Unfortunately I think TPM Reader JB is right about this …
One other difference between Sen. Manchin and Sen. Tester you might have mentioned in your podcast this week is that Manchin is self-consciously wealthy.
Tester has done all right for himself in his family’s farming business, no doubt. But Manchin is much closer to people whose business is closely tied to government policy: tax rates, environmental regulations, all of it. Much of his own money comes from a business particularly sensitive to the government’s interest in reducing pollution.
A lot of politics comes down to who elected officials talk to. Neither Tester or Manchin really need to spend a lot of time talking to lobbyists and donors trying to water down or sink Biden’s agenda. Tester doesn’t, but Manchin does. They are more his kind of people.
You’re right about the urgency thing, by the way. Democrats in Congress have driven themselves into a cul-de-sac on the reconciliation bill (and into a brick wall of voting rights). It’ll be hard for them to get out.