What does Joe Manchin want? That’s what Molly Jong-Fast, co-host of The New Abnormal, wants to know—along with “What the fuck is wrong?” with him.
Because of the West Virginia senator, Democrats can’t say they have the majority in the Senate. “Unfortunately, that’s the way they have to look at it,” she says. “It’s totally screwy. We are in this weird conundrum of our own Democratic making.”
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End the filibuster to push through top Democratic legislative priorities? Forget about it, because Manchin doesn’t want to do it.
The Daily Beast’s congressional reporter, Sam Brodey, joins the podcast’s latest episode to offer insight on what makes the senator tick—and what might possibly move him on the all-important filibuster.
While he always wants to “find the middle,” even as his party has moved leftward, “he’s looking out for his brand as much as anything else,” Brodey says. “I mean, this is all burnishes him as, you know, the bipartisan voice of reason, which is I think how he sees himself and how he wants to cultivate himself.”
The failure of the Jan. 6 commission left the senator “distraught,” and yet it didn’t push him to end the filibuster. But if the whole Senate shut down, he could no longer pretend that bipartisanship was working—and then we might see a shift, says Brodey.
Also on the show, comedian Andy Levy laments the passing of Donald Trump’s blog and says the former commander in chief was undone by the “media he hates so much,” with reporters tweeting about his posts and thereby robbing him of vital traffic.
Still, Trump has nothing to be ashamed of, Levy says: “The world is littered with failed bloggers.”
Levy also weighs in on Ron DeSantis, who’s been sparring with the CDC over vaccine requirements for cruise ships. The Florida governor is being “unfairly pilloried by the lamestream media,” Levy says—all while sliding into the spot recently vacated by Mike Pence.
Later in the episode, writer Sasha Issenberg talks about how same-sex marriage was “the dominant culture war issue for a long period of time. And now I think we look back at it as the most significant civil rights breakthrough of this millennium.”
Issenberg, author of The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage, predicts it won’t be overturned at the Supreme Court and talks about how transgender issues are just getting started as the next conservative battlefield.