December 7, 2021

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POLITICO Playbook: Manchin vs. everybody – POLITICO – Politico

11 min read

As he so often does, Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) is again controlling the news cycle as he finds himself embroiled in fights on several different fronts at the end of an otherwise-sluggish week in Washington.

MANCHIN VS. …

… BIDEN’S CLIMATE AGENDA. At the heart of President JOE BIDEN’s plan to combat climate change is a $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program aimed at speeding “the transition toward solar and wind power and slash[ing] greenhouse gas emissions,” as our Zack Colman explained this week. Its inclusion in the reconciliation package would, in the words of the NYT, be “the strongest climate change policy ever enacted by the United States.”

It now appears to be DOA. Manchin “has told the White House that he strongly opposes the clean electricity program,” NYT’s Coral Davenport scooped. “As a result, White House staffers are now rewriting the legislation without that climate provision, and are trying to cobble together a mix of other policies that could also cut emissions.”

That’s a problem for Biden. (1) As policy, it makes it substantially more difficult to meet Biden’s goal of cutting emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2030; (2) Internationally, it deals Biden “a weakened hand when he travels to Glasgow in two weeks for a major United Nations climate change summit”; (3) Politically, it is likely to further diminish Democratic voters’ enthusiasm for the final reconciliation package.

Climate activists’ reactions to Manchin’s move were predictably grim. “He plans to gut Biden’s climate plan, and with it the chances for swift global progress,” BILL MCKIBBEN, the influential author and environmentalist, wrote on Twitter. “This is high on the list of most consequential actions ever taken by an individual Senator; you’ll be able to see the impact of this vain man in the geologic record.”

… BERNIE. On Friday night, the feud between Manchin and Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) went from a simmer to a full, rolling boil. Here’s what happened:

— Sanders wrote an op-ed in support of a $3.5-trillion reconciliation package, talking up the proposed Medicare expansion, investments in child care and home care, free community college, and so on — all provisions that Manchin has criticized. That, in itself, is unsurprising. Here’s what is: Sanders didn’t place this in just any old outlet; he published it in Manchin’s homestate paper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

From the op-ed: “The $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, supported by President [JOE] BIDEN and almost all Democrats in Congress, is an unprecedented effort to finally address the long-neglected crises facing working families and demand that the wealthiest people and largest corporations in the country start paying their fair share of taxes. … Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation. Yet, the political problem we face is that in a 50-50 Senate we need every Democratic senator to vote ‘yes.’ We now have only 48. Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin.

— Manchin then further escalated the war of words with a fiery statement of his own: “This isn’t the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is best for them despite having no relationship to our state. … Senator Sanders’ answer is to throw more money on an already overheated economy while 52 other Senators have grave concerns about this approach. … I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs. No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.” Yow.

More from Burgess Everett, who also reports that Sanders’ office ran a draft by Manchin’s after the op-ed was submitted but before it was published.

… DEMOCRATS’ CHANCES IN 2022. Here’s the cold reality: It now appears all but impossible for Democrats to enact a reconciliation package that’s anywhere near as far-reaching as what polls suggest a large majority of Democratic voters want. And that effectively means that for a lot of Dems, it will be hard to see whatever ends up coming out of this process as a success — with potentially dire implications for the party in 2022.

Consider this passage from former President BARACK OBAMA’s “A Promised Land,” about the intraparty fighting on health care reform ahead of the 2010 elections: “By preemptively spinning what could be a monumental, if imperfect, victory into a bitter defeat, the criticism contributed to a potential long-term demoralization of Democratic voters — otherwise known as the ‘What’s the point of voting if nothing ever changes?’ syndrome — making it even harder for us to win elections and move progressive legislation forward in the future.”

Good Saturday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.

VIRGINIA LATEST

— The stakes for Dems: “The Democratic Party’s fortunes are increasingly tied to someone who’s never served a day in federal office: TERRY MCAULIFFE,” report Heather Caygle and Burgess Everett. And that, in turn, is setting up Virginia’s Election Day as something of a deadline for movement in Congress. “If McAuliffe doesn’t pull out a win, some pessimistic Democrats privately predicted a ‘collapse’ on Capitol Hill, where party leaders are already struggling to unite sparring progressives and centrists” on the reconciliation package.

— The challenge for Republicans: “Trump is the most popular figure in GOP politics and is eager to remain engaged. [GOP nominee GLENN] YOUNGKIN needs Trump’s supporters to come out and cannot risk giving Trump a reason to turn on him in the race’s final weeks. But Youngkin must avoid being tied too closely to someone who is unpopular in crucial swaths of the state, particularly the suburbs that surround Washington, D.C., and Richmond,” write AP’s Jill Colvin and Sara Rankin.

— The battleground: Both McAuliffe and Youngkin have homed in on one critical locale with just over two weeks left: Richmond. Zach Montellaro has the breakdown.

CLINTON UPDATE — Former President BILL CLINTON’s “doctors had said ‘after two days of treatment, his white blood cell count is trending down and he is responding to antibiotics well,’ adding that they ‘hope to have him go home soon,” CNN’s Jamie Gangel reports. A source tells Gangel that “the kind of antibiotic needed to treat Clinton’s type of infection has to be administered via IV and not orally, which is why he’s remaining in the hospital.”

BIDEN’S SATURDAY:

— 12 p.m.: The president and first lady JILL BIDEN will attend the 40th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the West Front of the Capitol, where the president will deliver remarks.

9 THINGS WE READ THAT STUCK WITH US

— “No.” That was Biden’s one-word answer on Friday night when asked if he supports term limits for the Supreme Court, an idea the Biden-appointed commission studying Court reforms spoke “approvingly of” in a recently released draft of its review, reports AP’s Jessica Gresko.

— GOP gains among AAPI voters could jeopardize Democrats’ chances of holding Congress after 2022, report Andrew Pend and Shawna Chen for The Yappie.

— The DCCC and NRCC’s fundraising hauls “total a combined $128 million — more than double the sum at this point in the 2020 cycle,” writes NYT’s Shane Goldmacher.

— Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA raised “more campaign money in the last three months than in any quarter since she became a senator,” reports Hailey Fuchs — and did so “with a big assist from the pharmaceutical and financial industries.”

— “While I have never painted before, HUNTER [BIDEN] has inspired me to immediately begin painting because I’ve always felt I have a talent at that, and could surely get at least $2 million dollars per canvas — and probably a lot more,” Trump said in a statement on Friday. (Also, because time is a flat circle, he took shots at ANDREW MCCABE, HILLARY CLINTON, PETER STRZOK and LISA PAGE.)

— A witness stand is not exactly the ideal locale to effectively kick off your Senate campaign. But former Nevada A.G. ADAM LAXALT was in that unwelcome position Friday, reports Josh Gerstein.

— There’s yet another new complication in reconciliation talks: “A trio of House Democrats is asking party leaders to “pause” their plans to raise taxes on big companies’ overseas profits,” reports Brian Faler.

— “Moms for Liberty,” a Florida-based group opposing mask mandates in schools, is sprouting chapters throughout the country. “Its leaders hope to convert brawlish pandemic-era cultural divisions into lasting political power,” reports WaPo’s Tim Craig.

— A Capitol Police officer has been indicted for obstruction of justice for telling someone who participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol to remove Facebook posts showing the person inside the Capitol, AP’s Michael Balsamo and Colleen Long report.

CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 15 keepers

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Ryan Lizza:

“The Murders Down the Hall,” by Greg Donahue for New York Magazine: “393 Powell Street was a peaceful home until residents started dying in brutal, mysterious ways.”

“Is a Democratic Wipeout Inevitable?” by The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein: “Even when the president’s party passes historic legislation, voters don’t seem to care.”

“Blood, Lies, and a Drug Trials Lab Gone Bad,” by Wired’s Brendan I. Koerner: “The system for testing pharmaceuticals in the US relies on contractors adhering to strict guidelines. But one of them chose profits over protocols.”

“Thousands of People Are Trying to Leave QAnon, but Getting Out Is Almost Impossible,” by Andrea Stanley for Cosmopolitan: “In a Cosmo exclusive, women on both sides—the former believers and the doctors they’re turning to—show us what it takes to escape.”

“Critical Race Fury: The School Board Wars Are Getting Nasty in Texas,” by Texas Monthly’s Christopher Hooks: “A small-but-loud faction of parents and activists is making life miserable for local school officials—and shouting down the kids who speak in favor of lessons about the history and persistence of racial discrimination.”

“Ryan Busse Was a Rising Star in the Gun Industry. Then He Had a Change of Heart,” by The Trace’s Ann Givens: “The former executive started to question some of the political positions he’d accepted all his life — and to feel complicit in the country’s tragedies.”

“How Celebrity Gossip Site Crazy Days And Nights Went QAnon,” by BuzzFeed’s Katie Notopoulos: “‘I don’t care about made up satanism or pedo rings… The very first post I read here was about Gary Busey trying to use gold doubloons as legitimate currency and tbh I would just like more of that please.’”

“The Passion of Questlove,” by NYT Magazine’s Jazmine Hughes: “The drummer, D.J. and producer is everywhere and loved by everyone. But few understand what drives him: an obsession with spreading the joys of Black music.”

Arizona A.G. Mark Brnovich showed off his nunchuck skills.

Rosa DeLauro declared herself the best-dressed member of the Connecticut delegation welcoming President Biden during his visit. Speaking of which…

Here’s a scene from the trip, via NYT’s Zolan Kanno-Youngs: “As children and teachers waited to welcome Biden at this childcare center in Connecticut, dozens of protesters standing just outside within ear shot screamed ‘F*ck Joe Biden.’”

After Tucker Carlson mocked Pete Buttigieg for taking parental leave to care for his newborn twins (“Paternity leave, they call it — trying to figure out how to breastfeed, no word on how that went”), the Transportation secretary responded on Friday evening: “I guess he doesn’t understand the concept of bottle-feeding.”

SPOTTED at Julie Pace’s going-away party at Calico on Thursday night, as she heads to New York City for AP: Mike Memoli, Phil Mattingly, Olivier Knox, Stephen Collinson, Scott Mulhauser, Kathleen Hennessey, Zeke Miller, Tasha Diakides and Tammy Haddad.

MEDIA MOVE — Adrienne Hurst is joining the NYT as an audio producer for narrated articles. She previously was an audio producer at POLITICO.

STAFFING UP — Rachel Shabad is now a special assistant in the Veterans Employment and Training Service at the Department of Labor. She most recently was digital consultant at Time’s Up, and is a Biden campaign alum.

TRANSITIONS — Brad Tallamy is now executive director for policy and government relations at Merck. He most recently was senior director for government affairs at AmerisourceBergen. … Molly Cagle is now a director of governmental affairs at Target. She most recently was senior director for government and public affairs at Shipt.

WEDDING — Eva Maria Theresa Janerus and Gautam Mukunda, via NYT: “Ms. Janerus, 37, [is] the head of business development for Night Owl Capital … Gautam Mukunda, 42, [is] a political scientist, author and entrepreneur. … [T]heir wedding [took place] on Sept. 11, at what is now their home in Barnstable. Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times and a friend of the couple who received a one day solemnization from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to officiate, led a ceremony that included 170 fully vaccinated guests.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) … Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner … Michael Pratt of Real Chemistry … Jim CourtovichBeatrice PetersonRodell Mollineau of Rokk Solutions … Delacey SkinnerMark BohannonJenny Hopkinson … WaPo’s Andrew HeiningAlex Macfarlane of Rep. Mike Thompson’s (D-Calif.) office … ONE Campaign’s Daniel HenkePhil Bianchi of Squire Patton Boggs … Connor McNutt of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) office … Linda MillerAdeline Sandridge of Rep. Kat Cammack’s (R-Fla.) office … Tyler EvansAnne Deere of BOMA International … POLITICO’s Kelly HooperBecca Milfeld … Deloitte’s Kristen McGrath DuganTiph Turpin Ben Coffey Clark of Bully Pulpit Interactive … Chamberlain Harris … former Reps. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Dave Trott (R-Mich.) … former SEC Chair Christopher Cox … former North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple Clay Robinson … former Sen. Dan Evans (R-Wash.) (96) … Bobbe Bridge

THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listings here):

  • MSNBC

    “The Sunday Show”: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) … Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) … Terry McAuliffe … Annissa Essaibi George … Joe Walsh … Benjamin Crump.

  • FOX

    “Fox News Sunday”: Anthony Fauci … Mohamed El-Erian. Panel: Karl Rove, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Mo Elleithee. Power Player: Pat Robertson.

  • Gray TV

    “Full Court Press”: Federal Maritime Commission Chair Daniel Maffei … Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.).

  • ABC

    “This Week”: Anthony Fauci. Supply chain gridlock panel: Deirdre Bolton and Diane Swonk. Panel: Jonathan Karl, Rick Klein, MaryAlice Parks and Stephanie Ramos.

  • CNN

    “State of the Union”: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg … Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) … Jon Stewart.

  • CNN

    “Inside Politics”: Panel: Toluse Olorunnipa, Melanie Zanona, Jeff Mason, Jackie Kucinich and Kimberly Adams.

  • NBC

    “Meet the Press”: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg … Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Panel: Kimberly Atkins Stohr, Garrett Haake, John Podhoretz and Amy Walter.

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