Politico: Manchin "raising hell" with Biden over EVs

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Alternate headline: Manchin tries distancing himself from the stench of his own bad bargain with Chuck Schumer as 2024 looms. You can decide for yourself which is the more accurate take. Consider, though, just how timely this development is for the West Virginia Democrat needing to find a job in less than two years from his deeply-red-state constituents.


More on that in a moment. First, Politico portrays Manchin as a centrist scorned by Joe Biden’s crypto-progressivism:

President Joe Biden and Joe Manchin met at the White House about a month ago on a topic that’s critically important to the West Virginia senator: implementing the sweeping tax, climate and health care law that both men shaped.

And if you ask Manchin, things have not gone well since that huddle. That’s because the West Virginia Democrat is livid about how his party’s president and his administration are rolling out a party-line bill that served as a crowning achievement for both men — and he’s particularly peeved at a delay in new guidelines on who gets the law’s generous electric vehicle tax credits.

In addition to lobbying the president at the previously unreported Jan. 3 sitdown, Manchin has introduced a bill that would halt the credits until Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen implements strict requirements for electric-vehicle battery sourcing. As Manchin sees it, using the credit to boost U.S.-manufactured rather than overseas-made vehicles is essential to making the law succeed.

Gee, maybe Manchin should have thought of that before agreeing to vote for the so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year, huh? And isn’t it curious that Manchin didn’t negotiate such terms with Schumer and Biden at the time when both were desperate for a pre-midterm win? It would have been easy for Manchin to insist on the terms he wants now had he demanded them in July. Instead, Manchin waited until well after the election — and after getting the chair of the Senate committee on Energy — to discover the fine print in the IRA.


Perhaps Manchin is sincere in his frustration, and maybe he got shafted by Schumer and Biden. But that conclusion may reflect even worse on Manchin than the assumption that all of this is a performative pre-election stunt to regain some semblance of independence. After all, if a seasoned pol like Manchin really got suckered this badly on that deal, then what’s the argument for putting him back in the Senate or in the governor’s office in 2024?

Or, for that matter, the White House:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) left the door open to a White House run in 2024, teasing that while he could be the centrist candidate voters are looking for, there are “a lot of different players in the game.” …

“In all seriousness, the only thing I’m concerned about is what can I do to bring the country together?” Manchin told CBS News’s Robert Costa. “We’ve got to come together — Americans want to be united. They want to be together, and right now, we’re growing further apart.”

Manchin declined to say whether he’d run as a third-party presidential candidate in 2024, but he also danced around the question of whether he’s planning to run again for his West Virginia Senate seat.

Manchin for President? Good luck with that campaign. Manchin’s already 75 years old and would be 77 by the time the election rolled around. Even if Joe Biden decided to pass on a second term, Democrats wouldn’t nominate another old white man pushing 80, especially one with no progressive cred. Manchin doesn’t have the money or support for an independent bid; he’s wealthy but not the kind of multi-billionaire who could fund and organize a 50-state campaign. And he’s certainly not going to run for the GOP nomination, either, where better, younger, and more reliable candidates are already at hand.


This is nothing more than a stunt to recover some of his lost ground in West Virginia. Manchin will probably aim at his old job as governor rather than a lost-cause attempt to retain the Senate seat, but either way he starts as an underdog. That’s especially the case after Manchin’s smelly deal to sell the Biden/Schumer global-warming subsidy bill as an inflation abatement and deficit control measure. Now he has to face the music back home, and Manchin’s still trying to dance to his own imaginary tune. Good luck with that, too.

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