HNN Staff
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin

West Virginia politics certainly has had figures with chutzpah, but the Manchin Family of Marion County takes the cake.  As they trammel over some of the state's best known institutions with carefree abandon, they seem to have no concept as to how they appear to the public.

But the public sees.

This most recent display of Manchin arrogance might make even A. James blush.

The scene was the annual Business Summit hosted by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce at The Greenbrier.  The Chamber has this members-only event each year, and several panel discussions on timely business topics are held for those who are interested.

What a surprise for those in attendance when Heather Manchin Bresch showed up on a guest panel that addressed "Challenges facing the manufacturing community in West Virginia."   How Bresch sidestepped the obvious question about the challenge for state manufacturers whose top officers claim to have a masters degree but really don't is a wonder.

Bresch has been popping up a good bit this year, trying to wage an aggressive charm offensive to erase the public's memory of what happened at WVU a couple of years back.  You know, her faux MBA controversy, which ended after several weeks of the worst national publicity the school had ever had and resulted in the resigation of Bresch's high school chum, then President Mike Garrison and several other top university officials.

All of that could have been avoided if Bresch had been willing to come forward with any hard evidence of her many missing credit hours.  We note that Bresch never was able to produce something as simple as some cancelled tuition checks to make her case.  As any WVU graduate can tell you, there is no diploma coming to you until you pay every last dollar owed to WVU for your coursework.

Bresch has never admitted any wrongdoing in the sad affair.  Yet now she is trying to gain acceptance as a business leader, perhaps even as a role model for other young women looking into business careers.

Four words: give us a break.  First Heather Manchin Bresch and her then Governor father, Joe Manchin, laid waste to WVU's academic reputation for several weeks.  We fault Joe Manchin, too, because any other father we know would have asked where those cancelled tuition checks were and, finding none, would have urged his daughter to end the matter quickly.

Not Joe Manchin. He let his daughter pursue her claim even to the point of WVU having to pay for an expensive, emotionally-draining blue ribbon panel to sort out the mess and finally declare Bresch's claim to an MBA to be null and void.  Who else would require the university to go through such machinations?

Now the Manchin duo have compromised the reputation of the state's leading business organization, the WV Chamber of Commerce, whether the Chamber leadership grasps that or not.

When Steve Roberts and the WV Chamber decided to let Heather Manchin Bresch serve on a panel, what a signal was sent. For this attempt to prop up Bresch was not for the benefit of the members gathered, who might have enjoyed hearing from someone who hadn't been at the center of a public storm with the state's largest university for several weeks.

No, this was merely a big fat gift to Joe and Heather.  However, it will take a lot more than just a few interviews and a Chamber panel discussion to erase the memory of all those students and alumni whose diplomas almost received a permanent downgrade thanks to the Heather Manchin Bresch scandal.