Democrats should blame themselves, not Joe Manchin, by Ramesh Ponnuru | Columnists

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Progressive activists are reacting to the failure of the bill by complaining about the structure of American government. Never mind that Democrats have been able to build governing majorities in that structure in the not very distant past. Never mind, either, that the last two years have seen several large spending bills enacted with strong bipartisan support, especially in the Senate.

Build Back Better was unusual in seeking to realize an expansive partisan agenda in a very narrowly divided Congress. Neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama tried to enact such large and far-reaching changes in spending when they had much larger margins.

The next stage of grief will be despair over the future of the Biden administration, if not that of democracy itself. Democrats have managed to make the bill a serious test for Biden’s presidency without ever having conveyed to the public what it’s…

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