Will Joe Manchin wake up with a horse's head in his bed?

Thanks to The Godfather, this image is implanted in our collective consciousness.  Obviously, Manchin is holding some serious cards regarding the passage of the "Build Back Better" raid on the Treasury that Democrats in Congress are drooling over.  Will enough pressure be put on Manchin to go against his earlier negative comments?  Suffice it to say that the senator understands arithmetic and already knows that, in last year's election, Donald Trump beat Biden in West Virginia by better than two to one.

Beyond basic political calculations, the rising specter of inflation is asserting itself as a problem to be dealt with.  The Democrats reflexively pooh-pooh this issue as a blip, a transitory phenomenon, that only Republicans are interested in making an issue.  The American public, however, have current and previous experience with inflation, and they don't like it.

What is thus far escaping consideration is that, compared to actual problems requiring action by the public sector, the Build Back Better proposal is designed to deal with imaginary problems.  Imaginary problems don't really grab the public's attention as do real emergencies.

This brings us to the horse's head in Manchin's bed.  What kind of extreme leverage are the Schumers and Pelosis of our world ready and willing to deploy for the sake of getting a bad law passed?  Were there a true emergency, then I'd expect severe efforts.  But here we're dealing with a goofball agenda that has already plunged into the depths of public disdain.  The point is that Manchin is not alone.  There are some other senatorial Democrats who are hiding behind him.  This just happened with the aborted nomination of Saule Omarova, a functioning communist and convicted shoplifter, to be comptroller of the currency.

Just a while ago, there was rampant scuttlebutt about Manchin considering reinventing himself as a Republican.  Were that to happen, he'd be just another Republican.  Yeah, the Dems would lose their "majority" in the Senate, but Manchin would no longer be the center of attention, which is typically an enviable position in politics.  One speculation is that, considering the damage currently being self-inflicted on the Democrat brand, Manchin would be the "moderate" who leads the Dems out of the wilderness and could then be a credible presidential candidate in 2024.  Chris Cillizza has posted a column that names eleven possible replacements for Biden in 2024, and Manchin is not on the list.  Why not?  Possibly because Cillizza is still on board with the Squad and considers Manchin much more of a problem than an asset.

Meanwhile, as both Heaven and Earth are being moved in efforts to get Manchin on board with a grotesquely stupid proposal, he is looming larger and larger as a genuine American hero.  As the former governor of his state, Manchin remains fairly popular back at home and has enough political acumen to play his cards well.

Image: Third Way Think Tank.

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