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Is Manchin overplaying his hand?

Biden could be forgiven for feeling played.

He cut his $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) social spending program in half to appease Joe Manchin, a senator of his own party.

Now, Manchin is making new demands. CNN reports, “Despite months of a lobbying campaign by the White House to win over Manchin, including by cutting the price tag in half and making cuts to key programs, … Democrats may never be able to win his support on this proposal.” (Story here.)

He’s making Biden look like a fool. He can because Democrats need his vote. They don’t like him pushing them around (see story here).

If Biden ends up with nothing to show for all his work on this, he will be seen as ineffective. The political cost could be his party losing the White House and Congress. Voters who don’t want that to happen can be forgiven for wondering if Manchin does.

Whatever Manchin is, he’s not a team player or a compromiser. But if Biden and the rest of his party end up holding an empty bag, so will Manchin and his constituents. In which case he shouldn’t be surprised if his fellow Democrats never do anything for him or his state again.

At which point he’d probably switch parties. Many people are kind of expecting him to anyway.

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