History tends to repeat itself on Capitol Hill, and the coming debate over Obamacare is no exception. Democrats shut out their opposition while crafting the bill behind closed doors, and now Republicans threaten to do the same while repealing it.

Hoping to thwart those historical trends, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia boycotted President Obama’s secret healthcare huddle this morning. But one Democratic senator from a deep red state probably won’t be able reserve seats for his entire party at the negotiating table.

Manchin’s heart is in the right bipartisan place. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” he slammed the outgoing president for perpetuating partisanship, which is “really what’s wrong with this place.” That’s why he’s skipping the emergency strategy session Obama held with Congressional Democrats to draw up a plan for defending Obamacare.

“In good conscience, I can’t do it,” he explained. “If anyone listened and paid attention to what the American people said when they voted, they want this place to work.”

That’s a nice gesture, one that Republicans will appreciate from their favorite Democrat. But they’re not likely to find his principled call for cooperation persuasive. Eight years after its passage, Republicans still nurse their partisan wounds over the healthcare law. Manchin’s goodwill offering won’t soothe the 2,700 cuts caused by each of the law’s pages.

Even while the cameras were rolling, Obama barely gave a half-hearted effort at bipartisanship. Instead the president made the most of his congressional majorities and a seldom-used parliamentary procedure to box Republicans out of the process. Campaign promises of a new era of politics be damned, Obama had a mandate.

Any pretense of cooperation quickly fell through during Obama’s 2010 healthcare summit. For questioning special state exemptions and pharmaceutical kickbacks, Arizona Sen. John McCain earned a sharp rebuke. He asked Democrats to return to the drawing board and remove “special deals for special interests” such as a $100 million carve out for a Connecticut hospital.

“We’re not campaigning anymore,” an annoyed Obama replied, adding that “the election’s over,” before dismissing his former rival’s concerns.

And now, even with a president-elect famous for making deals, Democrats aren’t willing to give bipartisanship a chance. Already Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has warned that his conference won’t help craft a replacement package. Like Obama, the New York Democrat has no interest in compromise.

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That hardened heart won’t soften even for Manchin, the newest member of Schumer’s 10-member leadership team. And while the West Virginia’s pleas reverberate in the public square, Manchin’s party will be locked out of the drawing room.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

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