Joe Biden Hurt Joe Manchin’s Fee-Fees So Now Children Will Starve Because Joe Manchin Is A Monster

National Politics

Another, sillier explanation emerged yesterday for Senator Joe Manchin pulling any possibility of support for Build Back Better and sticking Americans with a jelly of the month club membership. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo first clued us in (paywall) to the behind-the-scenes drama but I want to share this paragraph from Politico Playbook:

STEVE CLEMONS, a good friend of Playbook, knows JOE MANCHIN as well as anyone in Washington. When Steve was recently honored by the French, Manchin was there to celebrate. When Manchin recently sat down with a group of Washington insiders for an off-the-record dinner in a private room at Cafe Milano, it was Steve who hosted it. At a recent soiree at the French ambassador’s residence, Clemons was the guy guiding the senator around the first floor of the Kalorama mansion and acting as a kind of gatekeeper for the dozens of revelers in black tie who wanted face time.

That’s Joe Manchin’s world. His last counter offer for Build Back Better, which the pundits insist Democrats accept, excluded the expanded child tax credit. Here’s the world to which he’s subjecting millions of Americans, including children.

Meanwhile, Mary Beth Cochran, 52, worries she may have to quit her job in western North Carolina if the expanded tax credit vanishes and she no longer can afford the used car she bought with the extra federal funding.

"I'm not asking for a handout," she said. "This money is to help us get by so our children don't have to struggle.”

But let’s get back to Steve Clemons, whom Politico describes as the “Manchin whisperer.” He claims President Joe Biden lost Manchin’s vote on Thursday when he dared mention him by name in a perfectly polite statement describing the state of BBB negotiations. Clemons claims the statement “targeted” Manchin specifically and alone. Of course, Manchin was the main holdout. Manchin also appreciated that exalted status. Sherrod Brown (remember him?) is a senator from a state Biden lost and he doesn’t unilaterally demand that BBB is tailored specifically to his personal desires or he’ll withhold his vote. Every Democrat is the 50th vote, you know. It’s not like the number “50” is on Manchin’s jersey or something.

This is Biden’s statement, which Clemons suggests broke a “non-aggression” pact between the men.

I had a productive call with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer earlier today. I briefed them on the most recent discussions that my staff and I have held with Senator Manchin about Build Back Better. In these discussions, Senator Manchin has reiterated his support for Build Back Better funding at the level of the framework plan I announced in September. I believe that we will bridge our differences and advance the Build Back Better plan, even in the face of fierce Republican opposition.

My team and I are having ongoing discussions with Senator Manchin; that work will continue next week. It takes time to finalize these agreements, prepare the legislative changes, and finish all the parliamentary and procedural steps needed to enable a Senate vote. We will advance this work together over the days and weeks ahead; Leader Schumer and I are determined to see the bill successfully on the floor as early as possible.

This is the statement that was so injurious to Manchin he decided to punish innocent Americans. He's as much a malignant narcissist as Donald Trump. Clemons wrote in an op-ed for The Hill that Manchin’s name in the statement was a "breach of process, a breach of spirit, a breach of Joe and Joe working this out.” Note that Manchin still elevates himself to the level of the presidency but wants to simultaneously hide amongst his Senate colleagues.

Here’s more bullshit from Clemons:

Given the protests that Manchin’s family has experienced at his home, which is a boat in Washington Harbor — with folks harassing him, his wife and grandson by kayak around his boat and the gate to the marina — I knew this presidential statement was personalizing the game. It put his family at risk, in my view.

Just look at this harassment, and this risk!



No one (okay, no liberals) supports violence against politicians. However, Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema have both chosen to conflate that very real threat with the public’s constitutional right to seek redress from the government. This was never just a private matter between “Joe and Joe.” This was about Mary Beth Cochran affording the payments on her used jalopy so she could keep her job (because America also won’t invest in affordable, reliable public transit). Desperate people will follow Sinema into the bathroom or trail King Manchin to his yacht, but they just want answers and accountability. Engaging the public is part of the job but these assholes consider it beneath them.



Manchin is acting as if Biden violated Jane Austen-era rules of etiquette. It’s hard to see how he would survive as an actual Republican, a party that includes finishing school dropouts Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. Liberals at their worst employ 1990s-era PETA tactics. It’s like gangsta rap that never hardened over the decades. Meanwhile, the MAGA mob has terrorized the GOP into submissive sedition. They aren’t merely annoying, like beggars outside your mansion. They have threatened the lives of elections officials and their families. They are threatening school board members.

But those are all facts, and it looks like Manchin is completely irrational. He’s not a purely calculating opportunist like Ted Cruz, who’s at least predictable. He’s petty and cruel and those are chaotic traits. Like it or not, if Democrats push him too hard, he’s not above reinstalling Mitch McConnell as majority leader simply out of spite.

[Politico / Talking Points Memo]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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