Commentary

Moderate Dem Senator Growing Increasingly Frustrated as Media Keeps Hounding Him with Filibuster Question

The media continues to make Joe Manchin sound like Nick Saban at a news conference in which questions are asked.

A day before Republicans successfully filibustered the proposed Jan. 6 commission last week — a move that would eventually leave the somewhat moderate West Virginia Democrat steaming from the ears, according to Axios — he erupted on reporters over their continued harassment about whether he would support eliminating the institutional check (particularly with the expectation that Republicans would block the commission).

“I’m not separating our country, OK?” Manchin said Thursday, according to The Hill. “I don’t know what you all don’t understand about this. You ask the same question every day. It’s wrong.”

This is not the only time Manchin has fumed at members of our fine establishment media.

Also Thursday, CNN’s Manu Raju applied the squeeze and Manchin responded thusly, according to CNN: “I’m not ready to destroy our government, no.”

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He also said Tuesday, “This is the long game, not the short game.”

This sort of thing is nothing new from Manchin, who also objected in April 2019 when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to change Senate rules to reduce the time spent debating most presidential nominees, according to Politico. At the time, the Manchin team published a news release on the senator’s official website entitled: “Manchin Only Senator to Vote Against Nuclear Option in 2013, 2017 and Today.”

“The solution to obstruction isn’t ruining the Senate,” he argued on the floor of the upper chamber that month. “It’s outreach. It’s compromise. It’s finding solutions that make a bunch of people on the far left and the far right very uncomfortable and mad sometimes. Until we’re willing to do that, the hard work, this institution is going to get worse.”



More than two years later, the West Virginia senator is still defending Senate precedent, authoring an Op-Ed in The Washington Post this past April headlined: “I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”

In it, Manchin stated for the record: “I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”

And he had said it before.

The month prior, in March, Manchin had vociferated at reporters after it became clear Democrats wouldn’t get their proposed federal minimum wage hike. As Business Insider reported, Manchin exclaimed “What don’t you understand about ‘never?'” — adding a comment that took the Lord’s name in vain to highlight his point — when pressed on his defense of the filibuster.

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So why won’t the establishment media take no for an answer? Are reporters clueless, admirably persistent or just sinisterly motivated?

The truth is that they are activists, which means all of the above.

Reporters keep hounding Manchin because the Democratic Party has a deeper strategy at work and the establishment media is just the communications wing of the Democratic Party.

President Joe Biden was elected to be a return to normalcy. But Democrats are trying to create a new normal.

In short, this means that the Biden administration agenda is terrifying to the average, reasonable American.

Before they get walloped in the midterms, Democrats are fixing to rewrite the American bargain between government and citizen. This means they need to employ the free press to apply pressure where needed in the interest of speeding up the timeline — and the free press takes its orders dutifully when they emanate from Democrats.

It comes down to this: There isn’t going to be bipartisan support for remaking the American system of government on the back of a bunch of manufactured crises. And Democrats weren’t elected for that anyway, which is why voters didn’t equip them with the requisite substantial majorities.

Rather than eliminate the unpopular parts of their agenda, Democrats would rather just eliminate Republicans from the equation. Manchin stands in the way of that because it would destroy the U.S. Senate, which he reveres more than politics.

It is not obvious that Manchin is secretly sympathetic to his Republican colleagues or terrified of the moderate voters in his red-leaning state.

He seems most concerned about the long-term consequences of turning the Senate into a glorified House of Representatives in which popular passions reign and deliberative old-timers are run out of work by revolutionaries who tear down the fence before learning why it is there to begin with.

The media will continue to treat Manchin like an uncooperative employee because he works for the public and media outlets fancy themselves its voice.

Will Joe Manchin vote to eliminate the Senate filibuster?

In reality, the establishment media is made up of activists working on behalf of a political party, who take their cues from the people who they have been given the constitutional right to hold accountable.

For his part, Manchin is just an institutionalist, a genuine good old boy of American politics. He and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are about the only two Democrats standing between the return to normalcy and the new normal.

Manchin has more reverence for the American system of government itself than for what it can be used as a club to accomplish. That is worth praising, provided he remains steadfast, which history suggests he will.

The media is the unstoppable force and Manchin is the immovable object. Hanging in the balance is the greatest experiment in world history.

Something of that importance is worth defending, even when it means getting harangued by stooges with notepads and tape recorders.

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Kevin Catapano graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2021 with a bachelor's of arts in political science. While studying, he was a weekly columnist for the student newspaper and a staff writer for the UConn Undergraduate Political Review.
Kevin Catapano graduated from the University of Connecticut in May 2021 with a bachelor's of arts in political science. While studying, he was a weekly columnist for the student newspaper and a staff writer for the UConn Undergraduate Political Review.




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