It’s impossible to comprehend just how insulting Chuck Schumer’s threat of nuking the filibuster actually was when he initially made it on Monday afternoon.
By Tuesday, he was doubling down. If Republicans weren’t on board with the voting rights act, he was totally going to do it. He was also encouraging his own members to put pressure on…his own members – Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. He needed party unity in order to force the Republicans’ hand on the issue.
But… by Tuesday afternoon, he was walking it all back.
Asked about what might be changed in the Senate rules re: the filibuster, Schumer only says 'there are many different proposals out there and our caucus is discussing them.' But Schumer acknowledges there is no deal among Democrats. pic.twitter.com/qCfeeNLutS
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) January 4, 2022
Schumer’s fiery rhetoric does not even remotely match the reality all around him. He can’t threaten the Republicans with something when he doesn’t even have all the Democratic votes to make it happen. But this isn’t new, either. We knew going in that Manchin and Sinema were openly opposed to it. We have also heard reports of other Democrats who are quietly opposed to it. None of it is breaking news. It’s been the case since the 2020 election.
But Schumer believes two things: The first is that Americans are really, really stupid and will buy into the idea that it’s Republicans holding this up. Any brief amount of research shows you that is absolutely not the case, and the Americans who are paying any sort of attention have seen enough news reports to know that Manchin and Sinema are holding things up for the Democrats and President Joe Biden’s agenda.
The second thing that Schumer believes is that he has any sort of power in the Senate right now. The Democrats are in panic mode ahead of this year’s midterm elections, and it’s really every member for themselves as election day draws nearer and nearer.
I mentioned yesterday that if anyone is trying to help the Democrats here, it isn’t Schumer but Manchin instead.
That’s where Manchin could end up saving the Democrats in the Senate. He could keep Congress split, but only if the Democratic Party holds off on the Biden agenda.
If those Senate Democrats who are at risk don’t have to take a vote on a very progressive, very expensive bill, then there is less ammo to use against them. It could very well help them in the long run. It’s not a guarantee, but they would be much better off than the moderate Democrats who were forced to vote for the Biden agenda in the House before it got (predictably) shelved in the Senate. Now, those House Democrats have a weight around their neck that can and will drag them down.[…]
But what I can pretty confidently say is that Manchin is doing more to keep Democratic seats in Democratic hands than Schumer, Pelosi, the Squad, and the progressives trying to pull the party too far left. Manchin, more than most in his party, realizes that the voters put Biden into office in 2020 because they wanted the moderate candidate. Biden has turned on every one of those voters and is risking it all for a progressive legacy that can be very easily undone.
Manchin still wants to play this more strategically. He wants his seat, and he wants his party to move the ball down the field, not throw Hail Marys every play. They just won’t listen. The hero can’t be a hero when no one wants to be saved.
Manchin (and, to a lesser extent, Sinema) have pretty much guaranteed the Democratic agenda is dead. Schumer is all but admitting defeat when he says there is no deal among Democrats, and the White House has been all but silent on the issue.
The whole ordeal reeks of desperation. The Democrats are looking at a probable wipeout this year, and Republicans will control one or both chambers of Congress. It’s a problem that none of the vocal progressives care to acknowledge. They want to give themselves the power to pass anything by a bare majority so they can continue to push the country further to the left. But by giving themselves the ability to do that, they allow for the opposite to happen when Republicans inevitably take over.
If Republicans take control of the White House and have Congress, then they can do the exact same thing the Democrats want to do now, and they’ll be doing so with the Democrats’ blessing. They will have the power to pass with a bare minimum whatever agenda items they want, and it will be happily signed into law by a Republican president.
That is an inconvenient truth and one that Schumer and the gang don’t want to acknowledge. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure any of this out. But he wants to get Build Back Better and the (alleged) voting rights bill passed immediately, consequences be damned. He’ll lie to the American public to make it happen. The only problem is, he has no real power or clout among his colleagues, and the American public isn’t so stupid as to fall for any of it.