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Thomas Gallatin / Jun. 7, 2021

Manchin Sticks a Fork in Dems’ HR 1 Power Grab

The West Virginia senator declares that he will vote against both HR 1 and eliminating the filibuster.

The Democrat senator from the deep-red state of West Virginia showed that he’s more concerned about being beholden to his constituents than to advancing his party’s power plays. Senator Joe Manchin penned an op-ed in West Virginia’s Gazette-Mail over the weekend, sending a clear response to Joe Biden’s not-so-veiled rebuke over his refusal to go along with Senate Democrat desires to eliminate the filibuster. “Partisan policy making won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it,” Manchin wrote. Therefore, he declared, “I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster.”

Last week, Biden asserted, “I hear all the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get [HR 1] done?’ Well because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.” Once again, facts don’t appear to matter to Biden when he’s spinning a yarn, as the record shows that both Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) — the other apparent reference — have voted with Biden 100% of the time thus far.

Manchin contends that the biggest problem with the Democrats’ “For the People Act” is its partisan nature, observing that not one Republican has voted in favor of it. “Voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen,” he argues. The reality is that, for Democrats, the partisanship is the point. Democrats’ bill is so mendacious, tilted in their favor, and flagrantly unconstitutional that no Republican could ever support anything remotely like it. Manchin’s tone it down message is far from sufficient.

Meanwhile, like Sinema in her defense of the Senate filibuster last week, Manchin noted that the Founding Fathers wisely constructed the Senate as a check against absolute power, intending “specific checks and balances to force compromise that serves to preserve our fragile democracy.” At one time this perspective would have been widely held by the majority of lawmakers in both parties, but in this modern era of hyper-partisanship the majority of Democrats have heeded the siren call of power over principle.

In any case, Manchin’s declaration makes it somewhat official — the Democrats’ prospect of eliminating the filibuster in order to get HR 1/S 1 onto the desk of Biden is all over but the shouting.

Speaking of shouting, though, Manchin received an earful from former ESPN anchor and Leftmedia pundit Jemele Hill, who ridiculously asserted via social media: “Record number of black voters show up to save this democracy, only for white supremacy to be upheld by a cowardly, power-hungry white dude. Sen. Joe Manchin is a clown.” The only clown here appears to be Hill.

Manchin may or may not be truly bound by principles. He does have a “D” after his name, after all. But he is at least keenly aware of political reality in a state Donald Trump won by 39 points.

HR 1 may be in a ditch, again, but Democrats did manage to pull off a public relations coup. As seasoned journalist Brit Hume observed: “The Democrats have succeeded in one way, and that is they’ve got everybody referring to [HR 1] as a ‘voting rights’ bill. Who is against voting rights, nobody.” They succeeded in making it appear Republicans were against “voting rights.”

(Updated)

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