Robert Reich, a former U.S. Labor secretary and now hard-left pundit, is calling on Democrats to kick Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) out of their party, claiming that they have "already lost control over the Senate" because Manchin opposes an extreme left agenda.
Reich, who served as secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton and was a member of President Barack Obama's economic transition advisory board, argued in an email newsletter that Democrats should ditch Manchin before the midterm elections in November. He wrote that the party should tell voters that even though Democrats have a 50-50 majority, they never really had full control of government because Manchin wouldn't support the most extreme elements of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda.
Last week, Manchin reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that he would not support a Democratic spending bill that would fund a left-wing climate agenda and raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations. The West Virginia lawmaker said he could not support $500 billion in new spending while inflation is squeezing Americans and he asked Democrats to drop those provisions from the bill and focus on lowering prescription drug costs instead.
Progressives fumed at Manchin, accusing him of "obstructing" or "sabotaging" the president's agenda — which they have done previously when Manchin refused to go along with left-wing demands to end the Senate filibuster, pack the Supreme Court, pass extreme abortion legislation, and more.
Reich echoed those criticisms, accusing the moderate senator of "putting a final spear through the heart of what remained of Biden’s and the Democrat’s domestic agenda."
He argued that Manchin's concerns about inflation were illegitimate and that the lawmaker was corrupted by campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry.
"If the Democratic Party had any capacity to discipline its lawmakers or hold them accountable (if pigs could fly), it would at least revoke Manchin’s chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources," Reich wrote. "To continue to allow this key position to be occupied by the man who has single-handedly blocked one of the last opportunities to save the Earth is an insult to the universe."
He went on to write that the reason Democrats have not punished Manchin is because they fear he would accept Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's invitation to join the GOP.
"Why exactly would this be so terrible? Manchin already acts like a Republican," Reich asserted.
"Oh, no! they tell me. If Manchin switches parties, Democrats would lose control over the Senate. Well, I have news for Democrats. They already lost control over the Senate," he wrote.
Reich argued that Democrats "look like they control the Senate," but insisted they really don't because "they can't get a damn thing done."
"So after almost two years of appearing to run the entire government, Democrats have accomplished almost nothing of what they came to Washington to do," Reich complained.
"America is burning and flooding but Democrats won’t enact climate measures. Voting rights and reproductive rights are being pulverized but Democrats won’t protect them. Gun violence is out of control but Democrats come up with a miniature response. Billionaires and big corporations are siphoning off more national wealth and income than in living memory and paying a lower tax rate (often zero), but Democrats won’t raise taxes on big corporations and the wealthy."
He wrote that by kicking Manchin out of the party now, Democrats will have an excuse they can take to voters to explain why the party failed to keep its promises.
"Democrats could at least go into the midterms with a more realistic pitch: 'It looked like we had control of the Senate, but we didn’t. Now that you know who the real Democrats are, give us the power and we will get it done,'" he concluded. "Maybe this way they’ll pick up more real Democratic senators, and do it."