Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has a long history of voting against the Democrats, but an equally long history of never casting a deciding vote against the Democrats. In other words, he’s only ever done it for show, when his vote wasn’t going to affect the outcome anyway. But now he’s standing opposed to President Biden’s appointment of Neera Tanden to run OMB, and the publicly known math suggests that he is in fact the deciding vote on her. So what gives?
Manchin is publicly citing the tweets that Tanden posted in years past, criticizing various Senators, including Bernie Sanders. Yet even Sanders hasn’t publicly come out against Tanden’s confirmation. So why is Manchin doing this?
As it turns out, five years ago, Neera Tanden publicly criticized Joe Manchin’s daughter, who was being massively overpaid as the CEO of a pharmaceutical company. If this is why Manchin has a stick up his butt, then he needs to get over it, because Tanden’s criticism was fair and accurate.
All that said, we’re still left to wonder if there’s more at play with the vote count than we know. For instance, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski still hasn’t yet taken a public position on Tanden; is Manchin voting no because he expects his pal Murkowski to vote yes? Is there another Democratic Senator who is privately planning to vote no? If either of these things is the case, then Manchin’s vote won’t matter anyway.
There is also the reality that Joe Manchin has a history of throwing stances at the wall to see if they stick. For instance, he was against the upcoming round of stimulus checks until he received overwhelming negative feedback, and now he’s for it. We agree with Rachel Maddow’s stance last night that Manchin could conceivably be pressured into changing his mind on this one – especially if his real reason for opposing her is nothing more than a game of Manchin Family Feud.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report