The Voter Suppression Will Be Televised
Before we watch Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin vote Tuesday on the voting rights bill they know won't pass due to the filibuster they defend, let's take a look at the Sunday shows.
Let's begin with NBC's "Meet The Press" and Chuck Todd. Specifically let's take a look at Todd's recap of the previous week's politics, according to this human embodiment of minimal effort:
"Biden has been unable to build a small coalition of governing Republicans" -- Chuck Toddpic.twitter.com/bkPGeOVu77— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1642345665
A giant failure in mainstream news media has been normalizing the bigoted and unproductive behavior of the GOP. Their refusal to govern is always framed as a Democratic Party problem. This allows the news media to "both sides" issues knowing that there aren't "both sides," and it allows people like Manchin and Sinema to claim a mantle of "bipartisanship" while actually doing nothing. Chuck Todd and others should start asking Republicans (and Sinema andManchin) why they are obstructionists who loathe their constituents, rather than continuing to cover for their lack of bipartisan results. Democratic politicians are constantly asked to "move to the center" while Republicans are absolved of any culpability as they drift further toward literal fascism. Their obstruction is just taken for granted, rather than exposed as anti-democracy.
One so-called "moderate" Republican is Senator Willard "Mitt" Romney, who went on the show to prove that exact point, about how it's somehow Joe Biden's fault Republicans refuse to govern:
First, Mittens pulled the old "So much for the 'tolerant left ..." card.
ROMNEY: Well, there's no question but that the nation is severely divided. President Biden said he was going to try to unite the country. Obviously, as you pointed out in the last segment, his comments in Georgia did not suggest he's trying to pull us back together again.
Then Mittens tried to gaslight people into believing they didn't elect a Democratic president to govern as a Democratic president.
ROMNEY: He's got to recognize that when he was elected, people were not looking for him to transform America. They were looking to get back to normal, to stop the crazy. And it seems like we're continuing to see the kinds of policy and promotions that are not accepted by the American people. [...] And the president needs to stop and reset and say what is it he's trying to accomplish. And if it's to try and transform America, he is not going to unite us. Bringing us together means finding a way to work on a bipartisan basis.
Sorry, Willard, that may be why you (and maybe Democrats like Abigail Spanberger) voted for Biden (if he didn't just write in his wife's name like a coward this time), but we all listened to Biden campaigning on restoring the "soul of the nation," rather than just saying "I'm not gonna be THAT guy" while pointing at a picture of Trump.
Then Romney basically gave away the game Republicans have been playing from the jump, with useful idiots like Sinema and Manchin helping:
ROMNEY: He had one success, the infrastructure bill, and that was done by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate working together. Build on that kind of success.
In other words, give Republicans everything they want and, if McConnell can use it as a double-edged sword, they'll work with President Biden. The infrastructure bill, as necessary and meaningful as it may have been, provides the GOP with the ability to deflect criticism of being obstructionist or anti-democratic. The GOP will enjoy ribbon-cutting ceremonies, tout what they brought to their states, and play clips of Sinema or Manchin or Speaker Pelosi saying "we need a strong Republican Party" any time a Democratic candidate calls them on being a danger to democracy.
The infrastructure bill was a pawn in McConnell's political chess game, and now it looks like the GOP is trying to see if the Democratic Party will fall for it again with their whole charade about reforming the Electoral Count Act.
ROMNEY: The group, about 12 Senators, Republicans and Democrats, that are working on the Electoral Count Act, we'll continue to work together. Sadly, this election reform bill that the president has been pushing, I never got a call on that from the White House.
Wait, what? Romney needs a special call to read the bills he's supposed to vote on? He needs a special reminder that voting rights are a good thing? Of course not. Willard is just acting this way because the GOP is trying to shift focus onto the Electoral Count Act. It's a pretty obvious ploy.
Some Republicans are starting to float the idea of fixing the Electoral Count Act instead of enacting Freedom to Vote/John Lewis Voting Rights. \n\nDon't fall for it. The ECA needs fixing but we need comprehensive voting rights legislation to protect democracy.— Marc E. Elias (@Marc E. Elias) 1639957067
Wonkette explained why this is all BS here. Read it.
And that'll do it for Sunday shows. Have a week!
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Your friendly neighborhood Puerto Rican Political Freelance Writer for @wonkette. Pop Culture observer, Amateur Movie reviewer & Comics fan. Former Active Duty Marine. All opinions are mine only.