Centrists Are Not That Smart

Even for Senator Co-President Joe Manchin, this is really fucking stupid (boldface mine):

The paid-leave plan that Democrats originally envisioned would have provided 12 weeks of aid for Americans who fall ill, need to care for a sick loved one or are tending to the birth of a new child. Tens of millions of workers don’t have access to some or all of these benefits now through their employers, according to federal estimates, resulting in a gap that has hit low-income families and women the hardest…

At times, the senator from West Virginia said a paid-leave program could invite fraud, likening it to those who tried to collect unemployment even when they were not eligible. In some conversations with lawmakers and advocates, he asked about work requirements, even though employment is a condition for one to take leave in the first place, some of the sources said.

Like Republicans, Co-President Manchin has to be taken seriously because he has power, but he is a fool. As the article notes, paid leave is paid leave from work, meaning everyone who takes it is working.

This is not a product of “the world’s greatest deliberative body“, which is supposedly the reason for the filibuster and the Senate. It is the panicked and ignorant bleatings of a frightened and frustrated New Democrat who is unused to moderate Democrats* actually standing and fighting. It is astonishing–and depressing–that someone with this much power knows so little about what he proposes**. These are not especially clever or bright strategists, surveying the terrain, and making shrewd tactical moves (there are exceptions, of course). On the whole, these are mediocrities at best, who excel, however, at dialing wealthy and rich people for dollars.

Such august solons, they are.

*The original $350 billion per year bill was a moderate Democratic compromise, not the $600 billion Senator Sanders and the House and Senate progressives wanted.

**If nothing else, eliminating the filibuster would return more power to the Senate committees, where there might be a couple of people who know what the hell they’re talking about.

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