At this moment (5:00 p.m., Friday, October 1), fierce “negotiations” continue within the Democratic Congressional caucus and between the caucus and the White House over what it will take to to get one or two holdout senators – the notorious so-called “moderate” Sens. Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona – to join with the 99% of their Democratic colleagues ready to pass sweeping infrastructure and safety net policy measures.
Leave aside here that only by the U.S.’s heavily skewed ideological standards can these characters be considered anything but straight-up right-wing corporatists; “moderates” in any meaningful sense they surely are not. That a couple of obstructionist members of the American party duopoly can subvert their party’s popular and sorely needed agenda is one of two breathtaking measures of our dangerously unprecedented political dysfunction. The first is of course the Republican party itself, which at this point clearly has no interest in governing in any semblance of a rational and cooperative manner. Already degraded to the level of a personality cult, the sole concern of Trumpublicans appears to be frustrating the Biden agenda, believing that political, economic, and civil chaos provides its best path to recapturing Congress in 2022 and the presidency in 2024. The suffering of the masses of Americans workers and families is meaningless to them. Universal pre-K education is meaningless to them. Investment in higher education opportunities for all who want it is meaningless to them. Addressing the existential climate crisis through a transition to green energy and green jobs is meaningless to them. Feeding programs for hungry children is meaningless to them. Making significant gains in reducing the growing ranks of the unhoused is meaningless to them. Helping impoverished families make financial ends meet is meaningless to them. Expanding health care benefits to the elderly and the poor is meaningless to them.
In their opposition to their own party’s consensus agenda, Manchin and Sinema, regardless of any disingenuous rationalization they might advance, in effect aid the Trumpublican cause of disruption and abandonment in service of a naked quest for power. There is no principle involved here. This is dysfunctional politics at its worst. We the people cannot afford it, and it will surely not end well.