Manchin Should Sit Down With McConnell

[ Posted Monday, June 14th, 2021 – 16:19 UTC ]

The two most powerful men on Capitol Hill should really sit down and have a talk with each other. It'd be risky, but maybe it's the only way the situation could improve. Senator Joe Manchin should invite Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to lunch, and the two should spend the entire time talking about the concept of bipartisanship. Of course, the risk involved in this strategy would be if McConnell instead actually talked Manchin into switching parties (which has to be considered a real possibility, at this point). But the benefit could be Manchin coming to a new understanding of how there just is never going to be any bipartisanship on the budget, on voting rights, on the 1/6 commission, or on just about anything else of any importance at all.

Perhaps Joe could begin by asking Mitch about his recent statement on confirming Supreme Court justices? Just a suggestion. Here is an extra-snarky take on what McConnell just said on the subject:

In January, [Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell's Republicans lost the majority and, with it, the ability to direct judicial confirmations. But asked on Monday what playbook he would apply were a Supreme Court vacancy to open up in 2023 if Republicans retook the Senate, McConnell's answer was, as always "probably the one that gives the right more power."

It would be "highly unlikely" that a Republican-controlled Senate would consider a [President Joe] Biden appointment in 2024, McConnell assured conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, citing the argument he and his allies invented last year that when the Senate and presidency were under the control of different parties this was an important standard to uphold. Hewitt pushed McConnell a bit on this: Would that hold even 18 months out from an election -- that is, for most of the second half of a president's term?

"We'd have to wait and see what happens," McConnell replied.

Again, expert political observers might suggest that this indicates a general reticence from McConnell to work with his political opponents.

Or perhaps Manchin could ask McConnell about the other not-so-subtle thing McConnell had to say about what the Senate Republicans are all about, these days (from earlier in the same article):

A pretty good indication of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) view of the need to compromise with Democrats can be derived from careful, studious analysis of a cryptic comment he made in May.

"One hundred percent of my focus is standing up to this administration," McConnell said of President Biden's policy agenda, the sort of subtle political statement that requires experts to read the tea leaves.

Perhaps then one glaring fact might penetrate Manchin's skull: Republicans do not care about bipartisanship one tiny little bit, and they will always use their partisan advantage in any way possible to grab and hold onto power. Even if it means violating norms which have held in this country since its founding. Even if it means dirty tricks, such as creating an opportunity for the next presidential election to be stolen. As McConnell clearly shows, Republicans no longer have even the tiniest shred of shame left (not that they had all that much to begin with). They will do anything -- even denying a Democratic president a Supreme Court pick eighteen months before the end of his term. Getting, maintaining, and wielding power is all they care about, period. It is certainly all that Mitch McConnell cares about, and he has enough of an iron fist within his caucus to deny the 10 votes Democrats would need to pass any meaningful legislation at all, so bipartisanship is completely impossible as long as McConnell is still around.

In fact, the entire reason Democrats are pressuring Manchin to at least pare back the filibuster in a tiny way is to protect voting rights. And the entire reason voting rights need protection right now is because the Republican Party, en masse, has launched a full-on assault against this bedrock of democracy. This is a completely partisan effort. One party is for voting rights, the other party is attacking them. Maybe this is why we have political parties in the first place -- to show such stark differences to the public?

Manchin's current position is that the only way to fight back against this partisan Republican assault is if enough Republicans suddenly see the light and change their lowdown ways. Which, with McConnell cracking the whip behind them, is just never going to happen. Why should it? Attacking voting rights is now a core part of the Republican agenda. The bigger question, of course, is: Why should anyone even think that there could be any bipartisanship to be found on the issue? It makes absolutely zero sense.

Manchin, by refusing to even consider changing the filibuster so that bills protecting constitutional rights don't need a supermajority, is not just tying one hand behind the Democratic Party's back -- it is instead locking both hands in handcuffs behind the back and then handing the key over to the guy who's about to pummel you senseless.

Mitch McConnell not only knows this down to his bones, he is feeling so comfortable with his position that he will freely admit it out loud. Bipartisanship simply will never be a consideration in a McConnell-led Senate, period. Republicans just don't care about bipartisanship, except when they are in the minority. They never reciprocate at all, and in fact they spend their times dreaming up even more ways to be even more partisan -- like denying a sitting president any Supreme Court picks for half his term.

So Manchin really should invite Mitch over for lunch. Because my guess, at this point, is that McConnell would tell Joe right to his face what a ridiculous concept bipartisanship is, to him. Maybe that'll convince Manchin that it is just never going to happen.

Hey, at this point, it's certainly worth a try.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


16 Comments on “Manchin Should Sit Down With McConnell”

  1. [1] 
    andygaus wrote:

    Bad idea. McConnell would say, "Joe, nothing gets done in the Senate because of the filibuster, but if you join us, we'll get rid of the filibuster and pass all sorts of bills to benefit the rich, disenfranchise the poor, and demonize immigrants, gays, and transgender people. You'll go down in history as the person who brought the Senate back to life."

  2. [2] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    Since McConnell is so smart, it seems to me he'd use such a lunch to reassure Manchin that everything Manchin thinks is true, is true. The last thing he would do is say anything that would help Manchin conclude that he, Manchin, has been wrong about the Republicans and that all the Dems pressuring him to understand that have been right.

    In other words, it's not really worth a try, as far as I can tell.

  3. [3] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Challenge Manchin to give the Republicans the opportunity to prove him right about the importance of bipartisanship… have him re-introduce the gun control legislation that he worked so hard on in the past only to have the GOP shut it down. Tell them to jump on board and work with Democrats on getting smart gun control legislation passed, or he will axe the filibuster. That would be the ultimate test of the Republicans’ sincerity on wanting bipartisan legislation — will they do anything that would upset their ammosexual base? THIS is the only way that the filibuster can be used to encourage bipartisanship in Congress!

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I suspect Manchin already knows full well the prospects of McConnell giving his consent for biden to sign anything meaningful whatsoever. I also suspect he knows his constituents well enough to realize they don't care. He's a democrat occupying a seat that leans VERY Republican, and he knows on which side his bread is buttered. He keeps Schumer in the majority leader role. That's enough.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I don't think that's good enough, Joshua. I think Manchin should try harder to make his constituents care. I think he should explain to them that Republicans today don't care about them.

    Or, perhaps, the good ole art of persuasion is, in fact, dead.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    Ever read aesop's fable of the boy and the jar of filberts? The president is savvy enough not to get permanently bogged down in bad-faith negotiations, but he's also wise enough not to try to grab everything at once.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I was talking about Manchin, not the president.

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    manchin represents his constituents, who are over 60% trump supporters. he also provides a vote for the democratic caucus. what's exceptional is the latter, not the former.


  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua, we're like two ships, passing in the night ...

  10. [10] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    You must have been sitting down when you produced this turd. You should have flushed it rather than call everyone in to look at it.

    This is nothing new. It is SOP for Deathocrats to use things like bipartisanship as an excuse to not do what they ran on.

    Articles like this turd that pretend the show is real are like handcuffing both hands behind citizens backs and handing the key to the big money interests that will continue to pummel citizens senseless.

    This why you only want two parties so that you can pretend there is a difference.

    By refusing to even consider changing the way we allow politicians to finance their campaigns and parties you are demonstrating that you are just part of the show.

    So I am inviting you to "lunch" right here in the comments section to have a real discussion on the problem of big money in our political process and possible solutions such as One Demand.

    Then I could point out to you what a ridiculous concept choosing between big money candidates is and how it is never going to work as it hasn't worked for DECADES.

    Then you will realize that One Demand is the best option to change the dynamic that is destroying our country, democracy and killing people at home and around the world.

    Hey, at this point, it's certainly worth a try.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    my wife might take issue with that imagery ;)


  12. [12] 
    Kick wrote:


    C. R. Stucki
    ^^ click ^^

    The rich "saving up their money" doesn't usually consist of hiding it in their mattress. Even money deposited offshore or wherever is usually invested in some economy somewhere

    Guess what I found recently in someone's mattress (may she rest in peace). Not even kidding you (this time), mountain man.

    ^^ click ^^

    Sorry about your friend's parents; that is one tough diagnosis. My MIL got her diagnosis and passed within weeks. I'm so busy, you'd think I was twins. Oh, wait... we already are twins.

    goode trickle
    ^^ click ^^

    Spot on... every word.

    "defenestrate"... heh... works on multiple levels.


    So tacky. Love it.



    Apparently, I missed "Mind-Altering Substances Weekend" here in Weigantia. I hate when that happens. May we have another?

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Absolutely, positively, unequivocally YES! Missed ya!

  14. [14] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller

    I've been busy preparing a funeral for a Trump supporter. I'm not even kidding about that.

    I'm still playing catch up, but I need to know that you've gotten your COVID vaccination.

    So tell me:

    (1) Yes, I've gotten my COVID shot(s)
    (2) No, but I have an appointment to get one (1) above or two shots... or
    (3) Better have a good excuse if the answer ain't (1) or (2). :)

  15. [15] 
    Kick wrote:

    ^^ click ^^

    Kick, I would love to hear you had something to do with this achievement.

    Then I will outright lie and tell you I had something to do with this... just to make us both happy. ;)

    Fact is, I had nothing to do with that, but I know someone who did. It was a maneuver that echoed 2003, when Texas Democrats fled to Oklahoma to block the re-redistricting plan after a redistricting plan had already been passed.

    Texas is already one of the hardest states in which to vote, and citizens will probably have to knit a sweater or something in order to vote in the future. Oh, sure... I got the needles... but I don't knit.

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I got my first shot on June 1st with the second one scheduled for August 21st. Which may be moved up.

    You know, there never was any doubt that I would get my shots when it was my turn. But, that doesn't negate my belief that we will all be in a very bad place if the grotesquely inequitous distribution of vaccines around the globe continues and new and vaccine-resistant variants emerge.

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