Media loathes Democrat mavericks like Manchin, praised John McCain for similar actions

Democrats are reacting out of bitterness and anger: Rep. Cole

Rep. Tom Cole discusses the fallout following Manchin’s Build Back Better opposition.

Since West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s announcement on Monday that he would be voting “no” on President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the moderate Democrat has faced an onslaught of criticism from liberal reporters.

Politico’s Sam Stein notably tweeted “A lot to process on the Manchin news but, from a substantive standpoint, it’s just objectively devastating for the planet. The last best chance at climate change legislation is gone.”

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 01: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on November 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. Manchin announced that he would not support the budget reconciliation bill without knowing more about its economic impact but encouraged members of Congress to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ABC News spread the news in a tweet reading “A single senator is about to seriously set back an entire presidential agenda” while the Associated Press called Manchin an “uneven negotiator.”

ABC’s “This Week” panel even had audible sighs after host Jon Karl broke the news.

Even prior to Sunday’s announcement, Manchin faced intense pressure from Democrat politicians and media pundits for disagreeing with the White House agenda.

This attitude is contradicted by previous reactions to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s break from his own party when making significant votes.

In 2017, McCain became a media “maverick” after his “no” vote on a “skinny repeal” amendment of Obamacare, leading to a decisive 51-49 split. The vote ruined Senate Republicans’ attempt to force a 50-50 tie, which would have led then-Vice President Mike Pence to vote to overturn the amendment.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 05:  Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol February 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. McCain and a group of bipartisan senators spoke out in favor of arming Ukrainians in their conflict with Russia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Grabien’s Tom Elliott highlighted the different reactions in a video on Twitter. 

MSNBC’s Brian Williams referred to McCain as a “profile in courage” for opposing his party vote.

CNN’s Ryan Mattingly called the vote “breathtaking” after then “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota called McCain’s act “remarkable.”


The New York Times wrote that McCain’s break with the Republicans was a “stunning moment” that will be “long remembered.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) closes the door of an elevator after a Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 16, 2021.
(REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

“He had just derailed the fevered Republican effort to undo the Obama-era health care law,” wrote New York Times reporter Carl Hulse. “It was a stunning moment that will be long remembered in the Senate, a flash of the maverick John McCain, unafraid of going his own way despite the pleas of his fellow Republicans.”

By contrast, the New York Times described Manchin’s vote writing “By withholding his support from President Biden’s $2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill, Senator Joe Manchin has significantly dimmed the prospects for climate action that scientists say the U.S. must take to keep the planet from dangerously overheating.”

After months of media backlash, it is unlikely that the Democrat Manchin will receive the same “maverick” treatment as the Republican McCain.

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