When I was a kid, I was kind of obsessed with animals, and especially the Rex Harrison “Doctor Doolittle”*. Unlike my childhood obsession with Watergate , I think that made me a relatively normal kid. But the one thing that always bothered me about that movie was the Pushmi-Pullyu.
Maybe it was because I was growing up in a family with 3 girls spaced within 3 years, but the Pushmi-Pullyu reeked of only 1 thing to me: conflict. Oh I know it was supposed to be a delight, the rarest creature on Earth, fanciful and fearful at once. But all I saw was a Pandora’s Horse of anger, fighting, and unhappiness. Even at a young age I knew all creatures, great and small, wanted their own way and only discipline, sacrifice, and an eye to the greater good could ever change that.
Which leads me to the new half of the GOP (“Q Party”) Pushmi-Pullyu, West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito and her working group on infrastructure. It started off with a laughable proposal that essentially ignored President Biden’s list of items. As criticism mounted, Capito said it was a starting point and that there was room for it to grow. Seems hopeful and reasonable, right?
Naturally Newton’s Third Law of Motion kicked in and the other half of the Q Party Pushmi-Pullyu, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, harrumphed out his objections to any additional spending. Capito must have kicked back swiftly and on target because his next phlegm-ridden squawk quickly aligned his position with his other end.
Capito and friends met again with President Biden this week and I give him a lot of credit. Everyone knows that even if the Democrats agreed to everything the Q Party wanted, they’d still vote against it! And I mean, even if it had everything, including leaving their precious corporate tax rate alone, they have no intention of giving Biden and the Democrats another accomplishment. That’s because:
There won’t be any Q Party votes for any Democratic proposal. Ever. The 2 senators from West By God Virginia are both trying to bring bipartisanship back to our politics, and in the abstract, I think that is a very worthwhile use of their time. But only Joe Manchin, the Democrat, knows that the mission is doomed from the start (so does Biden, but he’s just playing along).
How will Capito–who needs to burnish her procurement bona fides as an heir to the late Robert Byrd—react when she gets burned by McConnell’s eventual order to sink the entire bill in the Senate? West Virginia needs this funding. I don’t know, nor do I care. Fuck her and her careful kowtowing to McConnell over the people who elected her to help them. I only hope Manchin has set us all up for a major plot twist in Act Two.
The Democrats will eventually get their bills through, though Biden won’t get everything he wants (nor does he expect to—the stimulus bill was a happy fluke). I’m not upset with all of the stuff both West Virginia senators are doing on the side because the Senate can’t act on anything until the House writes the bill, and that isn’t expected to be voted on until the first week of July. Back to the show.
*Our cat Finn is too. Here’s a photo of him watching it: