‘Moderate’ Democrat Stephanie Murphy who is retiring doesn’t want to face up to her role in tanking Biden’s agenda (not Bernie’s, but Biden’s)–and how that is killing Democrats in swing-ish districts like Murphy herself (boldface mine):
She’s mad about Democrats criticizing her for not supporting President Biden’s agenda. “I am surprised at how short the memory is. It’s as short as being celebrated for having flipped a seat and then excoriated for taking votes that help you keep that seat,” she said.
This is a crock. Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is dead because a handful of the party’s most conservative members, including Murphy, killed it. Now the party has nothing of legislative substance to run on, and members in swing districts are looking down the barrel of a possible midterm electoral bloodbath. The culprits are starting to head for the exits, scapegoating everyone but themselves for the consequences of their horrible decisions.
Last year’s floor time in Congress was taken up by debate over two measures: a bipartisan infrastructure bill and Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. The infrastructure package was basically a gussied-up highway bill, with some money for Amtrak and a few other things, but overall a minor achievement at best. BBB, meanwhile, contained virtually the entire Biden agenda: a permanent extension of the Child Tax Credit that has slashed poverty, a half-decent climate policy package, and a bunch of other goodies, paid for with prescription drug cost controls and tax hikes on the rich.
It’s important to be clear that despite its relative ambition, BBB was a massive compromise compared to, say, Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign platform…. But leftists in Congress figured it was as much as they could reasonably expect—Biden had won the presidential primary, after all, and they have only a handful of socialists and maybe half of the party caucus consider themselves progressives.
From the start, the Democrats’ left wing argued that both of these bills—infrastructure and BBB—should be passed at the same time, because they didn’t trust the party’s right wing with BBB. The left feared that if conservatives like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) got the infrastructure package they (and corporate lobbying groups) wanted, they would pocket the victory and block BBB… Only by passing both bills simultaneously so that neither faction could betray the other, the left reasoned, could both be ensured passage.
But conservative Democrats dragged the process out for month after month with procedural dithering, whining all the time that they wanted infrastructure first. Murphy was one of the loudest complainers. “I have called on an immediate vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed through the Senate,” she said on NPR in August. That same month, she wrote an op-ed demanding it be passed before BBB. When the infrastructure vote was delayed again in October, she released a furious statement: “I am profoundly disappointed and disillusioned by this process.”
…In short, the left had been right all along. Manchin, Murphy, and the other conservative Dems got everything they wanted, and promptly stabbed the other 98 percent of the party in the back.
…instead of fighting it out in a district that might be more Republican-leaning after redistricting (maps are not out yet), but would surely still be worth a shot, she’s giving up. Like so many centrists, she got everything she asked for, the party’s prospects have been trashed as a direct consequence, and now it’s everyone’s fault but her own….
After all, with her bloody fingerprints on the knife in the back of Build Back Better, cushy no-show corporate “consulting” jobs will be hers for the taking….
Whatever the case, the Democratic Party could use a better class of moderate—perhaps one that would support a moderate Democratic president when he is trying to pass a moderate and much-needed agenda.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Democratic moderates are doing their damnedest to stop Lt. Gov. John Fetterman–someone who has successfully won state-wide in a swing state, who is crushing conservative Democrat Conor Lamb, and who, current polling suggests, would beat a Republican in the general election.
At this point, we really need people like Fetterman to win just to pass moderate legislation. This is fine.