Budowsky: Mad as hell at Manchin and Sinema
It is often said by some that Democrats are deeply divided. The more accurate way to state the fact is that a small handful of Democrats, including two Democratic senators (and many of their sources of money), and a small number of House Democrats, are deeply divided against President Biden, Democratic leaders, the overwhelming majority of Senate and House Democrats, the overwhelming majority of Democrats across America and a majority of American voters.
Because the stakes are so enormous, and the consequence of failure so devastating, like many Democrats in the House and Senate and many millions of Americans across America, I stand with Howard Beale in the brilliant film “Network,” who said “I’m as mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore.”
A small number of Democrats in Washington, raising a ton of money from special interests opposing the president’s program, should not seek to dominate the president and most Democrats in Congress and nationally! Not now. Not ever.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and the comparatively small number of House Democrats who agree with them should be respected. Their views should be considered.
But when Manchin says that President Biden and those who support his proposals are committing “fiscal insanity” — if Pinocchio made that statement his nose would be ten miles long. Paying for programs by raising revenues is not fiscal insanity. If Manchin, Sinema (or their sources of money) do not favor those revenues they should state why, but NOT accuse anyone who favors this of fiscal insanity.
If we should respect Manchin and Sinema, they should respect the rest of us. WE are, in fact, the overwhelming majority of Democrats and the majority of Americans who, in poll after poll, back most major elements of the Build Back Better program. They back lowering the price of prescription drugs, lower child care costs, lower education costs, tax increases on the most wealthy Americans and corporations, tax cuts and improved child care for working moms and dads with children, tax incentives and new efforts to battle climate change and countless other provisions in this landmark proposal.
When Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Primila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Democratic leaders say this, they are absolutely right! Arizona Democrats considering a primary challenge to Sinema in 2024 are right, and should be respected.
Similarly, a majority of American voters support legislation to promote voting rights. They back proposals to combat the worst attacks against democracy in the history of American democracy. When Democrats agree to virtually all of the proposals from Manchin on these matters Manchin, Sinema and Biden should ALL oppose filibusters to defeat them. Period. Now. Unequivocally.
Manchin should oppose filibusters to defeat his own proposals. It would be political suicide for any Democrat to support filibusters aimed to help former President Trump and Republicans destroy voting rights, undermine democracy and destroy Democrats in elections.
The way for Democrats to serve America and win the midterm elections in 2022, which now pose grave and extreme dangers to Democrats, is this:
Pass and enact ALL of the major components of Build Back Better for four full years, not ten years. Let the majority of voters who back them, benefit from them. Let Democrats champion them in the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential campaign against Republicans who want to repeal and destroy these popular programs.
This would significantly reduce the cost while protecting the popular and important benefits, which could be financed by popular tax increases — while allowing popular tax cuts Democrats propose and enacting the important bipartisan infrastructure bill.
President Biden should do one minute fireside chats about each popular program in Build Back Better. Democrats should run massive ad buys in support of these popular programs. Democrats can elect more Democrats to a more strongly Democratic Senate and House, so a handful of Democrats will not have power to sabotage what a large majority of Democrats stand for.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.