After a year of slamming Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senate Democrats are going to have to do a quick about-face if they want these senators' support in confirming President Biden's upcoming Supreme Court nominee.
Sinema was hounded in a women's bathroom at the University of Arizona where she was teaching a course. Manchin was protested at his home. The two senators have repeatedly stood up for their constituents, and refused to cave to the demands of their progressive counterparts in Congress. For this, they have been mercilessly tormented by their political detractors both on their own side of the aisle and in the progressive corporate press.
Now things may have to change. Supreme Court Justice and liberal mainstay of the bench Stephen Breyer has announced his intention to retire. The aged justice is giving Biden the opportunity to nominate a new justice, the first opportunity for a liberal president since Barack Obama's failed attempt to place Merrick Garland, now Biden's Attorney General, to the court.
Will Sinema and Manchin forgive and forget? Will they make up with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and fall in line for whoever Biden tosses their way? On that, the jury is still out, but in practice, the malignancy with which they have been treated by their own party is well-documented.
The Hill called for the Democratic Party on Wednesday to cut off all funding to the two rogue centrists, and to run ads opposing their candidacy. "We should shame them and expose them and do so in a way that says to every American that Democrats are here to make your lives — not the lives of our members — better. We should make a political example of them," The Hill writes. But if they do that, how will Biden get his Supreme Court nomination through?
Sinema was recently censured by Arizona Democrats for upholding the right to filibuster in the Senate. In announcing the censure, Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán said "I want to be clear, the Arizona Democratic Party is a diverse coalition with plenty of room for policy disagreements, however on the matter of the filibuster and the urgency to protect voting rights, we have been crystal clear. In the choice between an archaic legislative norm and protecting Arizonans' right to vote, we choose the latter, and we always will."
At issue were two broad, sweeping federal election overhaul bills that would take authority to legislate how elections are run away from states and essentially give it to federal authorities. Manchin voted against pulling the filibuster, and against the election overhaul bills, as well.
Former Secretary of Labor for the Clinton administration recommended that as Republicans were lining up to shake Sinema's hand after a contentious vote where her principles aligned with theirs, Democrats should show her "the back of their hand."
Protestors crashed a wedding at which Sinema was in attendance.
At an airport, in the bathroom, even while running the Boston Marathon, Sinema has been badgered and harassed for not capitulating to the far-left demands that dictate the direction of the Democrat party.
A feminist website called directly for the bullying of Sinema, and President Biden said that harassment of Sinema and Manchin was "part of the process."
Manchin was harassed by climate activists as he left his home, screaming "we want to live" and picketing him with signs as he attempted to walk down the street.
Progressive Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said of her colleague Senator Manchin that "we all knew that Senator Manchin couldn't be trusted, the excuses that he made, I think, are complete bullsh*t." This in response to him withholding his support for Biden's massive spending bill called the Build Back Better plan.
New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that Manchin's opposition made the Senate "fundamentally undemocratic." She said additionally that Democrats have "every right to be furious with Joe Manchin."
And of course, the White House railed against Manchin, slamming him during a press briefing for not going along with the President's agenda. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Manchin’s remarks were "at odds" with that which he previously expressed to Biden, and that he was in “breach of his commitments” as concerned continuing negotiations.
Manchin voted for Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch in 2017, though in 2020 he was against the rushed procedure for Trump's nominee Amy Coney Barrett and did not support her nomination on the grounds of the rules change. He said, "...each time a Senate majority – regardless of party – changes the rules, we reduce the incentive to work together across party lines." Manchin also opposes expanding the Supreme Court, something progressive senators have given voice to during Biden's term in office, ostensibly so that he could have the opportunity to appoint a justice during his term in office. Sinema was also opposed to Barrett's nomination.
What unites Sinema and Manchin against their party is that each of them stands for their values and the rights of their constituents over the dictates of their party. Biden, and the party he leads, would do well to respect the centrist representatives from Arizona and West Virginia, or they could lose the very thing they've been salivating over since Obama left office, another shot at a liberal Supreme Court pick.
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