Things are tenuous in the Senate. After a bipartisan infrastructure deal was blown up, revived, blown up again, and then revived again (because Republicans are absolute suckers), Democrats decided now would be a great time to announce a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The boondoggle undermines the entire rationale for the deal that was struck at the urging of figures like Sen. Joe Manchin.
Yet, despite the bad faith being shown by his Democrat colleagues, Manchin has waffled, looking for ways to force through the For the People Act, an unconstitutional, dangerous federal takeover of state election processes. He's also signaled an openness to undermine the filibuster itself, albeit in private.
Contrast that with Kyrsten Sinema, who continues to simply not care what her detractors say.
.@SenatorSinema told @azcentral she will not make any exceptions to the Senate’s legislative filibuster rule to try to pass voting rights legislation, reiterating her position on the 60-vote rule. https://t.co/91zljmwzsa via @azcentral
— YvonneWingettSanchez 🏜 (@yvonnewingett) July 16, 2021
Here's what I like about Sinema – she says what she means and sticks to it. She's not going to get out over her skis and make a promise she's can't keep. If she says she's not blowing up the filibuster then she's not blowing up the filibuster. She's not looking for a backdoor to escape backtrack on her word nor is she willing to bend to the pressure of the media. Rather, she seems to thrive under scrutiny, and as I've written before, it's paying dividends for her at home.
Contrast that with Manchin, who continually tries to play both sides of the fence in a weak attempt to pretend he's a moderate while always folding like a well-worn napkin in the end. The only time Manchin follows through is when Democrats otherwise have the votes anyway and he can play-act as principled.
Sinema is a liberal, and no one should think otherwise, but at least she's a liberal who has boundaries and sticks to them. Manchin is a liberal who pretends to have boundaries and doesn't stick to them. You can guess which one I have more respect for.
Manchin previously said he would not support reconciliation as a vehicle to undermine the filibuster. Now, he's saying he supports doing immigration reform through the process, something that is likely not even allowed under the rules. West Virginia's “moderate” senator is a joke, and it's long past time Republicans stopped putting any faith in him whatsoever. He's not your friend, and he's going to do Chuck Schumer's bidding when push comes to shove.
Meanwhile, Sinema continues to stand in between Democrats and the destruction of the Senate. Unlike Manchin, I expect her to hold the line.