Manchin Monday Reads: Definitely Not a Man of his WordPosted: December 20, 2021
Hi, Sky Dancers from cold and gloomy New Orleans!
I always felt out of place in the nation’s heartland. The food was boring. The people did inexplicably rude things a lot in terms of what I was taught. I was a bank teller for a while at university and was told that I should call elderly people by their first names. My mother constantly complained when younger people did that to her or Dad feeling it was highly disrespectful. I just couldn’t do it. That was just one of the things she would’ve whooped me over. I used y’all when I taught which confused my students like crazy, People from Minnesota thought I had a southern accent when it was just my mother’s Missouri twang. So, my upbringing made a lot of sense once I got down here.
There are a lot of old-timey niceties and characteristics down here that aren’t as important as other places and they seem dated these days. One of the most cherished characteristics is being a “man of your word”. There’s another saying that “your handshake is as good as your word”. Senator Joe Manchin has monumentally failed that test. He’s not only failed that one but the one where your Senator is supposed to represent his constituent’s interests and not his own. That American Value is broadly shared and understood. I actually believe Joe may jump ship to become republican if the wind blows that way for the next Federal Election. I saw a reporter trying to get him to talk after coming out of Mitch McConnell’s office. I really didn’t believe he was up to anything good so who knows? Mitch certainly is wooing him. Lexi Lonas writing for The Hill wrote this three days ago:” McConnell: ‘It would be a great idea’ for Manchin to switch parties.
“As you know, he likes to talk,” McConnell said of Manchin. “It would not surprise you to know that I’ve suggested for years it would be a great idea, representing a deep-red state like West Virginia, for him to come over to our side.”
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” McConnell added.
Manchin, a former governor and centrist Democrat from ruby-red West Virginia has quashed thoughts on switching parties often in his time in political office.
Ruby-red West Virginia is right there at the bottom of the list of everything this country has to offer along with a lot of other Southern States including mine. You may notice that I’ve put links on today’s pictures. That’s because each one goes to an article about the hardscrabble life of many West Virginians. Senator Manchin has just taken jobs from their adults, food from their children, and health and education for everyone with his statements on Fox News on Sunday.
Joe Manchin obviously disrespects his voters. This headline is from HuffPo: “Joe Manchin Privately Told Colleagues Parents Use Child Tax Credit Money On Drugs. The West Virginia senator just killed Democrats’ agenda. In private negotiations, he questioned whether the poorest Americans would spend financial aid wisely.” That old chestnut has been disproven by a lot of researchers in my field of economics including super-libertarian Milton Friedman. But, there it is, poor people are poor because they are deficient and deserve it.
After months of haggling with President Joe Biden and other Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) dashed his party’s hopes on Sunday by announcing he wouldn’t vote for the Build Back Better legislation.
Publicly, his biggest gripes are about the cost of the bill. But privately, Manchin has told his colleagues that he essentially doesn’t trust low-income people to spend government money wisely.
In recent months, Manchin has told several of his fellow Democrats that he thought parents would waste monthly child tax credit payments on drugs instead of providing for their children, according to two sources familiar with the senator’s comments.
Continuing the child tax credit for another year is a core part of the Build Back Better legislation that Democrats had hoped to pass by the end of the year. The policy has already cut child poverty by nearly 30%.
Manchin’s private comments shocked several senators, who saw it as an unfair assault on his own constituents and those struggling to raise children in poverty.
Manchin has also told colleagues he believes that Americans would fraudulently use the proposed paid sick leave policy, specifically saying people would feign being sick and go on hunting trips, a source familiar with his comments told HuffPost.
Manchin’s office declined to comment for this story.In a statement on Sunday, he said he opposed the Build Back Better agenda largely because of its cost.
This quote is from the Greg Sargent Op-Ed from the above tweet.
Early Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the Senate will vote early next year on a new version of Build Back Better, after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) declared his intention to torpedo the proposal.
That’s a reference to Manchin’s decision to sink the centerpiece of President Biden’s domestic agenda on Fox News. Schumer says the Senate will debate a “revised version.”
There aren’t particularly strong grounds for optimism that a vote alone will pressure Manchin to shift. However, the fact that Schumer is telegraphing a vote on a new version is consistent with a scenario in which BBB is revised in keeping with Manchin’s concerns.
If there is any way to move Manchin to yes — and this is a very big “if” — it would be this one.
Which is why we should pay more attention to the news that Goldman Sachs has downgraded the U.S. growth forecast, in response to Manchin’s opposition to BBB. This is an indication of how isolated Manchin has become, and points to a new vulnerability in his position.
In its note, Goldman declared it had reduced its projection of gross domestic product growth to 2 percent from 3 percent for the first quarter of 2022, and reduced it by a bit less for the second and third quarters.
Note why Goldman did this. As it argued, this slowdown will be mainly because fiscal stimulus from the covid-19 rescue package earlier this year will wind down. Goldman projects that if BBB does not pass, that fiscal picture will be “more negative” than it might have been.
As one example, Goldman cites the expanded child tax credit, which was part of the covid relief package and now sends checks to most American families. If BBB fails, it will expire.
This blows up a key element of Manchin’s justification for opposing BBB. He says it will feed inflation and the debt, though as Jim Tankersley demonstrates, many economic experts think BBB won’t feed either.
Sargent suggests that when this happens that it should be named “The Manchin Slowdown”.
President Joe Biden was at home in Delaware Sunday when Sen. Joe Manchin appeared on Fox News to abruptly declare he could not support his sweeping social and climate plan. “I’ve tried everything humanly possible,” the West Virginia Democrat said, appearing remotely. “I can’t get there. This is a no.”
Biden, who learned of Manchin’s plans only minutes before the TV appearance, tried quickly to get the senator on the phone. But his attempts were unsuccessful.
In an equally surprising step, the White House torched Manchin afterward in a statement bristling with resentment that shattered the amity Biden had sought to cultivate.Biden personally signed off on the blistering statement issued by press secretary Jen Psaki after Manchin’s announcement on Fox News, according to a source familiar with the matter. While staff drafted language addressing Manchin’s specific concerns — on inflation, climate provisions and how the plan was paid for — Biden specifically instructed them to add that if Manchin stood by his comments, he had violated his word to the President.
Manchin is the topic du jour. Axios argues that Manchin may go Independent.
What he’s saying: Manchin also said if Democrats want to try and tackle a smaller package, they would need to put new legislation through committees and hold hearings on the programs.
- He also criticized leadership’s strategy, arguing they wrongly assumed “surely we can move one person, surely we can badger and beat one person up.”
- “Well, guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from, and they can just beat the living crap out of people and think they’ll be submissive, period,” Manchin said.
- Manchin also said he made clear to Democratic leadership that he disagreed with their approach of treating legislation “as if you have 55 or 60 senators that are Democrats, and you can do whatever you want.”
- “I said, I’m not a Washington Democrat,” Manchin told Kercheval.
This link comes from Michael Tomasky writing for The New Republic: “Joe Manchin Betrays West Virginia. The senator says he’s a “no” on Biden’s Build Back Better Act, ensuring that the struggling people of his state fall further behind.”
Joe Manchin’s net worth, according to the money-in-politics website Open Secrets, was $7.6 million in 2018, when he last sought reelection. Median household income this year in the state of West Virginia, according to the St. Louis Fed, is $51,615. That’s nearly $30,000 below the national average.
And this, in a nutshell, is American politics generally and the United States Senate particularly: a multimillionaire old white guy telling poor people that they just need to get off their asses and work and the government shouldn’t be helping them.
Although there’s still a chance Manchin may support some version of the Build Back Better Act, his announcement Sunday morning—on Fox News, natch—that he couldn’t vote for the existing version of the bill is politically devastating for his party and the president he presumably supported and voted for. That will be the focus of most of the punditry. But it’s even more devastating for the people of West Virginia, who are falling further behind the rest of the country with each passing decade and who have been sold a fantasy about the source of their problems and how they will be fixed.
The only thing I can say is that most rural ruby-red states are mixed up in the Trump Cult and Manchin’s state is likely no different. This is from Newsweek written by David T Freedman: “Millions of Angry, Armed Americans Stand Ready to Seize Power If Trump Loses in 2024” This feels like reading about those Confederate Deadenders that still run around the backwoods but many are also up in the plains states and other blue states with backwoods of their own that cling to a white christianist identity.
Mike “Wompus” Nieznany is a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran who walks with a cane from the combat wounds he received during his service. That disability doesn’t keep Nieznany from making a living selling custom motorcycle luggage racks from his home in Gainesville, Georgia. Neither will it slow him down when it’s time to visit Washington, D.C.—heavily armed and ready to do his part in overthrowing the U.S. government.
Millions of fellow would-be insurrectionists will be there, too, Nieznany says, “a ticking time-bomb” targeting the Capitol. “There are lots of fully armed people wondering what’s happening to this country,” he says. “Are we going to let Biden keep destroying it? Or do we need to get rid of him? We’re only going to take so much before we fight back.” The 2024 election, he adds, may well be the trigger.
Nieznany is no loner. His political comments on the social-media site Quora received 44,000 views in the first two weeks of November and more than 4 million overall. He is one of many rank-and-file Republicans who own guns and in recent months have talked openly of the need to take down—by force if necessary—a federal government they see as illegitimate, overreaching and corrosive to American freedom.
The phenomenon goes well beyond the growth of militias, which have been a feature of American life at least since the Ku Klux Klan rose to power after the Civil War. Groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, which took part in the January 6th riot at the Capitol and may have played organizational roles, have grown in membership. Law enforcement has long tracked and often infiltrated these groups. What Nieznany represents is something else entirely: a much larger and more diffuse movement of more-or-less ordinary people, stoked by misinformation, knitted together by social media and well-armed. In 2020, 17 million Americans bought 40 million guns and in 2021 were on track to add another 20 million. If historical trends hold, the buyers will be overwhelmingly white, Republican and southern or rural.
America’s massive and mostly Republican gun-rights movement dovetails with a growing belief among many Republicans that the federal government is an illegitimate tyranny that must be overthrown by any means necessary. That combustible formula raises the threat of armed, large-scale attacks around the 2024 presidential election—attacks that could make the January 6 insurrection look like a toothless stunt by comparison. “The idea that people would take up arms against an American election has gone from completely farfetched to something we have to start planning for and preparing for,” says University of California, Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler, an expert on gun policy and constitutional law.
You may continue to read the long and depressing read. What’s to be done with thee deadenders?
Anyway, I’m hoping you have a great week and holiday for those who have one to celebrate! Happy Christmas to you! I really hope this week doesn’t sent us way backward in the progress we made this year in fighting the pandemic.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?