Bernie Rabik: Enough of Sen. Joe Manchin

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Bernie Rabik
Bernie Rabik

Joe Manchin was elected by the people of West Virginia to represent them in the U.S. Senate. Is an elected official responsible to his constituents, political party, or to his own beliefs?

In a perfect world, there would be no conflict, but in order to get elected, a candidate must obviously appeal to the majority.

Manchin got elected in a state which overwhelmingly voted for former President Trump. Democrats, by having Manchin in the Senate, were at least able to replace Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) with Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.).

I had such high hopes for 2021. Trump would slink quietly out of the White House in ignominy. The vaccines would conquer the pandemic. Joe Biden would preside competently and serenely over a country looking for respite after four years of craziness. Republicans would wake up from their fever dreams and become a serious party again, or at least hang their heads in shame after the sacking of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Alas, not. Last year turned out to be even worse than 2020, and I’m struggling to see why 2022 will be any better. Care to cheer me up?

I’m obviously not going to argue that the Democrats are doing a terrific job at present. But their situation – that 50-50 Senate, the pandemic-riddled economy – is pretty impossible. Don’t think any president could have delivered much in this mess. Not Reagan, or Lyndon Johnson, or maybe even FDR.

And, oh, my God, Joe Manchin. I’ll refrain from doing a column-long rant, but this is a man whose state uses up way more government money than its people pay in taxes. He wants to kill climate change legislation while he’s living off the millions he made in the coal business.

Mine owners, like Manchin who own stock in a mine, have destroyed mountaintops, polluted rivers and spewed global warming into the air.

Sen. Machin also expresses concern about inflation, as do all Republicans. Why were he and the Republicans not concerned about fiscal policy when revenue was greatly reduced by huge tax cuts for the very wealthy? Why were most congressional members willing to pass a bloated defense bill? It appears that fiscal concern only occurs if the rich will not receive the benefit.

Democrats today are reminding Americans that their legacy runs through Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, not a milquetoast, Republican-lite politician such as the Democratic senator from West Virginia.

Everything from Social Security to Medicare to civil rights to efforts to reduce property is what makes Democrats. All the while, the senior senator from one of the poorest states in our union is fundamentally AWOL in sustaining and expanding the aforementioned policies of our founding fathers

We need more Manchins about as much as we need more mansions for the wealthy.

Retiring House Democrat Bobby Rush was spot on when he called Manchin a “rural elitist” for pitching restrictions to the child tax credit. “Maybe he has become too much of a rural elitist that he can’t identify with the common man, the common woman, the common ordinary family in West Virginia.”

Bernard J. Rabik, a Hopewell Township attorney, is an opinion columnist for The Times.

This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Rabik: Enough of Sen. Joe Manchin

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