by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There is perhaps no greater example of Democrats in disarray than everything to do with how they are handling Build Back Better. The legislation, a key part of President Joe Biden’s agenda, died last December when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) came out against it. Yet his fellow Democrats are still clamoring to revive it, as if it has any life left to it at this point. Biden just last Thursday tried to encourage passage of the bill in the Senate, even quipping that Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), whose district he was visiting, should convince Manchin to get it passed. A deep dive piece from Eli Stokols and Jennifer Haberkorn with The Los Angeles Times reveals, though, that Manchin isn’t the only one taking the blame.
The piece, last updated on Saturday, involved several, mostly anonymous Democratic senators, so take what you will from that. It’s pretty candid, though.
Early on the piece notes that “frustrated Democrats” blame “strategic blunders” from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. “The men too frequently sought to appease progressives and their allied groups while antagonizing the moderates needed to pass the legislation, known as Build Back Better, they say,” the report reads.
Yet after the bill failed, “Schumer and Klain doubled-down on the same strategy, pivoting to a quixotic showdown over voting rights that further alienated the moderate lawmakers they still need to revive at least part of the spending plan,” the report continues.
And it gets worse from there. …
… “They just won’t take the hits,” one Democratic lawmaker emphasized in response. “They tell everyone what they want to hear and they’re afraid to take the hits from activist groups, whether it’s on voting rights or other policy areas. And if no one is willing to take the hits, it’s anarchy.”
Further insight points to how Sens. Manchnin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) got the blame, with one Democratic senator pointing out an approach about confused priorities shows the majority leader “can’t say no to anybody.”