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Democratic Leaders Have Done Nothing to Stop Joe Manchin
Don't buy the rotating villain theatrics. The Democratic Party has empowered the West Virginia coal baron to protect the status quo.
To Republicans, Joe Manchin is a welcome obstacle to progressive policies. To Democratic and liberal voters, Manchin is the worst person in the world, preventing Joe Biden from becoming the next FDR. To leftists, Manchin is just another rotating villain, a designated scapegoat to preserve the status quo and give the Democratic Party cover for serving corporate interests.
A new POLITICO story offers substantial evidence supporting the leftist view of Manchin. If Democratic leaders didn’t want Manchin to have so much power, why is he still Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee?
Selling scrap coal has earned Manchin millions of dollars over three decades, and he has used his political positions to protect the fuel — and a single power plant in West Virginia that burns it — from laws and regulations that also threatened his family business. It continues today.
Manchin has used his office to enrich himself for decades:
Manchin’s political power over the clean energy sector has national implications today. But he has wielded his influence for years. And one of his main goals has always been to protect coal … in the last year of the Obama administration, Manchin successfully sidetracked a plan to give EPA more power to prevent heavy metals from leaching into ecosystems through coal ash regulations.
In a deep dive on Manchin’s “dirty empire,” the Intercept reports:
Manchin’s advocacy for relaxing environmental regulations on the coal industry extends well beyond coal ash. In at least one instance, that advocacy was linked to the interests of the Edison Electric Institute, or EEI, an energy producer trade group tied directly to Manchin coal, as Sludge reported in July.
Environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard asks the obvious question:
Should any lawmaker with such a sizable financial conflict of interest wield decisive influence over what the US government does about a life-and-death issue like the climate emergency? Shouldn’t there be public discussion about whether that lawmaker should recuse himself from such deliberations?
Despite the uproar over Manchin’s intransigence in the face of the Build Back Better Act, the Democratic Party has steadfastly refused to exert meaningful pressure on him. They haven’t threatened his chairmanship; they haven’t backed a primary challenger; and they haven’t warned that they would look into his brazen self-enrichment. The only reasonable conclusion is that they want things this way.
If anything, Biden and Manchin are friends and allies:
“They’re very similar creatures,” said one Democrat who is familiar with their relationship. “If there was ever a similar Democrat in the White House, Joe Biden’s Manchin’s guy. Manchin himself says he feels fondly for Biden. “We have a great relationship,” the senator said.
At a CNN town hall in October 2021, Biden said Manchin is "not a bad guy."
Manchin gets his power from the Democratic leadership because they want it that way. How else can they uphold the corrupt system without becoming the targets of voter wrath?