KATHRYN UPHAUS

“Nostalgia” is sometimes defined as fond memories of a past that never existed. Joe Manchin, however, is nostalgic for a past that did actually once exist. There was, in fact, a time when Democrats and Republicans cooperated and compromised to pass legislation that benefited the American people.

During the Reagan administration, Democrats made significant modifications to their favored policies to meet Republicans more than halfway. Even after Reagan, Clinton continued to advocate this moderate “third way” to pass legislation acceptable to the center right. As recently as 2016, Obama made significant modifications to his health care initiative to make it more appealing to his Republican colleagues.

And how did those “colleagues” respond? They refused, every single one of them, to vote for the bill Obama had worked so hard to make palatable to them. He shouldn’t have been surprised. Didn’t then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell make it clear from the moment he was elected that his party would do everything they could to ensure that he would be a one term president?

Well, they failed in that, but it didn’t convince them that perhaps a bit of cooperation and compromise would be good for the country. No, they have persisted, to a person, ever since, to refuse to allow Democrat legislation to even come to a vote, and have taken every opportunity available to them so foist their policies on the Republic without any consideration of Democrats’ attempts to contribute their proposed input.

I empathize with Manchin’s nostalgia for those long, lost days when both parties understood the benefits and necessity of working across the aisle — when they could even put their differences aside for a few hours to go out for coffee or a drink together. Well, those days are gone, and they aren’t coming back anytime in the foreseeable future. So to base his stand on a hopeless, futile wish that he might somehow, singlehandedly, bring them back by refusing to consider changing or eliminating the filibuster is, well, to put it simply, naive. The Democrats have a slim chance to pass legislation that would put the country back on track to maintain its position as a world power, to reduce poverty, grow a robust middle class, combat climate change, repair our broken infrastructure, and bring our health care, child care, and elder care up to 21 first century standards — all proposals that, I might add, are whole-heartedly supported by most Republicans, even while their representatives in Congress continue to thwart them. Will he really let all this slip through our fingers for nostalgia’s sake?

Kathryn Uphaus is a resident of Frederick County.

(13) comments

mabelgoodrich

Still, there are some debates around the discussion table! Whatever now American people got their new leaders. Hope Joe Biden's administration will be more attentive towards the general people. You could visit the Flirtymania for getting connected with more people around the world.

6foot6

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Blackhorsegirl

“What’s in it for us” was a health care plan that benefited millions from both parties and has proven to be popular with Americans from all political sides.

It’s time for everyone to grow up. The infrastructure bill will get changed and manipulated. However, it’s something that will benefit millions especially in Manchin’s poverty ridden state of West Virginia.

shinyhappypeople

Joe Manchin appears to want to have his cake and eat it too. Just as a tango requires two dancers, bipartisan legislation requires that both sides show up with ideas and then negotiate to pass something that moves American lives forward. It requires a give AND a take. It does not mean that you get to thumbs-down anything you find unacceptable without offering ideas, compromise, or solutions of your own. Voters in this country have overwhelmingly sent Joe Biden to Washington and want action on infrastructure, voting rights, healthcare, common sense gun control, police reforms, and a minimum wage increase to name just a few. If Manchin requires bipartisan reform then he ought to get to work on producing that, instead of so much time on op-eds and interviews, where he talks a good talk but has not yet put his money where his mouth is.

Blackhorsegirl

👍. Manchin can’t talk “bipartisan” and sulk on the edges of the playground refusing to share his ball. It’s clear he’s afraid of the Trump fan Republicans in his state. That’s life.

DavidSparkman

The cooperation ended with Obama. When Republicans helped Obama pass his budget the Republicans asked "what is in it for us?" Obama's reply was "Nothing, you lost the election." It became winner take all when the Dems are in charge. Watch and see the anger this generates.

Spock Here

In 2013 President Obama said "You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don't break it. Don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That's not being faithful to what this country's about." He said that about the obstruction still happening after he won his second term quite easily. Quit rearranging history to satisfy your narrow agenda, Sparks.

shinyhappypeople

I recall a former senate majority leader McConnell saying on day one of Obama’s successful two term presidency that he’d work non stop to ensure Obama was a one term President. Not exactly a spirit of bipartisan unity, nor is it a profile in courage. Just typical obstruction from a party with zero ideas and solutions. Trickle down tax cuts offer more proof of their failure. Your emperor has no clothes.

Blackhorsegirl

Please remember Manchin answers to a heavy Republican Trump supposing state. To be honest, I don’t know how he gets elected. Now, he’s whining that any election laws have to “be excepted by Trump supporters.” You know, Trump supporters who are still “believers of the lie of a stolen election,” and all that nonsense.

Manchin is a neither nor although I do applaud his efforts for bipartisan work on Capital Hill. I agree with Ms. Uphous: if there is no bipartisan efforts, the fault lies with Mitch McConnell and the Republicans. They will ignore the “public good” to prevent the opposing party from receiving credit. It’s 12 years since Obama won and started the ACA work. Republicans still have no health care initiative of any sort. Republicans are not good for the benefit of the American people.

Spock Here

"Manchin has had the luxury of hiding behind the filibuster, avoiding tough votes and posing as the moderate voice of reason. Instead, he should be coaxed from the fog of obfuscation he generates and go find the compromise he insists is there. If not, he should be compelled to tell us if he wants to give up on infrastructure, voting rights and more to preserve the filibuster." Jennifer Rubin

Chupacabra

Term limits.

Spock Here

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Catherine Giovannoni

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