Manchin Monday Reads: Definitely Not a Man of his Word

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.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday told reporters that “it would be a great idea” for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to switch to the Republican Party.

The comment came after McConnell and Manchin had a meeting as negotiations continue for President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, The Associated Press reported.

“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.

The Struggles of West Virginia West Virginia Is Dealing With an Economic and Social Crisis. So Why Do People Stay?

Sargent suggests that when this happens that it should be named “The Manchin Slowdown”.

CNN describes “How months of talks between Biden and Manchin over Build Back Better broke down .”

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?

37 Comments on “Manchin Monday Reads: Definitely Not a Man of his Word”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. NW Luna says:

    That’s a fantastic presentation of “Peace Train”

  3. NW Luna says:

    Manchin … Yes, if you’re a Democrat, whether a DC Democrat or a WV Democrat, you are expected to promote and uphold policies that benefit the the rank and file — workers, children, mothers, retired persons — and not the policies that reward wage theft and obscene corporate profits.

    Between DINOs like Manchin and the ignorant, vindictive anger of white right-wing gun crazies, America’s future does not look good. “In 2020, 17 million Americans bought 40 million guns and in 2021 were on track to add another 20 million.” Appalling.

    Of course, they complain that government is “overreaching,” yet governmental overreach of women’s bodies is just fine with them. Ach, I’m expecting reason from those who don’t even know what that is.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Because women aren’t seen as people. Let’s face it.

      • quixote says:


        The US has morphed into two countries. Whether women are seen as actual people is just one of the bedrock differences in mentality.

        The relative priority of democracy or white male status is another.

        There’s no common ground or even common vocabulary across the two mindsets. (I mean “rescue the country from Biden’s overreach”??! He’s given you money. Hello? Explain how that’s so oppressive. Etc etc etc. Of course, what they mean by it is, “doesn’t put white men first.”)

        Unless there’s a way to get everyone back on the same page again, it seems like just a matter of time until a physical split follows the mental one.

    • quixote says:

      According to experts, the way to persuade someone to change their mind is to have the message delivered by a very loved/respected member of that community. So I’m kind of boggled that the crazies don’t absorb the message when it’s delivered by the Dump.

      The last time (and only?) time he mumbled a suggestion to a crowd about getting vaccinated, they booed him then too.

      The antivax is stronger than anything with these people.

  4. NW Luna says:

    Well, well, well. It appears drug companies know they are pricing drugs too high.

    Biogen cuts Alzheimer’s drug price 50% months after approval

    Biogen is slashing the price of its Alzheimer’s treatment after it debuted to widespread criticism for an initial cost that could reach $56,000 annually.

    The drugmaker said Monday that it will cut the wholesale acquisition cost of the drug by about 50% next month. That means the annual cost for a person of average weight will amount to $28,200.

    That’s still $28,200 too much for a drug which has only theoretical benefit, and did not show clinical benefit in trials. It should never have been approved in the first place.

  5. djmm says:

    I think he let out his real concern: he cannot trust his constituents. He offered a package that included pretty much everything except the child credit, because he does not trust his constituents to use it honestly.

    I have relatives of relatives whom I guarantee you would use extra money for drugs and who would lie about being sick if they’d get paid for getting off work. So will there be people like that who get this aid? Absolutely. There will also be a lot of struggling families who will not behave like that who get this aid. I’d like to think the number of the latter group far exceed the numbers of the former group.

    So is there a way address his concerns? Is there a way to tie the money to the costs of food, power, clothes, school supplies and shelter for the persons it is issued to? I would think it if came as restrictive gift cards that could only be used for that purpose and require a thumbprint or some other id, it might work, albeit much less efficiently.

    One thing we do not want is for Senator Manchin to switch parties. Senator McConnell has done enough harm to this country. I wish he were different and know having only 50 Democratic Senators, with two much more conservative than the rest, is not good. Having Senator McConnell as Speaker again would be much, much worse.

      • NW Luna says:

        Agree. After I thought a bit more about the implications of Manchin switching parties — took about 30 seconds — I realized McConnell as Majority leader again would be a nightmare.

    • darthvelma says:

      We don’t require rich people to jump through hoops to get the tax breaks we know they spend on frivolous bullshit.

      We don’t need to thumbprint poor people.

      • dakinikat says:

        Poor shaming is an American Pasttime.

      • djmm says:

        That is a good point. I guess I did not think using fingerprints as shaming people. California takes fingerprints of all drivers and lots of people use it for their phones.

        And yes, no telling what the rich use their tax breaks for.

        • djmm says:

          Another point though: everyone with children right now would be getting the child tax credit, so everyone would be going through the same steps.

          Sen. Manchin has indicated he would be more comfortable if there were means testing. Perhaps the credit could get smaller with people making over $150k (that’s not as much money as you might think in NYC or California) and wink out at a higher number.

    • quixote says:

      There are papers published on the effectiveness of gatekeeping and different approaches to it. (Not that I can find links to any right now 🙄 ) Bottom line: gatekeeping *always* wastes more resources than it saves.

      *Everybody* is better off if the pennypinchers could get over themselves and stop worrying about the pennies that go to the “wrong” people.

      But that message is so counterintuitive to so many people, it never gets across.

    • roofingbird says:

      WV was hit the hardest with the opioid epidemic. 1 in 10 were addicted in some counties. With inadequate resources, its got to be a mess as folks have lost the Purdue supply. It seems worthy of its own tailored state of emergency.

      • NW Luna says:

        All the more reason to give that area aid in the form of increased health services, and to repair & build up infrastructure which will create good-paying jobs.

  6. NW Luna says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Politico: Biden and Manchin speak. The two connected and there is a sense that talks around Build Back Better aren’t done yet.

    Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and President Joe Biden spoke Sunday night after a major blowup in negotiations around the president’s domestic agenda, three people familiar with the call told POLITICO.

    The conversation ended with a sense that negotiations would, in fact, resume around the Build Back Better Act in some form in the new year. The tone of conversation was cordial and it was agreed that they would speak again on legislative priorities.

  9. MsMass says:

    Paul Begala has posted 3 maneuvers Biden and the Dems can pursue : piecemeal, executive orders, take it to the voters. Provides some political history to back up his points.

    Because Manchin pisses me off so badly, I’m trying to pick myself up from the floor. I want to believe that we can still make a difference and there’s still hope.

    • dakinikat says:

      I really hope so too. Perhaps a few townhall sessions would convince Machin and Sinema that they’re out of step. POTUS should consider that.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Omicron now is 73 percent of cases in the U.S. That is not good.

    • NW Luna says:

      Yikes! But after all, its trademark is increased ability to spread.

      I went to a concert last night and only because masks and proof of vax were required to get in, and because the musician is my most favorite living musician. Then after entering we saw that the venue had drinks for sale, and even some food items. What’s the effing point of masks and vax cards when people, including no doubt some infected but asymptomatic people, can take off their masks to eat, drink, cough and sneeze?