Blog Posts > Littwin: The Question Isn’t Why Manchin Walked Away from Biden’s Social-spending Bill, But What to Do Next
December 22, 2021

Littwin: The Question Isn’t Why Manchin Walked Away from Biden’s Social-spending Bill, But What to Do Next

Colorado Sun, Colorado Springs Indy – Let me confess straight away that I have no idea why Joe Manchin decided after months of negotiations  to announce — and on Fox News yet — that he was single-handedly blowing up the centerpiece of Joe Biden’s first-year agenda. Negotiations were still ongoing, and while Manchin’s objections were well known, the very public breakup caught Biden very much by surprise. Read the full op-ed.

The quick political analysis is that Biden — the one-time lion of the Senate — misjudged and, inevitably, mishandled the situation, believing that he could persuade Manchin in the end to vote for his social-spending programs. You could see that failure in every word of the surprisingly tough White House statement from spokesperson Jen Psaki on Manchin’s decision to walk away. She basically said Manchin had reneged on his promise to Biden.

All I know for sure is that if Manchin doesn’t come around — and, despite everything,  I guess he still might — it would be a disaster for Democrats, who are looking to run on this program in 2022 as evidence that, even with a 50-50 Senate, they could still deliver the goods, LBJ-style. One difference, of course, is that Lyndon Johnson had a supermajority in both houses of Congress to fall back on. A mid-‘60s version of Manchin would just be one unnoticed senator shouting into the wind.

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