On Monday, Senator Joe Manchin was informed that there were not 10 GQP votes for the independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. His response?
“So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country,” Manchin said. Asked if that is an abuse of the filibuster: “I’m still praying we’ve still got 10 good solid patriots within that conference.”
On Tuesday he was asked about the filibuster. His response:
Just asked Sen. Joe Manchin if he would invoke the nuclear option to blow up the filibuster if Republicans block the Jan. 6 commission bill.
“No,” he told me. “I can’t take the fallout.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 25, 2021
In addition, he and Kyrsten Sinema put out a statement “imploring” Senate Republicans to support the commission.
The response to both of these was predictable: how could Manchin be so naïve? Hasn’t he been paying attention to everything the Republicans have been doing for years now?
I don’t know the senator personally, but he was the governor of West Virginia when I moved here, and he’s been one of my senators since 2010. Of course he’s aware that congressional Republicans are now going to oppose the commission—that’s what TFG told them they need to do.
I still think he’s going to change his public stance on the filibuster, although he may say he’s ready to move forward on the talking filibuster instead of abolishing it outright. Then why is it taking so long, right? Remember what I wrote earlier? Joe Manchin knows how to play politics. Chuck Schumer isn’t going to bring the bill up for a day or so, so there’s still political time to see if the bill can be passed with Republican input.
As I write this, both Mitt Romney and Susan Murkowski have indicated they will vote for the bill. There won’t be 10 votes, of course, but the more Senate Republicans who join, the better. McConnell probably won’t realize until it’s too late that trump will once again have sunk the Republicans by doing his bidding. I can see Manchin sorrowfully saying he had hope as his Republican colleagues had begun signing onto the bill, but now it’s going to be the work of the Democrats alone to save and protect the nation.
After all, if you are going to make a dramatic change in your political position, you might as well make it as dramatic as possible, like a heel turn in professional wrestling. Right now there’s still time for Manchin to entice Senate Republicans into working with the Democrats. And they’ve given him the perfect excuse to change his mind on the filibuster and still maintain his conservative Democratic credibility.