Just kidding. My thoughts aren’t news and we’re desperate for clicks. Please read all of this — multiple times even! — and then stay tuned for my follow-up columns “Dave got writer’s block, you’ll never believe what happened next!” and “What Janet Yellen’s monetary philosophy means for your portfolio as told by 16 photos of adorable cats in Halloween costumes.”
That second one is going to be a real doozy. You don’t want to miss it.
Look, I don’t know if you’re exhausted by reading political hot takes. Maybe, like a sane person, you don’t consume the same volume of instant-gratification-fueled media that I do. It’s probably for the best. But as negotiations over President Biden’s “Build Back Manchin and Sinema Better Just Vote For This Bill Plan” continue to drag on, all of us political hangers-on are getting antsy.
Why can’t the Senate and House Dems give us any iota of concrete progress to report? Don’t they know Politico has page views to manufacture?
Apparently not. His Exhaltedness Joe Manchin seems to be preoccupied with chipping away at the bill’s proposed programs to fight climate change, despite pleas from progressives from his own state, anyone who has been outside in the past five years, and two of the world’s largest oil companies.
In the meantime, Kyrsten “Check my latest funky outfit that distracts you from my contradictory policy stances” Sinema has refused to support any bill that raises taxes on corporations because, well, no one really knows. As a Democratic senator from a state with two of them, opposing literally one of the five things on the planet with broad bipartisan support is a curious position. But on the plus side, she runs marathons and makes wine, so she’s funky and cool and you should definitely not worry that she’s torpedoing a bill that would broadly lower carbon emissions, enable Medicare to lower drug prices, and maybe make it so new parents don’t have to go back to work the same month they give birth.
People, I don’t know what to tell you here. Manchin’s positions are archaic, but they are at least consistent with his track record and principles. Sinema’s positions make virtually no sense as they pertain to her Arizona constituents or her political future. If neither of them called themselves Democrats, the Democratic party would lose its majority and with it all committee chairmanships or any chance to do, well, anything.
This is a nonsensical cluster and there are only so many jokes I can make about it before my head explodes. The only rational solution here is to stop paying attention. Really! News organizations love to broadcast the twists and turns of these negotiations like the sky is constantly falling and each of those twists will affect the outcome, but all that really does for us bystanders is create a potent elixir of heartburn and whiplash.
Remember, the internecine negotiations for life-changing legislation can be, well, very very stupid, but, more importantly, they almost always take way more time than they should. After all, the agenda that led to the Affordable Care Act was first announced in February 2009. Barack Obama wasn’t able to sign it into law until 13 months later.
“How could grown adults take so long to enact things the majority of the country wants?” you might say. Well, the short answer is that adults, often, are children. Especially the ones in Congress, and the offshoot of that is everything takes too long and never ends up being exactly what it should be. Just ask Joe Lieberman.
Meanwhile, the news outlets know yahoos like me have short attention spans and an insatiable need to be entertained RIGHT NOW, so here we are. Every statement, comment, or passing of wind through the halls of the Capitol becomes an urgent push notification artfully crafted to make your blood pressure rise.
Amidst all of that, we have to remember that something will probably get done eventually, and it may not be the social safety net expansion you’ve been dreaming of, but the future will still look better the day after it passes than it did the day before. And when that day finally comes, I’m sure The Times and The Journal will be there to update your phone every 18 seconds with what Chuck Schumer had for breakfast. If you don’t want to know what he ate, just turn off your notifications. You’ll find out eventually.
Not me, though. I need to know what varietal Sen. Sinema is working on. I hear her pinot is great.
Photo credit: https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/06/14/howie-carr-joe-biden-says-well-we-dont-really-know/