Democrat Manchin Phone Calls Leaks and It Has Massive Implications

Sen. Joe Manchin has been one of two Democrats, along with Kyrsten Sinema, to always say they aren’t available to abolishing the filibuster. For this point, the filibuster has stood in the way of Democrats trying to pass all manner of crazy bills. Formerly, I opined that Sinema appeared more resolute than Manchin about her position. Well, that might have been a fantastic bet in my part.

A leaked telephone call between Joe Manchin and a political advocacy group shows the machinations being tried by the West Virginian senator behind the scenes. Not only is Manchin indicating he is open to abolishing the filibuster, but he is also targeting specific Republicans to attempt and find the so-called January 6th commission passed.

The meeting was hosted by the group No Labels, a big money operation co-founded by former Sen. Joe Lieberman that funnels high-net-worth donor money to conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans. Among the gathering’s newsworthy revelations: Manchin described an openness to filibuster reform at odds with his most recent position that will buoy some Democrats’ hopes for enacting their agenda.

The call included several billionaire investors and corporate executives, among them Louis Bacon, chief executive of Moore Capital Management; Kenneth D. Tuchman, founder of global outsourcing company TeleTech; and Howard Marks, the head of Oaktree Capital, one of the largest private equity firms in the country. The Zoom participant log included a dial-in from Tudor Investment Corporation, the hedge fund founded by billionaire Paul Tudor Jones. Also present was a roster of heavy-hitting political influencers, including Republican consultant Ron Christie and Lieberman, who serves as a representative of No Labels and now advises corporate interests.

Joe Manchin admitting he is a liar to a lot of billionaires, company interests is fairly on-brand. For the life of me, I don’t have any idea why West Virginians continue to trust this guy is anything aside from the Democrat that he is. But he is not a Democrat with fundamentals, far-left or otherwise. Rather, he is a throwback to the crony-capitalist”blue-dog” wing, playing benign moderate while always seeming to discover a way to go contrary to his constituents.

Regardless, the consequences are enormous. If Manchin is currently scheming to blow up the filibuster unless he receives Republican buy-in on Democrat priorities, that puts everything in a very precarious position, leaving Sinema as the final line of protection for Republicans. And while I generally like Sinema, she is still a Democrat. Manchin’s position appears to be”let me cut your head off or I’ll cut your head off.” That is not good news for a GOP who was relying on him to hold the line given he is in the reddest state in the union.

Yet, how this call was leaked does change things. For starters, Sen. Roy Blunt, who Manchin named specifically as a weak Republican to be reversed, will not have the ability to cross the aisle today without looking like a complete chump. Manchin’s cover can be blown in regards to using the filibuster as leverage. No Republican will trust him beyond this point and it probably means any bi-partisan infrastructure deal is dead (that is a fantastic thing).

Whoever leaked this likely did it just because they wanted to thwart Manchin’s plan. That is the silver lining here for Republicans. Will Manchin walk this back when requested? We’ll find out soon enough. Some reporter will be pushing a mic in his face the first opportunity they get.

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