And thank goodness there’s at least one Democrat with his own mind, unblinded by rank partisanship. Manchin, if he’s sincere, appears to be clear-eyed about the poisonous politics infecting both parties.
Manchin is, of course, still a committed Democrat at heart, more likely than not to support liberal policies. But his hesitation to remake the Senate into a carbon copy of the US House of Representatives, where bills pass with a simple majority and bipartisanship is nowhere to be found, is refreshing.
Whether Manchin ultimately compiles a center-left voting record is irrelevant. I expect him to vote for most, if not all, of Biden’s agenda, as Manchin himself tries to shape — and perhaps moderate — some of the administration’s most progressive ideas.
In theory, the two chambers wind up legislating in a way that satisfies the most people, and at least gives comfort to those unhappy with the outcome that their voice was at least heard and considered. The House was made to ignore minority viewpoints and the Senate was made to listen and act accordingly.
Our closely divided country could benefit from leaders who can produce outcomes that solve problems without trampling on half the country’s views. Getting rid of the filibuster and abusing reconciliation is simply not keeping with the spirit of the body, and Manchin knows it.
Yes, the Senate was made for this moment in our divided nation, and perhaps it was made for someone just like Manchin, who, if he keeps his word on these vital procedural matters, will be long remembered as a leader who strengthened an institution — instead of joining the angry mob of his own party trying to burn it down.