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So Far Past the Rubicon

Manchin and Sinema's Reaction to Biden's Filibuster Pitch Was Cold-Blooded...And Absolutely Legendary

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

What exactly would you say you do here? It’s the classic line from the film Office Space. That line should be directed at Joe Biden because the man is just a waste of space at this point. The only successful part of his trip to the Hill was that he didn’t trip going up the steps. Biden made one last-ditch effort to get support to tweak the filibuster rules to ram through the Democrat’s shoddy elections bill. It’s not about the integrity of our elections. The bill federalizes the races and makes sure the tilt is always to the Left. It’s a ‘Democrats can only win’ elections bill. Period. For weeks, both Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) were quite adamant that they were not keen on nuking the filibuster for this bill. Manchin did his usual no, but I’ll hear out the arguments bit. Sinema was a clear ‘hell no.’ And that didn’t change after today. In fact, both had ice in their veins after Biden’s visit. They’re not budging. Sinema took a machete to the plan in a floor speech yesterday, with Manchin once again delivering a kill shot from the tall grass (via Axios):


Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reiterated his stance against reforming the filibuster in a statement Thursday, saying, "I cannot support such a perilous course of action."

Driving the news: President Biden earlier in the day attended the Senate Democratic caucus lunch to make a case for reforming the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

The backdrop: The House of Representatives earlier Thursday passed a voting rights bill that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment Act.


What they're saying: "I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster," Manchin said.

"The filibuster plays an important role in protecting our democracy from the transitory passions of the majority and respecting the input of the minority in the Senate," he added.

The best part is that Biden’s visit made things worse. Manchin and Sinema doubled down on their filibuster positions. And they weren’t the only senators who were uneasy about this move. Biden’s unhinged speech in Georgia also didn’t help (via Politico):

Thursday was a painful day for Senate rules reformers. The commander-in-chief coming to the Senate for a final push on rules changes couldn't shake the resistance of Manchin and his fellow centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

In fact, Manchin and Sinema are only digging in.

After the caucus meeting, Manchin declared in a new statement that “I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.” He cited Byrd’s 2010 Senate Rules Committee testimony, in which Byrd emphasized the need to protect the filibuster but also decried its excessive use. His stiff-arm was a major blow to Biden and to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s push for Senate rules changes along party lines.


Biden had prepared remarks for the meeting but instead opted to speak off-the-cuff, recalling that he got the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) to support the Voting Rights Act while they were both in Congress and arguing that a majority of today's Republicans today wouldn’t support that landmark bill. Biden told senators he couldn’t remember a time in U.S. history where a party had been so enthralled to one person as the GOP is to former President Donald Trump.

Unlike Manchin, Sinema did not ask Biden a question during his roughly 90-minute visit with the caucus. There might not have been much to say: Sinema made crystal-clear during her speech that while she supports voting and election reform bills, she “will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.”

Many Democrats declined to comment on Sinema’s prebuttal to Biden, which privately rankled some who thought she should at least hear the president out. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) observed: “The timing is interesting.”


He’s lost it. No one respects him, and no one fears him. His approval rating is in the low 30s. If anything, it would be best for Democrats to keep the president in the cupboard since he’s a cancer to the party everywhere. It also showed the progressive wing of the Democratic Party once again that Biden can’t deliver. That’s twice now Biden has struck out. Congressional Democrats cannot count on the bully pulpit to get things done because Biden short circuits pervasively. He’s frail, stupid, and too slow to be effective. His vaccine mandate got shredded by the Supreme Court, Build Back Better is six feet under, and this joke of an elections bill is dead now too, along with gutting the filibuster. That’s on top of sinking approval ratings, rising inflation, a border crisis, and a supply chain crisis that’s now leaving grocery stores barren. Oh, and he didn’t shut down COVID.

The man can’t get anything done. He can’t persuade any members of his own party. Even the easy stuff is a laborious task. He’s a failed president—and we’re still not even a year into this administration.  

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