Electorate has partisan fatigue
I keep hearing from my fellow Democrats that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is a DINO (Democrat In Name Only) who is obstructing President Biden’s vision for America. As someone who has a lot of respect for both President Biden and Sen. Manchin, I have to take issue with that. Partisan Democrats are very good at getting mad with any Democrat who doesn’t fall in line, but I don’t hear too many of these individuals asking how it is that Joe Manchin has this much power? The answer is because we have a 50-50 Senate.
After four disastrous years of President Trump, it should have been a lot easier for Democrats to pick up a larger majority in the Senate, but the same Americans who rejected Trump also rejected Democrats at the congressional and senatorial levels as witnessed by the most bipartisan senator, Susan Collins, maintaining her seat comfortably even though many thought her job was done.
Partisanship is one of the many reasons we are in this mess. No Republicans voted with the Democrats on the recently passed stimulus bill, which was popular with voters in both parties.
Now Democrats are talking about ending the filibuster so they can ram through an agenda, much of which I would approve of. Manchin is the last of his kind. A Democratic candidate for president hasn’t won a single county in West Virginia in over 10 years, yet Manchin still represents the Mountain State.
Joe Manchin, in my view, is reading the mood of the country correctly. The electorate wants change but they also don’t trust one party alone to get it done.
Bipartisanship and compromise are in short supply in Washington and one could argue that that deficiency has trickled down to us. Manchin wants to fix that and we should want it fixed as well.
Focus on attainable goals
Regarding the recent column by Tyler Cowen, “Falling number of people in the world is a major unrecognized problem”:
Cowen’s warning about the danger of a population growth slowdown struck me as another manufactured crisis. It is no more likely to actually be a threat than the population bomb crisis from the 1970s. Not mentioned, at least for the United States, is the danger to the Ponzi debt schemes that count on ever growing numbers of taxpayers to fulfill promises made to previous generations. The best result would be to fess up, declare an honest partial bankruptcy, reform the monetary system and move on.
The same author has warned of the existential threat of manmade climate change. A slowdown in human population growth, even if humans only contribute marginally to climate change, could only contribute at least a partial solution to Cowen’s other manufactured crisis. The climate has been trending warmer since the last ice age, even with significant cooling retrenchments, sometimes lasting hundreds of years.
My belief is that it’s time to stop tilting at these windmills and work on solving problems right in front of our noses. Examples are valuing quality goods over more things, cleaning up the eyesore litter we drive past every day, and raising standards for educational attainment instead of awarding wizard of Oz degrees for nonsense.
We should continue the good starts that have been made in restoring water quality and carving out some space for vegetation and wildlife. These goals are attainable by enforceable law and supported by super majorities.