Manchin’s Gotta Get With the Program

Sen. Joe Manchin has succeeded in getting on even my nerves.

I have defended Manchin for his recalcitrance on getting on board with Pres. Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. While I like Biden’s plan, my point has been that the whole thing would have been DOA if Manchin didn’t win a state that went for Donald Trump by 39 points. The alternative to Manchin isn’t passing Bernie Sanders’ agenda; the alternative is Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and nothing at all. I thought that Biden should have just cut a deal with Manchin before he introduced anything since it was clear from the start that nothing could pass without him.

I also thought (and still believe) that the hard-left was wrong to hold the bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage to their social safety net and climate legislation. The left is primarily responsible for this impasse and Biden’s slumping numbers.

It’s time for Manchin to get with the program.

But Manchin has to be reasonable. He demanded and got a 50% reduction in the size of the soft infrastructure plan. He demanded and got the removal of paid family leave from the bill. (I disagreed with him on that, but a lot of good stuff remains.) He never liked linking the hard to the soft infrastructure bills, and he was right, but nonetheless they have been linked for several month.

Now Manchin is insisting that the hard infrastructure bill be passed first and the other bill sometime later. But that train has left the station. If Manchin wants the one he has to come to an agreement on the other.

I have been impressed by Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal. She has kept her head through all this and she continues to show patience for Manchin as he balks and balks and balks.

I’m a moderate. I’m grateful for Manchin’s ability to win in a deep red state. But enough is enough. Manchin got most of what he wanted. It’s time for him to get with the program.

Welcome to the 258th consecutive day of posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

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