Friday, July 16, 2021

What's Clear Today: Washington Dems Are NOT Going to Force the Voting Rights Issue


...momentum on Capitol Hill has palpably shifted away from the voting rights push....

--Mike DeBonis, WashPost

Sen. Joe Manchin
"Folksy is as folksy does"

Yeah, we can tell. Voting rights, schmighter lights. That's yesterday's cause. Today what's exciting the Senate is the budget agreement, a whopping big budget negotiated by moderates and progressives, particularly senators Mark Warner (Virginia) and Bernie Sanders (Vermont). 

So while the Texas Democrats are being hailed as "brave, bold, and courageous" (Chuck Schumer), as "defenders of the Constitution" (Jeff Merkley),  and as "freedom fighters" (Amy Klobuchar), they're also being parked in Back Burner Plaza. Hope they like the view for the next long month because their mission hit its media peak days ago and nothing's changed. Meanwhile, praise of their Texas courage costs nothing, while action has become impossibly pricey for Democrats prone to panic.

The prime target of the Texans' attention, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, apparently presented a stone wall, although he visited amicably with the Texans (folksy is as folksy does). But he's not budging, at least not without presidential pressure, which ain't coming, or the calling of the question on the Senate floor. Forced to vote, what's the fallout for him? And for us?

Bottomline: President Joe Biden himself -- ex-Senator Joe Biden -- favors not the suppression of the filibuster. I had not wanted to believe it, but isn't it clear by now? He's a traditionalist, sentimental about the unique and arcane traditions of the Senate, and he clearly has no stomach for squelching one of those traditions.

Barring Biden's pressure on Manchin, Chuck Schumer could announce that there'll be no August recess at all until there's a vote on limiting the filibuster, carving out a ban on the Rule of 60 when a Constitutional right also hangs in the balance. But Schumer has seemed frozen -- not a good look. Has Manchin threatened to re-register as Republican if the Democrats get too frisky?

Meanwhile, the president came to Capitol Hill for lunch with the Senate Democratic Caucus two days ago, a meeting reported as upbeat and congratulatory because it was devoted "to the massive multi-trillion-dollar climate and safety-net plan, not to breaking a voting rights stalemate months in the making."

Voting rights? All but abandoned, on their way to being forgotten.

If the citizens whom the Senate thinks will benefit most from that big budget cannot get access to a ballot, cannot participate in the functioning of democracy, then all the spending in the world won't save us from the return of Trump.

No comments: