Fox News host Chris Wallace confronted Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV) Sunday morning on the senator’s refusal to go along with the call for Senate Democrats to reform the filibuster, noting that Manchin’s recalcitrance had “empowered” the GOP and could wind up dooming all of President Joe Biden’s legislation on items such as voting rights, infrastructure spending, and expanding access to health care.
Wallace began his interview with Manchin by telling the senator:
“You said you oppose scrapping the filibuster. The question I have is whether or not — and you say that you hope that will bring the parties together — the question I have is whether or not you’re doing it exactly the wrong way?
“Hear me out on this. If you were to keep the idea that maybe you would vote to kill the filibuster, wouldn’t that give Republicans an incentive to actually negotiate because old Joe Manchin is out there and who knows what he’s going to do? By taking it off the table, haven’t you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?”
Manchin weakly replied:
“I don’t think so. Because we have seven brave Republicans that continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see them, not worrying about the political consequences.
“I’m just very hopeful and I see good signs. Give us some time.”
However, Wallace made sure and pointed out that Senate Republicans had blocked the formation of a bipartisan committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection that left five people dead:
“Republicans blocked that. Sen. McConnell, the head of the Republicans in the Senate, says that he’s 100% focused on blocking the Biden agenda. Question: Aren’t you being naive about this continuing talk about bipartisan cooperation”
The West Virginian objected to the question:
“I’m not being naive. I think he’s 100% wrong in trying to block all the good things that we’re trying to do for America. It would be a lot better if we had participation and we’re getting participation.
“I’m going to continue to keep working with my bipartisan friends. There were 33 Democrats in 2017 that signed a letter to please save the filibuster and save our democracy. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Yes, and those 33 Democrats were ignored by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who did as he damn well pleased and helped confirm as many right-wing federal judges as Donald Trump sent to him.
Joe Manchin is kidding himself if he actually believes that Republicans want to cooperate with Democrats in the Senate to get things done for the American people. The GOP only wants to stand in the way of Biden’s agenda so they can score political points. If Manchin can’t see that, then he hasn’t been paying attention.