Manchin's "Influence" with Obama Just Isn't There

Richard M. Jones
Obama and Manchin
Obama and Manchin

Hearing a difficult truth can be hard to bear.  However, sometimes it's absolutely necessary to solve what seem to be intractable problems.  At the national level, such problems can impact hundreds of thousands, even millions of lives.  So it's time the truth is told about U.S. Senator Joe Manchin's supposed influence with his fellow Democrat, Barack Obama. 

The truth is:  Manchin's influence doesn't seem to exist.  After a full year in the U.S. Senate, Manchin looks far more influenced by Obama than the other way around.

Manchin has been walking a highwire regarding Barack Obama for a few  years now, even before the former Illinois U.S. Senator became President and the leader of Manchin's party.  For whatever reason, Manchin wanted to look in the flow of the conversation Obama was leading among national democrats, even to the point of becoming a leading supporter among Democratic Governors for Obama's highly-controversial health care plan. 

Manchin, who has been perceived to be a moderate, even a conservative Democrat, gave Obama some needed cover with his robust endorsement of Obamacare, urging its passage in Congresss in nationally televised forums.

One would think that such timely help in passing Obamacare through the Congress would have inspired President Obama to likewise help Manchin in his own time of need.  But that hasn't happened.  Take a look:

  • West Virginia's Coal Industry:  While West Virginians sensed that Barack Obama was not a big fan of fossil fuels like coal, they could not have dreamed that the Obama EPA would be so hostile to granting new mine permits to even responsible coal companies.  Not only does this create a dilemma for the future of coal as part of the nation's energy supply, real jobs are being lost across the Mountain State because of the Obama EPA's inflexible position. 

Joe Manchin may tell us he's trying to work from the inside of this dilemma. However, any effectiveness by Manchin in bringing his friend, Obama, to even a compromise position on coal is not in evidence.

  • Keystone Pipeline:  Following the same line, Manchin has joined with other U.S. Senators in both parties to implore the President to grant permission for the Keystone oil pipeline to go forward.  The Obama Administration, however, remains firm in its environmental convictions and is not budging an inch. 

Again, Manchin's "influence" with Obama to help advance a crucial energy project that promises at least 20,000 jobs in a sagging economy is not there.

At some point, Manchin may decide that it's better not to wave his arms about in support of such important economic issues, because everytime he sallies forth to reason with his old friend, Barack Obama, he comes up short. 

Voters now have reason to wonder if Manchin's "insider ballgame" with President Obama is really that effective at all.  To date, Manchin seems to lose every time to the President, and that's bad news for West Virginia.

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