Manchin fires back at Bernie's op-ed in West Virginia newspaper- "a self-declared Independent socialist"

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Bernie Sanders wrote an op-ed for publication in West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper. It was published on Friday. What followed is what happens when the Senate’s most progressive Democrat takes direct fire at one of the Senate’s most moderate Democrats. Bernie threw down the gauntlet over Manchin’s resistance to his $3.5T infrastructure bill. Manchin didn’t appreciate being blindsided by “a self-declared Independent socialist”, an “out-of-stater”.

Sanders is increasingly desperate to get the behemoth social spending-laden infrastructure wish list moved in the Senate. Bernie Sanders is chair of the Senate Budget Committee which is all you need to know about which way Democrats intend to take the country. Perhaps he thought writing an op-ed was the way to go around Senator Manchin and tempt West Virginians with all kinds of “free” goodies like community college and daycare. He touts an expansion of Medicare to include dental, hearing aids and eyeglasses for seniors. He wrote about affordable housing and even climate change. Did he really think that pushing climate change alarmism was the way to go in West Virginia? It shows the level of how out-of-touch progressive politicians are when it comes to what regular Americans are concerned about. West Virginia is an energy-producing state, a coal-mining state.

And then there is the existential threat of climate change. With the planet becoming warmer and warmer, with unprecedented forest fires, drought, floods and extreme weather disturbances, and when scientists tell us that we only have a few years to avoid irreparable damage to our country and planet, this legislation begins the process of cutting carbon emissions and transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

The op-ed to encourage support for Biden’s Build Back Better agenda states that polling shows that Americans are in favor of the infrastructure bills yet what he doesn’t say is that polls also show that Americans don’t really know what is in the bills. The reconciliation bill with $3.5T spending opposed by Senators Manchin and Sinema hasn’t even been fully written. There is still a lot of wheeling and dealing going on with it to get more senators on board. It is an embarrassment to the Biden administration that two moderate Democrats are so fully committed to opposing the reconciliation bill.

You would think that Bernie would know better than to pull such a stunt against Manchin. Remember back in January when Kamala did a television interview with a station in West Virginia? She was trying to apply some pressure to Manchin in order to get his support for Biden’s massive COVID-19 spending package. She tried to convince the state’s residents that their jobs in the fossil fuel energy sector could be replaced, that the workers could simply re-train and find other jobs. It was an incredibly tone-deaf conversation that only someone with absolutely no practical knowledge of the lives of working-class people would put forth. Bernie is in the same category. Here’s a snippet of what Kamala was selling that day to Manchin’s voters:

Harris said, “All of those skilled workers who are in the coal industry and transferring those skills to what we need to do in terms of dealing with reclaiming abandoned land mines; what we need to do around plugging leaks from oil and gas wells; and, transferring those important skills to the work that has yet to be done that needs to get done,” echoing comments from other Biden administration officials who have suggested that people who are trained in fossil fuel industries can somehow be simply repurposed into making solar panels or the like.

Manchin has shown some glimpses into his anger and frustration with his fellow Democrats in recent days. He was visibly upset over remarks Chuck Schumer made against Republicans who oppose the reconciliation legislation – all Republican senators do, at least for now. Manchin is being as blunt in his language with Sanders and his op-ed as he was then with Schumer.

“Congress should proceed with caution on any additional spending and I will not vote for a reckless expansion of government programs,” Manchin wrote in a statement. “No op-ed from a self-declared Independent socialist is going to change that.”

Manchin is popular in his home state. He’s the state’s only Democrat in statewide elected office. Progressives and socialists like Bernie and Kamala should have learned by now that Manchin knows he has unique leverage in the Senate and he is using it. Why would he pass up on this opportunity just to play nice with Bernie Sanders and The Squad in the House? Bernie has been holding press conferences to criticize Manchin and Sinema. He wrote an op-ed for Fox News earlier this week. Sanders relies heavily on class divisions and scapegoating capitalism. In short, Republicans are bad. It’s ironic that Bernie is such a hypocrite about wealth and capitalism. He owns three homes and enjoys a very comfortable life thanks to capitalism. The man has never held a real job in his adult life. He’s a career politician.

“Will all Democrats stand together to protect the interests of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor?” Sanders asked in the piece. “Will all Democrats stand together to take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry, and wealthy campaign contributors? I certainly hope so.”

Democrats are starting to accept the fact that the $3.5T legislation isn’t going to happen, at least not while the Senate is split 50/50. Biden has no mandate. He has a small majority in the House. There is no reason for moderate Democrats to go along with crazy, out-of-control spending as they face voters in the mid-term elections. Biden is deeply unpopular and he’s only 9 months into his presidency.

Biden knows his agenda is on the skids. Democrats are working to trim down the reconciliation bill to a more acceptable price tag for moderates. Biden admitted that the original bill is dead but promises to take what he can get for now and go back to get the rest later.

Biden said on Friday that he does not think the $3.5 trillion plan will be passed, and a slimmed-down version will prevail.

Yet, although he expects the package to shrink, he said during a visit to Connecticut that he would top up the legislation after it was passed.

‘We’re not going to get $3.5 trillion,’ he admitted.

‘We’ll get less than that, but we’re gonna get it.

‘And we’re going to come back and get the rest.’

Let’s hope that Manchin and Sinema hold strong together. American taxpayers deserve better than Bernie Sanders’ fever dream of a socialist America.