October 19, 2021 - 9:01 pm
A lust for attention is part of a politician’s job description. Sen. Joe Manchin, the Democrat from West Virginia, certainly doesn’t mind the spotlight. Neither does Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
The two contrarians continue to vex those on the hard left and President Joe Biden, who has cast his lot with Democratic extremists who disdain market economics in favor of the type of government central planning that forced millions to wallow in poverty throughout the 20th century.
Sens. Manchin and Sinema are the only two members of their party in the upper chamber to even question the Bernie Sanders agenda that the White House now eagerly promotes through its unprecedented spending plans. That’s a stark reminder of just how far left Democrats have staggered in recent years. Nevadans might note that their own two senators — professed moderates Catherine Cortez Masto or Jacky Rosen — have expressed nary a peep of concern about following the Vermont socialist down his primrose path.
While it’s heretical to say it in some circles, Sens. Manchin and Sinema may in fact be saving the party from its own tone-deaf woke activists. The president has no significant mandate to vastly alter the nation’s economic landscape, and there’s no indication that vital independent voters are itching for a socialist revolution.
So far, Sens. Manchin and Sinema have stood up to enormous pressure — progressive protesters even chased the Arizona senator into a bathroom to hector her. “It’s Washington’s enduring question,” The Associated Press reported this week. “What does Joe Manchin want?” The same could be written about Sen. Sinema.
Is it difficult to understand? Sen. Manchin has always been a reliable vote for his party, but he represents West Virginia, a state that Donald Trump carried in 2020 by 38 points. If he votes for the Sanders/Biden $3.5 trillion blueprint to expand American dependency, he’ll likely be handing his seat to the GOP in 2024. Sen. Sinema’s position is more nuanced, but suffice it to say that Arizona has yet to turn deep blue.
Sen. Manchin is no rousing advocate for limited government. But while progessives are clearly willing to suspend the laws of economics in order to impose their vision, many others aren’t. “Spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs,” Sen. Manchin said, “when we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity.”
Indeed. Whether Sens. Manchin and Sinema are standing for principle, engaged in an exercise of self-preservation or simply eager to maximize their power is irrelevant at this point. To the extent that they’re able to force Democrats to acknowledge even a modicum of fiscal reality, they’re doing the country an enormous favor.