Dumbocrat Joe Manchin and the Bipartisanship Trap

I’m convinced now, after his incoherent “op-ed” the other day, about his fond, Anne Frank-like hopes for bipartisanship and the sanctity of the filibuster, that Joe Manchin is an idiot.   As smart as Trump himself, or Kyrsten “just change human nature, parliamentary rules are forever” Sinema, is what I’m saying.  That our all-wise Founding Fathers made no provision for one or two idiots ending democracy was a serious oversight. It would be great to live in a country where majority rule, open public debate, bipartisanship and a sense of fair play were rewarded. We don’t live in that country, unfortunately.

The echoes of the high-minded liberal democracy in 1920s Germany, the Weimar Republic, relying on the better angels of Germany against a charismatic radical movement are hard to ignore (historians refer to this stance as the Weimar Republic’s “supine passivity” in the face of Nazism).  It’s part of the problem of having well-meaning “moderates” and “compromisers” like Biden, Pelosi and Schumer in charge of the opposition party in a time of unprincipled, fantasy-based, well-financed, no-compromise extremism on the other side.   

I don’t know if it’s a lack of guts, smarts, an inability to see just how radical and insane (and essentially unpopular, when you poll on actual policies) what they are up against is, or just Charles Koch’s complete victory in his well-engineered 50 year war against “majoritarian tyranny,” (his network has captured most state governments and now dominates the federal courts) but the Democratic party’s halting steps toward justice and accountability, even to investigate a carefully orchestrated, presidentially stoked lie-fueled (ad budget $50,000,000) riot to overturn an election, are really disturbing, as I don’t need to tell you, I’m sure. What do Democratic leaders not understand about Berlin 1932?

How Democrats got played into “bipartisanship,” by McConnell’s 51-49 Suck it Caucus is beyond me.   The stunningly partisan McConnell’s sudden call for bipartisanship, by the party that gave us the last two party-line 51-49 “Suck It” Supreme Court justices, is the glue trap the dim Mr. Manchin is firmly stuck to (and, yes, Trump won Manchin’s conservative state by 40 points…). We also recall that McConnell got his 6-3 Supreme Court by changing the filibuster rule for Supreme Court justices, as he will nuke the filibuster itself, should he regain majority power in the Senate.

Someone compiled this chart of major post Civil War civil rights legislation, to show that amendments and laws supporting real social change are rarely, if ever, passed on a bipartisan basis.  Those who want slavery, and believe that Negroes, because they are inferior, “have no rights a white man is bound to respect” (in the infamous phrase of Justice Roger Taney), are never going to suddenly compromise with those who want to amend the constitution to make slavery and racism at law illegal.

There was a kind of bipartisanship, since World War One, between Dixiecrats (racist southern Democrats who ruled the now solidly Red South) and racist Republicans, who united, time after time, to filibuster and block debate on bills that would have made lynching a federal crime, as well as the two twentieth century Civil Rights Acts.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act, which finally made enforcement of the 1870 Fifteenth Amendment possible, somehow passed on a bipartisan basis [1].

The most recent reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, 98-0 in the Senate, was struck down by John Roberts in his deeply flawed, unappealable 5-4 Shelby County v. Holder ruling back in 2013 [2] (tip of the cap to Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society for finding the weak-ass local Alabama case that allowed Roberts to neuter the Voting Rights Act and usher in the age of baseless fraud challenges to fraud-free voting).

The only thing recently that gave me any optimism was this bit from Heather Cox Richardson last night:

At the same time, McConnell appeared to win the filibuster over the January 6 commission only by appealing to his caucus to vote against it as a personal favor to him. Even so, lots of senators chose to be absent on that day. It is not clear to me that McConnell is confident he can hold the filibuster wall as he was able to in the past, and having continually to defend filibusters of popular measures can only hurt the Republicans.

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That 35 cowardly weasels can stop all debate, hell, even one can do it, with an email, under present McConnell rules (Lyin’ Ted Cruz had to read Green Eggs and Ham not long ago to filibuster, I think it was Obamacare, suggesting the GOP-majority must have tweaked the talking filibuster rule recently) makes me want to holler.

But maybe, hopefully, Heather Cox Richardson is right and this 35 out of 50 filibuster vote shows how weak and counter-productive (for the GOP) McConnell’s “scorched earth” threat really might turn out to be. Can it be much more scorched than this, Joe Manchin?

[1]

The House approved this conference report version of the bill on August 3 by a 328-74 vote (Democrats 217-54, Republicans 111-20),[48] and the Senate passed it on August 4 by a 79-18 vote (Democrats 49-17, Republicans 30-1).[20]:167[49][50] On August 6, President Johnson signed the Act into law with King, Rosa ParksJohn Lewis, and other civil rights leaders in attendance at the signing ceremony.[20]:168

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[2]

Today, thanks to the last two 51-49 Suck It justices added by Messrs Trump and McConnell, that vote to strike down the Senate’s unanimous will, and the enthusiastic support of former president George W. Bush, who signed the law after making some remarks about its importance to democracy, would be a “bipartisan” 6-3 overturning of majority rule.

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