One depressing sign of the times unseen by apparently a shitload of Americans — one party (Democrats) are focused on helping people, attempting to enact policies that give aid to families, while on the other political hand, the only other party in this country (Republicans) do not give a shit about anything but power and the shit-eating routes to keeping it.
Not one Republican voted for any of the recent Joe Biden agenda pieces, and this zero voting even leading back to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill back in March, and to the recent voting-rights legislation just last week. Republicans suck, of course. They can’t help it, they’ve sucked a long, long time, maybe going back to Barry Goldwater, for sure at least to Ron Reagan. The GQP turned even worse in the 1990s and really soured worse still per Sarah Palin, and then obviously, the T=Rump.
However, they’re assholes by long-term nature.
Cold-Coal Joe Manchin just might be worse. Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel earlier this month spiced it right:
Manchin is busy pitching a fit about how programs need to be means-tested.
On Thursday, this man stood in front of a bunch of reporters and helpfully explained in somewhat garbled fashion, “Means testing means that, are we targeting the people that need it, are getting it? Or the people getting it that maybe could do without?”
I would truly love to know what qualifies Joe Manchin to determine who “can do without.” At any rate, he’s holding this entire process up because: “I cannot accept our economy, or basically our society, moving towards an entitlement mentality.”
That means, for instance, Manchin is threatening the continuation of the child tax credit in its current very simple and very effective form, which Democrats would like to extend and has proved a lifeline for working families stretched thin by the pandemic.
Manchin, on the other hand, wants work requirements for a program that is currently lifting an unprecedented number of children out of poverty, making lives easier, and pumping money through the economy.
To which I can only say: I swear to God, Manchin, you houseboat-living, Kavanaugh-confirming asshole, get with the program.
And of course, he never did and never will:
Why is #JoeManchin being allowed to dictate policy for women and families on paid leave? Why would one US Senator be given so much power? West Virginia is one of America’s poorest states. Yet their millionaire Senator openly opposes policies that would greatly help his state.
— Sophia A. Nelson (@IAmSophiaNelson) October 28, 2021
So on to our current this-week picture and Jill Filipovic at the Guardian this afternoon nails Cold-Coal Joe among the treasonous shitheels where cruelty is the point:
Americans will remain some of the last people on the planet to have no right to paid leave when they have children, and for that, you can thank Joe Manchin.
Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, tanked the paid leave portion of an increasingly narrow domestic policy package. Manchin had already gotten Democrats to make what was once a sweeping and ambitious bill smaller and less effectual.
Even though the Democrats control the House, the Senate and the White House, and are not expected to maintain control of Congress after this year’s midterm elections, they still can’t get it together to deliver what the American people put them in office to do.
And that’s because of Manchin, as well as his fellow centrist holdout, Kyrsten Sinema.
To be fair, 50 Republicans are to blame for this as well. All 50 of them oppose Biden’s paid family leave plan, and none were expected to vote for this bill.
If even a few of them had been willing to cross the aisle to support parents and new babies — to be, one might say, “pro-life” and “pro-family” — then Manchin would not have the power he does to deny paid family leave to millions of American parents.
So let’s not forget this reality, too: most Democrats want to create a paid family leave program. Republicans do not.
But Manchin’s actions are particularly insulting and egregious because he is a Democrat. He enjoys party support and funding. He benefits when Democrats do popular things.
And now, he’s standing in the way of a policy that the overwhelming majority of Democrats want, and that is resoundingly popular with the American public, including conservatives and Republicans.
We are one of the most prosperous societies in the history of the world, and yet our lack of paid leave policies means that new mothers are back working at fast-food restaurants days after having major abdominal surgery, leaving their infants home with whoever is free to watch them.
Or, our lack of paid leave policies mean that new mothers simply quit their jobs, pitching themselves into financial precarity at the exact moment they need greater stability, more money and less stress.
It’s astoundingly cruel. And it’s entirely unnecessary — all of America’s economic peers have a paid family leave policy, and most of them have policies that are far more generous and far more sensible than even the plan Democrats were debating.
This is not a mysterious or unsolved problem; every other wealthy and developed country on Earth has largely solved it.
We are an outlier because we are simply choosing to make life unnecessarily brutal for families, and for women in particular.
And this week, it’s Joe Manchin in particular who is choosing, single-handedly, to continue making life unnecessarily brutal for families, and for women in particular.
He’s not the only bad actor, but right now, he’s the most powerful one.
And he’s using his political power not to advocate for what his constituents want and need, but simply to demonstrate that he has it — to show that he is more influential than the American president, that American social and economic policy lies in his hands.
It’s a pathetic, petty little narcissistic display.
And it’s American families, and particularly American mothers, who suffer so that Joe Manchin can feel like a big man.
Cold-Coal Joe sucks.
Yet here we are, once again…
(Illustration out front: M.C Escher’s ‘Scholastica,’ found here)