Wednesday, October 20, 2021


It's possible that Joe Manchin wants President Biden's agenda enacted in a weak, shrunken, means-tested, fossil-fuel-friendly way. But Kyrsten Sinema not only appears to want to kill the Biden package -- or at least the part that isn't hard infrastructure -- she doesn't want to admit she wants to kill it. Instead, she claims to be open to negotiations while throwing newer and newer roadblocks in Biden's way. This, for instance:
The Wall Street Journal today reports that Sinema “has told lobbyists that she is opposed to any increase” in taxes on high-income individuals, businesses, or capital gains. Her opposition is reportedly “pushing Democrats to more seriously plan for a bill that doesn’t include those major revenue increases.”

If this report is true, it would likely be a death blow to Biden’s social agenda. Senate rules require that creating or expanding any social program — health care, child care, education, or anything else — can only be made permanent if it has some funding source. If Sinema refuses to support any tax increases on the wealthy, there’s no financing available to come anywhere close.
Her problem is that the rest of the party is willing to compromise, which means she needs to find new objections every time her Democratic colleagues make concessions so she can seem to be negotiatiing without actually trying to make a deal.

Of course, she could simply say she'll never get to yes under any circumstances, which would at least be an honest statement of her position. But she want to maintain the appearance of negotiating in good faith -- either that or her corporate owners want her to maintain that fiction.

This is how Republicans pretend to negotiate. Remember when John Katko, a close ally of House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, negotiated a deal to form a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot -- and then McCarthy and the rest of the party declared that the deal, though genuinely bipartisan, was unacceptable? Remember when Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate, negotiated a police reform bill with Democrats, then rejected the bill he negotiated, saying that it amounted to "defunding the police"?

The enemies of the Democratic Party obviously believe that there could be a price to pay if they appear to say no right away on key issues -- even though they plan to say no eventually. They obviously believe that if they fake good faith, they can reject what the Democrats want, even if they've already agreed to it, and trust that all Republican voters and many swing voters will believe them when they denounce the proposals as Democratic extremism.

So now this style of attack is coming from within the Democratic Party. And Democrats never seem to see it coming.

No comments: