President Biden’s policy agenda is hanging by a thread. And the reason can be summarized in two words: Joe Manchin. (Well, also Kyrsten Sinema, but does anyone know what’s going on with her?)
Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia — whose vote is essential given scorched-earth Republican opposition to anything Biden might propose — is reportedly against the Read originalRead More
Everyone who paid attention during the Obama years knew that Republicans would also try to undermine Democratic presidencies. Some of the G.O.P.’s actions — notably, the efforts of governors like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott to prevent an effective response to a deadly pandemic — have shocked even the cynics. Still, a Republican attempt to make President Biden fail, no matter how much it hurt the rest of the country, was predictable.
So Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia will be responsible for putting together the Democratic climate plan. This is both understandable and terrifying. It’s understandable because Democrats need the vote of every one of their senators, which means doing whatever it takes to get skeptics on board.
For a few weeks in 1992, U.S. politics were all about “family values.” President George H.W. Bush was in electoral trouble because of a weak economy and rising inequality. So his vice president, Dan Quayle, tried to change the subject by attacking Murphy Brown, a character in a TV sitcom, an unmarried woman who chose to have a child.
Now, it’s true that the big spending plans in the pipeline include “pay-fors” — that is, they include offsetting savings and revenue increases, so they won’t explicitly involve simply borrowing to pay for public investment. But the dissipation of debt panic means that Democrats won’t worry too much about how convincing those pay-fors look.Read More
If you’re under 50, you probably don’t remember when Japan was going to take over the world. But in the late 1980s and early 1990s, many people were obsessed with Japan’s economic success and feared American decline. The supposedly nonfiction sections of airport bookstores were filled with volumes featuring samurai warriors on their covers, promising to teach you the secrets of Japanese management.