The Biden Administration - the first 1,500 days

Oh I also forgot to mention that the people are furious that Joe reads of a Teleprompter. Such a weak mind!

WHOA! This surprises me!

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Politico Tuesday that he plans to support Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination for attorney general.

Why it matters: McConnell blocked Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, a move he called the “most consequential thing I’ve ever done.”

Of note: When asked by Politico whether he backed Garland for attorney general, McConnell said, “I do.”

The big picture: McConnell is the latest key Republican to indicate support for Garland in this role. Others to back Garland after previously blocking his path to the Supreme Court include Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

Can anyone explain this?

They’re hoping to get on Merrick’s good side, so he doesn’t drop the DOJ hammer on them?

I think that Biden has nominated Garland because he genuinely wants to restore the rule of law in the executive branch and he thinks Garland is the right choice to do this.

But McConnell and other Republicans may have decided that Biden has nominated Garland expecting him to be torpedoed by the Republicans.

In their devious minds, this would allow Biden to get the Democrats lined up behind his next, more partisan hatchet man nominee.

So they think they are putting one over on Biden by confirming his first nominee!

Republicans didn’t block Garland’s nomination to the Court because they disapproved of Garland. Obama picked Garland in part because at least some Republicans thought well of him. McConnell would have blocked any Obama nomination to the Court, because he was hoping to be able to hold off long enough to get a Republican POTUS so they could stack the Court. (Which happened.)

McConnell presumably figures that he’s not going to pull off blocking any and all nominations Biden might make for AG, so he might as well let Garland go through.

And of course an attorney general isn’t a lifetime appointment like a judicial seat is, nor is it as influential as a Supreme Court seat.

I look forward to seeing Garland in action.

At least so far, Manchin is just enough of a Democrat when it matters most. He’s basically supporting the stimulus bill (at least that’s what I recall). Manchin is your classic blue dog Dem, and he likes the swing power that comes with being in that position. It’s such a rarity to see a centrist with any kind of clout these days, but occupies that role, and it’d be best for progressives to tread lightly with him.

McConnell probably knows that Biden has enough votes (maybe barely but still enough) to get Garland’s nomination passed, so he figures there’s no point in wasting time trying to torpedo his nomination.

I can’t emphasize enough how absolutely critical keeping the senate and House are to the agenda: if we have another case of American idiot buyer’s remorse over a “ZOMG! librul socialist! He’s gonna take my guns!” then this country will go right back into its tailspin.

happy doggies. they look good against that shade of blue.

He opposes the $15/hr national minimum wage hike, which he (reasonably) argues should not really be part of a stimulus package but should be a bill on its own. There is some debate over whether reconciliation can be used to pass the bill through the Senate with that provision so that is actually a rational stance, although I’m sure he’s also getting pressure from business owners as that would almost double the current state minimum wage in West Virginia.

It is clear Manchin is enjoying his celebrity as the swing vote, and if he were using it in some way to engender any kind of actual bipartisanship I wouldn’t be so frustrated, but instead he is just using it as leverage for his own ends at a time when the GOP has made it utterly clear that their goals are obstructionism, redistricting, and limiting voting access to regain and maintain control indefinitely. The Democratically-controlled Senate has two years to support a Biden-Harris agenda to reverse at least some of the most egregious legislation and policies of the last two decades (and I’m including some Obama-era policies in there as well; the problems aren’t strictly partisanship) before the GOP takes back the Senate in 2022 (which is statistically very likely at this point) and puts the legislature back into do-nothing mode indefinitely. This isn’t a matter of vote along the party line to conform; it is vote to try to forestall the calamitous policies that have brought the nation to this point of both gross economic inequality and civil strife.

As for Manchin being a ‘moderate’; he just isn’t. He’s more conservative than even a number of Republicans in Congress by several measures, and while it used to be that there was ideological overlap between the two parties in decades past, the GOP has so purged its ranks of moderate Republicans that John McCain was considered a ‘centrist’ (and apparently by many a ‘traitor’) just for having rational discussions with prominent Democrats and defending Obama against slanderous accusations, and Liz Cheney and Susan Collins are now considered the leading ‘moderates’. Joe Manchin his highly conservative, and while I think having a conservative influence within the Democratic party to ask rational questions like “How much is this going to cost?”, “How are we going to pay for this?”, and “Will this really produce the result you intend?” is normally a good thing, in this case obstructing action and cohesiveness of the Democratic threatens the small period of time that the tenuous legislative majority has to address some major issues that the GOP has made clear they have no interest in fixing or working ‘across the aisle’ to address.

Stranger

Manchin is almost certainly the best we’ll possibly get out of WV. I suspect he’s just flexing his muscles with Neera Tanden – picking a relatively unimportant nomination to oppose as a token “conservative” act. His opposition to the $15 min wage is probably more about the economics of the big businesses in his state, but maybe he’ll be pushed on it. So far he hasn’t been the single swing vote against anything for Biden’s agenda, and hopefully that will continue.

I agree that he’s more conservative than moderate, but he’s just moderate enough. I take Manchin’s stances as a defensive position in a state that Trump won in 2016 and 2020 by an average of 41 percentage points. I agree: Manchin’s not great, just like Doug Jones wasn’t great. But I’ll take not great over shithouse bad any day. Manchin will get nominations passed. He will get stimulus passed. I’ll take that over the alternative: a Republican in Manchin’s place who won’t do any of that, and who will join other GOP radicals in peddling pro-authoritarian conspiracy theories.

Yeah, and this is weird because West Virginia used to be a reliably ‘Blue’ state in both state and federal elections. This just goes to show how badly the Democratic party has neglected to represent broad demographic interests, and while I can’t fault West Virginians for responding favorable to the party that at least gives them a nod, it represents an overall failure in moderation and representation that is crucial for a functioning democracy. Ping-ponging back and forth between ideological extremes might be a good circus act but it is not a sustainable way to run a nation.

Stranger

Agreed.

And I’m sorry, but Tanden was a bad nomination. I agree that she’s competent and capable and all that, but anyone with half a brain could have seen this train wreck coming a mile away. It’s not just Republicans who want to tank her nomination; progressives weren’t too happy with her either, and I’d argue that progressive opposition is probably what gave people like Mitt Romney and Susan Collins cover to toss a bone to the GOP base.

I don’t think it represents an overall failure in moderation on the part of Democrats . Their opponents successfully portrayed the leftmost wing of the party as its norm, and many people buy it.

It’s not just WV; the white rural Midwest has been lost by Democrats who are seen as a political party that cannot in any way identify with them.

One reason I think we ought to be careful with Manchin is that his existence is pretty strong evidence that the situation in white rural America is not completely hopeless for Democrats and progressives. Manchin’s existence actually should give Democrats a clue about how to make some inroads.

As I’ve pointed out, he will vote for stimulus, and while he might not vote for $15 minimum wage, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that he’d support a different minimum wage alternative. He might also support other things like better workplace protection, environmental laws, and yet more stimulus. So maybe one clue is, push for economic issues that centrists can agree on, even if they’re not quite ideal. Also, he will get nominations passed as long as they’re not too controversial, so maybe one more clue for progressives is, be careful about calling people out on twitter (hello, AOC); shut up and do your job.

Their opponents divided Democrats on economic issues and culture wars.

As I understand it, the Republicans objected to Neera Tanden because she said and wrote mean things about Republicans. Is that right? Because it sounds like she’d be perfect for the Republican slate in 2024, given what The Former Guy (as Joe Biden has named his predecessor) said and wrote about Republicans.

Their opponents smeared and lied about Democrats on economic issues and culture wars. The Republican Party is now nothing more than a party of lies, hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy but they’ve gotten really good at those things over the last several decades. And the Democrats are still playing catch-up on countering those things.