can't understand, Jake? And I'm sorry to interrupt you on that. But I cannot understand, how did it pass 98-0 in 2006, and now it's not possible for that to happen?
Is he fucking kidding? Has Manchin been asleep or frozen in ice since 2006 like a less compelling Rip Van Winkle, or an infinitely less heroic Captain America? We don't have enough space to list ALL the ways in which politics have changed since 2006, but, like Steve Rogers's catch-up notebook, here are a few key things he could look up:
- The 2008 election and subsequent victory of President Barack Obama;
- The GOP's use of the filibuster and willingness to carve away at it when it served its purposes;
- The Tea Party rise and takeover of the Republican Party (which was always bad, honestly);
- The 2016 Republican primaries;
- The presidency of Donald Trump;
- The Trump-incited January 6 insurrection;
- Everything Republicans have done since then.
Of course there is a lot more, but those are a good place to start.
Tapper noted the voting rights carve-out proposed by the likes of independent Senator Angus King of Maine, but Manchin dismissed this. He then proved he, like Sinema, doesn't actually understand history, the filibuster, or the history of the filibuster:
MANCHIN: [I]f we don't put this place back in order, you get rid of the filibuster, which makes us work together -- and I have said this. The whole -- the brilliance of our founding fathers was this. Why in the world did they give two senators to Rhode Island and Delaware at the time they were forming this great nation of ours, when they told New York and Pennsylvania and Ohio, hey, you only get two too? It was basically to make us work together, so that the big states wouldn't overrun the little states. It's minority participation.
First of all, the founding fathers didn't invent the filibuster. That happened in 1806, accidentally, fully 29 years after the founding.
As Manchin stated himself, the founders disproportionately gave smaller states like Rhode Island the same number of senators as larger states, to insure "minority participation." The inherent make-up of the Senate guarantees that. You don't need extra, un-democratic tools like the filibuster to give them even more.
Manchin and Sinema are giving the minority power over the majority in governance, even as they are supposedly proud members of the majority. And to be clear, it's a political minority that doesn't actually believe in democracy, doesn't believe in equal voting rights for all eligible Americans. If we don't do something substantial to fix it, there's no "out-organizing" GOP's stolen elections, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated this weekend.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it's naive for the Biden administration to think voter suppression ca… https://t.co/l3TImN8AxM— State of the Union (@State of the Union)1627830304.0
This quote should haunt Joe Manchin:
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Even if you are successful in out-organizing, they won't even -- they're laying the groundwork to not even certify the results of the election. They're holding essentially dress rehearsals in states like Arizona in order to do that.
That's the long and short of it. The end.
Have a week.
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Pop Culture observer & Comics fan. Amateur Movie Reviewer. Political Freelance Writer @wonkette. Marine, Husband & Dad. Opinions are mine only.