GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – The War in Washington


The corporate politicians win the day, (again).

Make no mistake this was an existential moment for democracy itself.

“Show down!”

“…the clock ticks for Biden to save his entire agenda”

“There is a make or break vote a day away”

CNN News Anchor, Erin Burnett  Sept. 29, 2021

Progressive uprising marks an existential moment for Democrats

…..the spending bill that has been embraced by Biden is as the culmination of Sanders’ life’s work and two insurgent, but surprisingly successful, campaigns.

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….centrist lawmakers like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona adds up to more than the usual Washington intra-party squabble. It may be a defining confrontation that will determine the future of liberal politics in a brief window of opportunity for generational change.

….The biggest question is if progressives are willing to mortally wound the Biden presidency at a time when Republicans are readying their midterm attack lines and ex-President Donald Trumpis planning what appears to be an attempt to restore his anti-democratic rule in the White House.

Their dilemma is one that every political movement faces sooner or later — whether to dilute its ideals in favor of pragmatic success or to stand firm on principle even if that destroys the hope of incremental success…..

Conservative pragmatists vs. Progressive reformers.

The world is beset with Covid, with Climate Change, with inequality.

The reformers argued that these looming crise are now so immense and damaging that incremental half measures, just won’t cut it.

The pragmatists argued that the Biden full legislative program to address these multiple crise, is just too expensive.

The reformers say,  tax the rich.

The pragmatists said, we will lose our seats. (read; corporate backing).

Caving in to pressure from the Right, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi did a “180”. Pelosi had vowed that the legislation would not be split into two halves. In the end only the half measure bi-partisan part of the legisaltion will be voted on, the full legisation is being put off.

Understandably the progressives balked at this U-turn, and threatened to withdraw their support.

Nancy Pelose stared down the progressives’ threat.

Pelosi Pushes for Infrastructure Vote, Defying Liberals’ Threats

(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pressing ahead with a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday even though progressive Democrats said they have the numbers to stall it until the Senate agrees on a more expansive tax and spending package….

Representative Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said after leaving a meeting with Pelosi. “We will not be able to vote for the infrastructure bill until the reconciliation bill has passed.”

The “irrational” Right – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Progressives are confounded by the conservatives’ opposition to the full legislation, which they said was, “mystifying”.

Progressives are furious at Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, whose reasons for opposing Biden’s $3.5 trillion agenda are mystifying

Progressive lawmakers and pundits are increasingly enraged by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s refusal to support President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” bill, and some argue there’s simply no reason for Sinema to obstruct her party’s signature legislation.

…..which features universal pre-K, paid family leave, tax increases on the rich, and climate priorities, among other major Democratic agenda items. She hasn’t been forthcoming about her position with her colleagues or the public and has only made vague comments concerning her multiple discussions with the president.

Many Democrats insist there’s little political logic behind Sinema’s opaque opposition. Pollster Nate Silver called Sinema’s obstruction “pretty irrational” as it damages her relationship with Arizona’s Democratic voters…

Tom Perriello, a former Democratic congressman from Virginia who lost his seat after voting for the Affordable Care Act in 2010,arguedin a Washington Post op-ed on Wednesday that even purple state Democrats like Sinema can safely vote for the social-spending bill…

“The middle and working classes want to see the agenda of the president they elected become law, and will remember if it fails,” Perriello wrote….

Frustration mounted this week when news broke that Sinema would hold a fundraiser for business lobbyists who oppose much of the bill….

The Bi-partisan Reconstruction bill, which had been criticised by progressives for including money for fossil fuel instructure rebuild, will be passed.

The Biden presidency will be effectively finished as a reforming administration.

In my opinion this failure will pour petrol on the fire of a turbo-charged Right Wing Trumpian resurgence.

It cannot be overstated; This is not just an existential moment for the Democrat Party, it is an existential moment for American, (and world). democracy itself.

Pat O’Dea is a unionist and human rights activist.


  1. There wasn’t much urgency regarding these bills until the polls started rolling in how underwater the democrats and Biden are with moderates and swing voters. The rush job here is because they will likely lose the house and possibly the Senate in a years time.

    It is becoming increasingly unlikely that Biden will last till 2024

  2. It will not be 3.5 trillion when voted on it will be about 2 trillion, an agreed compromise. Then the spin Drs will have a busy night spinning it all to show the Democrats and Biden are still strong and its what they wanted all along.
    Popcorn is ready let the fun begin.

  3. The bottom line is, Biden isn’t going to do anything. His Handlers will. Biden is a empty suit, being sack barrowed about in front of the American people and world as a faux POTUS. He has no mental capacity to do or make any rational decisions anymore. It has got to the point now, that his Handlers restrict his interviews and speeches to virtually none now. So much for a new, more transparent government as Biden promised. Then again, everything he has done and said to date is either dishonest or fraudulent.
    Expect a new President as a present for Christmas.

  4. The american democrat voters know in their hearts that Biden is a joke in that he cannot take questions from the media, meaning questions not pre approved and reply is rehersed or on teleprompter, does not give one on one media interviews.
    The democrat voters know he is suffering mentally from dementia in such a way he cannot keep track of a conversation topic for more than a few lines of reply with bumper sticker slogans, his VP Harris is basically in hiding and invisible to media interviews also. (She knows she will be guilty by association when he needs to be replaced, so she is keeping well away from him)
    BUT the democrat voters are happy about it all as Biden is not Trump!.
    USA is in a sorry state and a joke from anyone outside looking in.
    I had no time for Trump and always thought of him personally as very ego driven and after years of being surrounded by yes men, in business, he expected the same loyalty in govt, but no matter the person Trump is you have to admit the USA was in a helluva stronger position as a country than currently after only 9 mths of Biden in charge. I cant see him turning it around anytime soon either, indeed will be much worse ahead when the mid term votes are counted and he is a lame duck president (he basically is one now)

  5. The War heats up

    “Inaction is insanity…” Rep. Ilhan Omar

    The insanity of centrists.

    Half measures that fail to address the deep structural problems besetting the US, will only empower an angry right wing. 

    Manchin throws down gauntlet with progressives

    BY ALEXANDER BOLTON -10/01/21 06:01 AM EDT

    Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is in the driver’s seat and letting liberal Democrats in the House and Senate know that he plans to set the terms for the budget reconciliation bill that they hope to use to enact President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda.

    Manchin made it clear that the reconciliation bill isn’t passing anytime soon.  

    Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, accused Manchin along with centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), whom she pointed out represent only “4 percent” of the Senate Democratic Conference, of “blocking the president’s agenda, the Democratic agenda that we ran on.”

    Jayapal balked Wednesday at Manchin’s accusation that progressives are guilty of fiscal insanity.

    “I assume he’s saying the president is insane because this is the president’s agenda….”

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), another leading House progressive, hit Manchin for being happy to support defense spending increases but not social spending boosts.

    “Ever notice how ‘deficit hawks’ vote for record-high defense spending, yet claim bills that help people & challenge lobbyists are ‘too much?’ ” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in a post that prominently featured a picture of Manchin.

    She pointed out that the 2022 defense bill costs $768 billion, while Biden’s agenda would cost $350 billion a year.

    “Guess which got rubber stamped & which gets deemed a ‘spending problem,’ ” she wrote.

    Rep. Ilhan Omar(D-Minn.) hit Manchin for dismissing her spending priorities as fiscal insanity.

    “Inaction is insanity. Not willing to negotiate in good faith is insanity. Not fighting to have the critical investments that are needed is insanity. Trying to kill your party’s agenda is insanity,” Omar fumed to reporters.

    “Not trying to make sure the president we all worked so hard to elect’s agenda pass[es] is insanity. Losing us the majority in the House and the Senate is insanity,” she added.

    It is hard to see how this will end, other than in a complete dabacle for the Biden administration.

    (leading to the return of an angry hard right Trumpian alliance, who will seek vengence that their right wing project was challenged even if this challenge was only half hearted.).

    If you don’t follow through to the end. If you allow your opponent to regroup. On their return to office, the vengence of the Trumpian right will be terrible for everything you hold dear.

    As the saying goes; ‘There is no such thing as half a revolution’.


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