Abbreviated pundit roundup: Manchin’s unreasonable red lines, Colin Powell’s legacy, and more

Jamelle Bouie also dives into the unreasonableness of Manchin’s position and analyzes it with context from the FDR era:

In something of a throwback to the days of “welfare reform,” Manchin wants Democrats to add work requirements and tight income-based limits on eligibility. […] 

Compared with the recent past, Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill is a major shift from austerity and retrenchment. But relative to the challenges at hand, it is, at best, a modest change in pace. It is, as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has said, “a compromise.”

And yet this halting attempt to build a somewhat stronger safety net is too much for Manchin — and the forces of capital he represents — to countenance.

Meanwhile, Catherine Rampell highlights the cruelty of Machin’s position by pointing out that it would harshly punish grandparents caring for their grandchildren:

“Why should my granddaughter be punished because of my disability?”

That’s the question West Virginia resident Melissa Boyles would ask Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and any other politicians advocating work requirements for Democrats’ child benefit program — conditions that would throw Boyles’s granddaughter under the bus.

Boyles, 62, is among an unsung generation of Americans caring for their grandchildren. These households have swelled over the past decade, as public health crises such as the opioid epidemic claimed the lives of many parents of young kids, and rendered other parents unable to provide stable homes.

As of 2019, roughly 6.2 million children lived with grandparents; within that population, 1.1 million had no parents present in the household. The numbers have likely grown since covid-19 struck.

On the topic of the death of Colin Powell, The Washington Post editorial board reflects on Powell’s lifetime of service:

Mr. Powell’s favorite quotation, which he displayed on his desk at the Pentagon, was from the ancient Greek historian Thucydides: “Of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most.” Though the attribution may actually be apocryphal, one can understand why Mr. Powell embraced the sentiment. Experience — from the battlefield to the bureaucracy — had instilled a healthy suspicion of power untempered by character. Certainly Mr. Powell was true to himself, and to the values of his country, when, in recent years, he broke with the Republican Party and denounced the wanton figure, Donald Trump, who has taken it over.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

Some will cite his role in controversial decisions concerning the Balkans or, most certainly, Iraq. No one spends so many decades in public life — confronted with difficult and consequential choices — without criticism.

But tributes must acknowledge his tireless work as the country’s chief diplomat: strengthening relations with allies at difficult times; ending the civil war in Sudan; and leaving the State Department stronger and more efficient than when he arrived.

And it should be beyond question that Colin was a man of integrity. He was deeply principled, shaped by bedrock beliefs that guided him throughout his life.

In a fascinating piece on redistricting reform in The Atlantic, Russell Berman raises the problem of unilateral disarmament. Are Democrats giving Republican too much power by pushing for nonpartisan redistricting commissions?:

“As a matter of policy, I think we should pursue these, because I think it’s the right thing to do,” Morgan Carroll, the chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, told me. “But as a matter of politics, if across the country every Dem is for independent commissions and every Republican is aggressively gerrymandering maps, then the outcome is still a Republican takeover of the United States of America with a modern Republican Party that is fundamentally authoritarian and antidemocratic. And that’s not good for the country.” 

No state illustrates the Democrats’ predicament better than Colorado, where the party holds the governorship and solid control of the legislature. That power could have allowed Democrats to draw a favorable new congressional seat, shore up their four House incumbents, and target the reelection bid of freshman GOP Representative Lauren Boebert, who supported Trump’s bid to overturn last year’s election. In 2018, however, Democrats backed a ballot initiative to hand power over congressional redistricting to a nonpartisan commission. The map that the panel has proposed would instead make the new Eighth District north of Denver a toss-up, potentially jeopardize at least one of the Democratic incumbents, and ease Boebert’s path to another term, Carroll told me.

On a final note, don’t miss this recent clip from The Daily Show on the people who falsely claim Trump won: 

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