News & Politics

Which Way Will Joe Manchin Jump?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The pressure on Senator Joe Manchin to vote with the vast majority of Democrats and approve the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill was intense before the House approved the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Now, we can expect that the radicals, climate hysterics, and the entire gaggle of left-wing crazies that is currently in the driver’s seat of the Democratic Party will start turning the screws on Manchin, trying to get him to bend to their will.

On Friday, Manchin left his houseboat (a “yacht” to most of us) he named Almost Heaven that’s moored on the Potomac and began to walk the short distance to where his Maserati was parked. The Senator was not born into wealth. His father owned a carpet and furniture store that was modestly successful and Manchin worked there after he graduated from college until 1988, when he founded a coal brokerage firm.

As Manchin left for work on Friday, he was besieged by climate change hysterics screaming, “We want to live”—as if Manchin is trying to kill himself and take the rest of us with him.

According to NBC4, “At one point, a protester appears to stumble and Manchin put out a hand and asked, Are you OK?.” If it had been Manchin who stumbled, does anyone seriously believe the mob wouldn’t have been all over him, berating him for his political stance?

The difference between the calm, courtly, well-mannered Senator from West Virginia and the rabid, screaming, frothing mob was telling. And yet, it’s Manchin who’s under fire. Supposedly, he’s withholding his support from the BBB bill because he’s beholden to fossil fuel interests and he gets a lot of campaign money from them.

That’s certainly true. But one thing these mostly white, mostly middle and upper-class climate activists obviously don’t have to worry about is their electric bill getting so high that they have to decide between feeding their family and paying the electric bill. There are many thousands of Joe Manchin’s constituents that do have to worry about that, so Manchin is worried about it, too.

To a climate hysteric, the world is very simple, very cut and dried, very black and white. You’re either for me or against me. If you don’t vote the way we say, we’re all going to die. Aside from the questionable application of science to the political realm, the activists quite literally don’t know what they’re talking about. That’s because, like all extremists, they are very selective in offering “proof” for their political positions. Any information that runs counter to their beliefs is dismissed out of hand as “right-wing propaganda” or “misinformation.”

It would be laughable, if these nutcases weren’t so dangerous.

Manchin also has to contend with his party leaders, who can make life very difficult for him if he’s the reason that Joe Biden’s signature legislation goes down to defeat. The radical left has already put a target on his back and if Manchin decides to run for re-election in 2024, he is very likely to be facing a well-financed primary challenger.

But Manchin will be 77 in 2024 and may decide the aggravation isn’t worth it. That would be a shame, really. Manchin obviously has deeply held beliefs and principles. But he’s a politician, and those beliefs and principles can be trimmed if the situation calls for it.

Manchin has already accomplished more than anyone would have believed. He has gotten the president and the radicals in his party to cut their Build Back Better bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion—a not inconsiderable achievement. He has gotten the president to take out several ruinously expensive parts of the BBB bill, including paid parental leave, “free” community college, Medicare expansion, and some of the other socialist dreams so devoutly desired by Bernie Sanders and his allies.

In other words, Manchin has already made his mark on the legislation. Now, he may decide to give his Democratic president a victory that will assure a second term, either for Biden or another Democrat.

But the radicals may demand that Biden put back parental leave, or Medicare expansion, or any number of left-wing fever dreams. Manchin may end up voting for BBB. But the radicals may not. They may take Manchin off the hook by  throwing a tantrum that would blow up the entire bill.

Stranger things have happened in Washington.