This is the era of Joe. Joe Biden, yes. But also a much less well known Joe who currently has a kung fu grip on the levers of government. For the character G.I. Joe, the G.I. stands for Government Issue. For the Dem’s G.I. Joe Manchin, it stands for GastroIntestinal, with the West Virginia’s senator’s each machination or murmur causing anxious stomach aches. “As perhaps the Senate’s most conservative Democrat, he often breaks from the Party, which gives him a de-facto veto over a large swath of the Administration’s agenda. In the first months of Joe Biden’s Presidency, Manchin tanked the nomination of Neera Tanden as budget director (he disapproved of her tweets), opposed raising the corporate tax rate to twenty-eight per cent (he preferred twenty-five per cent), and single-handedly narrowed unemployment benefits in a covid-relief bill.” Have a cup of joe and dig into this piece by The New Yorker’s excellent Evan Osnos: The Man Who Controls the Senate.

+ By far the biggest piece of legislation Manchin in large part controls is For the People voting rights act. While the Dems are trying to get a bill passed, Republicans states are dramatically expanding their power over elections. Say it ain’t so, Joe.