During an episode of his Comedy Central show, Lenard McKelvey (who goes by the bizarre moniker "Charlamagne tha god") asked Vice President Kamala Harris a provocative question: "I want to know who the real president of this country is – is it Joe Biden or Joe Manchin?" Harris' handlers tried a desperate ploy to cut the interview short by making it seem as though they couldn't hear McKelvey.
When the host called out the Vice President's team for their brazen attempt to the dodge the question, Harris herself caved to the pressure and indignantly scolded McKelvey. She didn't have much of a substantive answer, relying primarily on shaming the host for "talking like a Republican."
Of course, Joe Biden is the president. But Sunday morning, Senator Joe Manchin demonstrated the extraordinary influence he wields as one of the only remaining Democrat lawmakers who isn't owned by far-left interest groups. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Manchin appeared to put the final nail in the coffin of President Biden's signature legislation, the so-called "Build Back Better" plan.
"I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation," Manchin explained before adding, "I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there."
The shrieks of despair and gnashing of progressive premolars could be heard throughout the land. Even that serious, objective journalist class was aghast, audibly sighing out their exasperation when hearing the news:
But truthfully, if our political environment was anywhere close to healthy, absolutely no one should be surprised by the failure of "Build Back Better." Here's three simple reasons why:
1. It was a bloated, haphazard, bad bill.
As a knee-jerk reaction to the Trump years, progressive Democrats and the Twitter-class pundits pressured the White House to go overboard with their legislative agenda. They authored what was nothing short of an FDR-sized bill, one that would forever expand the scope and influence of D.C. bureaucrats into the lives of American citizens.
When obvious problems with the bill surfaced, something that is bound to happen with such a large, expansive monstrosity, rather than do the hard work of amendment, collaboration, consensus, and trimming or cutting trouble spots (yes, that's really allowed), the solution from the oligarchs running the show in Democrat congressional leadership was the exact opposite. They consistently expanded the bill to offer some new program or policy to try to buy off wary lawmakers.
Pushing through a Great Society/New Deal-size government expansion without Great Society/New Deal majorities or obvious electoral mandates was always an absurd proposition. That it came so close is an indication of just how much our politics and governance is now consumed by, and our lawmakers are utterly owned by, special interest rather than the country's general interest.
A spending bill that would have added $2.8 trillion to the national debt is bad enough. That it was being pushed at a time of soaring inflation made it unthinkable.
2. Realities of West Virginia
The bill failed because of the people of West Virginia. Well, actually that's not fair. It failed because of the people of West Virginia and the people of every other state that elected a Republican since every one of them opposed this bill too.
One of the more hilarious responses to Manchin's announcement was that of Vermont's unserious Senator Bernie Sanders:
Explain it to the people of West Virginia? Senator Manchin has voted for a series of progressive spending bills over the course of the last year. His opposition to this one is precisely because he wouldn't be able to explain his support of BBB if he voted in favor. According to the most recent polling, 74% of West Virginians oppose Bernie and Biden's Build Back Better blowout.
3. The Biden administration's stubbornness
Manchin said repeatedly where he was and what would be required for him to vote for BBB. He was, according to reports, in the White House as late as last Tuesday, putting before the Biden administration a framework for an equally large bill, but one that he could support.
Rep. Ilhan Omar can complain that Manchin "couldn't be trusted." Press secretary Jen Psaki can lament Manchin's "sudden and inexplicable reversal." But the truth is something entirely different from that bitter spin.
No, Joe Manchin isn't the president. A cabal of highly influential special interest groups are. All that happened Sunday was Senator Manchin deciding to thwart them by representing his constituents' interests instead.
P.S. Now check out our latest video: "Highlights from Biden's speech last night" 👇