Joe Manchin Has Kicked Off a Flurry of Straight Talk From Everyone Except Joe Manchin

From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:

Desperate times call for desperate measures and, when prominent politicians get desperate, the most desperate of their desperate measures is the utter abandonment of euphemism and a sudden devotion to simple declarative sentences describing what a duplicitous schmuck Joe Manchin is.

I refuse to spend an ounce of energy jumping up and down about Manchin’s grotesque bad faith, not while there are 50 Republican senators who care less about helping Americans than Manchin does. (I also will not be shaken from my conviction that Manchin was fronting for some other Democratic senators with even less guts than he has.) One of our two political parties has been too busy slouching toward Nuremberg to help govern the country, and it has no intention of ever doing so until it once again has the power to drive the country into a ditch. That is the real story behind the end of Build Back Better, which, alas, is not merely dead. It’s really, most sincerely dead. That being said, the sudden outburst of plain talk has been refreshing. For example, the White House called out Manchin for everything for which Manchin has been called out over the past year.

Senator Manchin’s comments this morning on FOX are at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances. Weeks ago, Senator Manchin committed to the President, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework that the President then subsequently announced. Senator Manchin pledged repeatedly to negotiate on finalizing that framework “in good faith.”

That’s the first paragraph, in which the White House calls Manchin a three-card monte artist with a very good corner. His dander pretty clearly somewhere in the stratosphere, the president then unlimbered himself on the subject of COVID.

But I want to send a direct message to the American people: Due to the steps we’ve taken, Omicron has not yet spread as fast as it would’ve otherwise done and as is happening in Europe. But it’s here now, and it’s spreading, and it’s going to increase. For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death — if you’re unvaccinated — for themselves, their families, and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm.

I think one of the things that stung the most was that Manchin chose Fox News to bail on BBB. And then there was his wounded-puppy act about how hard he had worked to find a way to keep faith with the good folks of West Virginia, when everybody knows that the bill he was killing dead would help vastly more people there than all of his professed concern about inflation and The Deficit would. The state is poor. It is sick, and getting sicker. It’s still reeling from being ground zero for the opioid epidemic. Strangely, after it was announced that 71 percent of West Virginians were fully vaccinated, a data reconciliation dropped that percentage below 50. West Virginia is 49th out of 50 states in median income, which is some indication that elements of the bill might be helpful to his state’s people, something that Manchin’s subsequent statement tries mightily to ignore.

For five and a half months, I have worked as diligently as possible meeting with President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and my colleagues on every end of the political spectrum to determine the best path forward despite my serious reservations. I have made my concerns clear through public statements, op-eds and private conversations. My concerns have only increased as the pandemic surges on, inflation rises and geopolitical uncertainty increases around the world…

My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face. I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.

OK, that’s a load of codswallop, but it’s not the reason Manchin has jerked the party, the country, and his constituents around the way he has. This has been a donor scam from the first, and he closed the deal on Sunday. For him, I believe, it was the climate-crisis provisions all along. Everything else—childcare, paid leave, tax credits—is just window dressing, as witnessed by this amazing passage from his statement.

The energy transition my colleagues seek is already well underway in the United States of America. In the last two years, as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and with bipartisan support, we have invested billions of dollars into clean energy technologies so we can continue to lead the world in reducing emissions through innovation. But to do so at a rate that is faster than technology or the markets allow will have catastrophic consequences for the American people like we have seen in both Texas and California in the last two years.

Good god, this is just terrible bullshit. The failure of the Texas electrical grid absolutely had fck-all to do with renewable energy or any of the other provisions in BBB. (Not for nothing, but West Virginia’s grid is a mess.) It’s about his donors, pure and simple. That, and the spotlight. Can’t forget the spotlight. He never does. There’s always energy for that.

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