Saturday, July 16, 2022

Sure, Joe Manchin is a dick, but what we do without him?

Look, I hate Joe Manchin as much as anyone else... no, wait. Others hate him much more than I do. Let me reset.

Joe Manchin, annoying progressives again

I will start with an overview - both the good and bad. Because we (Democrats) forget the good he does in our rush to fix the world.

Joe Manchin is a conservative Democrat Senator from West Virginia. He is a bit of a throwback from the days when conservatives (little c) still had a place in the Democratic Party and liberals (little l) had a place in the Republican Party.

He gets a lot of (deserved) shit from other Democrats when his votes are not forthcoming on Democratic priorities. Because there is a even number of Republican and Democratic Senators and the Democratic Vice President breaks a tie, his vote is critical. Just as every other Democratic vote is critical. But he is the most conservative and therefor he is often the blocking Senator on items he does not agree with.

So he is a dick for most progressives. And I have cursed him too.

But, let's look at this a different way. In particular, how he has been great for us.. Without his vote, Republicans would be in charge and Democrats would get nothing done. Zero. WITH his vote we put a very progressive Clack woman on the Supreme Court. With his vote, we passed a gun safety bill - no matter how ineffectual. With his vote, we extended family support during the pandemic. Even in his latest denial of votes for clean energy, he did promise his vote to drive prescription drug prices down and to support Medicare expansion to the poor.

We can also count on him to keep his word, as annoying as that word can be. He refused to extend more aid (past $2 billion) for fear of inflation - a fear that has been proven correct. And he will not support clean energy. He is Senator from West Virginia, coal capital of the country, and one of the most economically poor states in the nation. He opposes clean energy because 1) his voters need those jobs and 2) because his is funded by coal companies. He has been pretty damn open about this.

Without him, West Virginia would send a Republican Senator to the Senate. And Democrats would get zero through the Senate. West Virginia goes Republican in state votes about 65% to 35%, so Manchin is critical for us.

Does he annoy the hell out of me, yes. Do I think we could do more with a 2 or 3 vote cushion, hell yes. But is he better than a Republican alternative, YES. We all do well to remember that.

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