What position would Manchin not wish on others? The one where he is — almost single-handedly — determining what makes it in (and what is left out) of President Joe Biden’s massive social safety net bill?
I mean, come on.
A proposal to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing? “Here’s the thing. Mr. Manchin is — is opposed to that,” acknowledged Biden.
Free community college? “Here’s the deal. Mr. Manchin and one other person has indicated that they will not support free community college,” said Biden. (The “other person” is Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.)
A clean energy plan that has been dropped from the overall package? “Joe Manchin’s argument is: ‘Look, we still have coal in my state,'” explained Biden. “You’re going to eliminate it eventually. We know it’s going away. We know it’s going to be gone, but don’t rush it so fast that my people don’t have anything to do.”
At one point, Biden openly admitted how much power any one senator has in a 50-50 Senate.
“When you’re in the United States Senate and you’re president of the United States and you have 50 Democrats, every one is a president,” Biden said to laughter form the crowd. “Every single one. So you’ve got to work things out.”
Manchin has purposely put himself in this position as the deciding vote on the Biden agenda. He has done so because a) it allows him to exert maximum influence over said agenda and b) it is good for his politics in a state where Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016 and 2020.
Which is fine! And absolutely his right! But, let’s not pretend that Manchin is some sort of reluctant power-wielder. This is politics, after all.