It’a a well-known fact that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is a giant asshole whose only purpose in life appears to be trolling liberal Democrats into defending him because he votes for Chuck Schumer to be the Senate Majority Leader. Today, he made that task even more difficult.
Manchin predictably became the first Democrat to break from the party line on the ongoing government shutdown on Thursday, announcing that he would vote “yes” on two competing Senate bills to reopen the government—including one that gives President Donald Trump, his best bud, nearly $6 billion for a wall that might be even more useless than Manchin himself.
Manchin expressed frustration over the shutdown to the Hill. “I don’t know what it is. I can’t even tell you how they can be so callous not to even understand it,” Manchin told the paper. “You can’t do this. We got to sit here and work through this.”
Curiously, Manchin’s break with his party came a day after the spokesman for a top Republican senator—Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, the chair of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm—told the Denver Post that he would vote on a bill to reopen the government with no strings or wall funding attached to it. This follows Maine Sen. Susan Collins telling the Washington Post on Wednesday that she planned to vote for both bills.
After Gardner and Collins, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski—a third Republican—told CNN that she, too, would back both bills, meaning that if there were no filibuster, just one more Republican would need to come on board in the Senate in order to send the bill to Trump’s desk. (Remember: The Republican-controlled Senate voted for a funding bill in December that contained no wall funding, and Trump and the then-Republican controlled House joined together to sink that idea.)
Thanks to Manchin, however, Democrats now have their own crack in the armor.
Considering Manchin just ran a Senate campaign centered around both his support of Trump and the wall and his willingness to tell Chuck Schumer and other Democrats to go fuck themselves, this isn’t exactly the most surprising news. But after voting to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, after voting with Trump’s position over 60 percent of the time, and after taking the top spot on the Senate Energy and National Resources committee while we’re staring down the barrel of the climate disaster gun, the question grows ever louder: What good is Joe Manchin doing anyone?