Manchin plunges the dagger (again) in floor speech supporting the filibuster

I mean, he’s plunged the dagger on this topic like 700 times now, including as recently as six days ago. Biden and the left just won’t stay dead on the topic.

They’re like a horror movie villain, popping up for one last attempted kill just when you thought you’ve finished them off.

Manchin will officially finish them off tonight when he casts his vote against changing the filibuster rules. But as a special middle finger to the president and progressives, he decided to schedule his floor speech announcing his official thumbs down so that it coincided with Biden’s first press conference in months.

At least when Sinema knifed them with her own floor speech, she didn’t deliberately counterprogram Biden to do it.

You should have announced your party switch today, Joe!

Is his sign correct, by the way, that the Senate has never ended debate by simple majority? They’ve done it with presidential nominees for several years now. Presumably he means debate on legislation. (Budget reconciliation is a special exception.)

Anyway, Manchin’s pro-filibuster position is technically the minority one across the population, but only just barely. And I’m sure he doesn’t care for two reasons. First, a plurality of independents agree with him:

Second, back in his Trump +40 home state, he’s firmly in the majority. Because of his support for the filibuster, Joe Manchin is more likely to be reelected in 2024 than he was a month ago. Which means Democrats are marginally more likely to prevent a total Republican takeover of government in the next presidential cycle than they otherwise would be.

If it’s dagger-plunging you want, forget Manchin and Sinema and dive into this relentlessly brutal CNN piece citing literally dozens of Democratic pols and operatives complaining (anonymously, of course) about what a piss-poor job the White House is doing to get ready for the midterms. At this stage of Biden’s presidency, with his job approval in the toilet, it’s hard to distinguish earnest criticism by members of his party from simple buck-passing. But CNN’s many sources do tell a consistent story about Biden’s political team appearing chronically at sea. They have no message, they’re not coordinating with candidates, it’s not even clear who’s in charge of midterm organizing. “Unprepared and unresponsive” is how CNN summarizes the consensus view. It sounds like a bona fide sh*tshow:

Senior Democrats, including some White House aides, describe a West Wing lacking both a political strategy and the discipline to execute one. Focus groups are giving party operatives nightmares. Biden is coming across as old and absent, they say. Real and perceived fumbles play into deep fears that he’s not up to the job and that Democrats are incompetent. Few Americans can say what was in the massive bills he’s signed, though many have heard about Democratic infighting and failure in what he hasn’t signed…

Other high-level Democratic leaders in the House and Senate tell CNN they often hear conflicting messages from different contacts in the White House — if they hear anything at all. And what they do hear can be insulting. House Democrats have been anxious about the state of the party’s agenda, but when Bedingfield met with them last month to talk about messaging Build Back Better and acknowledged the many concerns raised, several walked out still feeling forlorn…

The various Democratic campaign operations have received almost no commitments to fundraising events, multiple sources familiar with the planning tell CNN, and not nearly as many as they wanted over 2021. They feel like not enough attention is being paid to prioritizing endangered Democrats in minor ways, like their placement in the photos at bill signings, and in more significant ways, like which districts the President travels to for events.

They can’t get the White House to lean on local Democratic officials to push back against political maps gerrymandered against their interests. Pleading memos written inside and outside the White House rarely get acknowledgments, let alone responses. Major donors don’t get their calls returned; some complained to CNN of being relegated to mid-level aides following up with their secretaries. And as even small commitments have proven impossible to nail down, frustration has curdled into bitterness.

Even sources who were willing to resist blaming Biden himself couldn’t help making him sound disengaged from what’s happening around him. “It’s hard for me to believe that the President knows how little his political shop is doing to support Democratic majorities in the Senate and the House. All of us believe that the President would be shocked to learn how little the White House political team is doing,” said one senior Dem elected official to CNN. Biden’s not incompetent, you see, he’s just … unaware of his surroundings and of the incompetence of his team.

I’ll leave you with the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, also speaking on the floor today and making a promise that not everyone in his party will want him to keep.