WASHINGTON – The doors to the State Dining Room opened on Tuesday for a presidential warning regarding the omicron COVID-19 variant. Marine One landed on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday morning, with a Marine on hand to open the cabin door and greet the chief passenger.
Both times it was Joe Biden, the 46th President-elect and certified of the United States, who walked through the doors – not Senator Joe Manchin III, although many in Washington and beyond have dubbed the moderate Democrat of Virginia. -Western “the real president”. “
To be clear, the former West Virginia University quarterback never called himself the Shadow or the Real President. In fact, Manchin stuck to his popular claims that he only seeks to protect the people of his home state by pushing back and then torpedoing Biden’s “Build Back Better” domestic spending plan. This is, after all, his main job.
So it’s curious that so many people in politics and media have latched onto and spread the narrative that Manchin, because he has the power to block Biden’s agenda in the Senate, is the real CEO. . This notion was put in the spotlight last week when TV host Charlamagne Tha God asked Vice President Kamala Harris if Manchin was running the country.
It is important to note, as an aside for another day, the first part of Charlamagne Tha God’s question on Comedy Central’s “Tha God’s Honest Truth”. It was astute political analysis that should alarm Harris and the Democrats.
“What scares me is that if the voting rights do not pass, the Build Back Better [bill] does not pass, or the reform of the police does not pass, I doubt that you will get blacks to vote in 2022 and 2024 ”, he declared. “And, you know, Trump will be president again. What’s the plan for all of this? He’s right, and the polls support the premise.
Harris did not respond directly, prompting Charlamagne Tha God to ask bluntly, “I want to know who is the real president of this country?” Is it Joe Biden or Joe Manchin? Harris pushed back forcefully, noting that Biden is POTUS and she is VPOTUS.
But Manchin’s account as president is full of holes and ignores reality. Here are three reasons why.
• This implies that Congress should be a rubber stamp.
“Someone has to push Joe Manchin away. This guy is stopping progress. It ruins democracy, ”warned Charlamagne Tha God.
He is opposed to the prerogatives of a President and a Chamber – which have already adopted a version of the “Build back better” plan – which he concluded to go too far. This is how the Founding Fathers created the Senate.
Manchin is simply exercising the powers given to the chamber to which West Virginia elected him. This came in Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the power of lawmakers to raise and allocate funds.
Democrats have howled for four years whenever then-President Donald Trump made heavy demands on lawmakers over his proposed border wall and a list of other issues.
Same office. Same powers. Same Constitution.
• Manchin mainly spoke of the country roads of West Virginia.
This is not only appropriate for a senator, it is his main job: to deliver for their constituents. Manchin has been consistent on this point throughout this legislative drama that has lasted for months.
“I knew where they (the White House officials) were, and I knew what they could and couldn’t do. They just never realized it, because they thought, “Surely to God, we can move a person, surely we can harass and beat a person, surely we can have enough protesters to make that person hurt enough. feel comfortable, ”Manchin said Monday in a local radio interview.
“Guess what? I’m from West Virginia. I’m not from where they’re from, and they can just beat up people alive and think they’re going to be submissive,” he added. “
As White House press secretary Jen Psaki regularly tells reporters, Biden, on the other hand, is reflecting on what he thinks is best for the whole country. It is his job, again, as described in the Constitution.
Manchin would have been right if he had announced his decision by quoting John Denver’s song about his condition: “Country roads, take me home; To the place where I belong; West Virginia, mother of the mountains; Take me home, country roads.
• It ignores the roles of the Senate and the Presidency.
After the Sunday morning drama – and after the senator got a little more out of breath on his radio hit – things returned to normal on Monday afternoon.
Spirits were a lot cooler by the time Psaki stepped out for his afternoon press briefing. Remarkably, after essentially saying that Manchin lied to Biden in his bloated 720-word statement, the president’s key spokesperson declined to answer questions about the broadside. His subsequent rosy description of the Biden-Manchin bromance made one wonder: What was the purpose – aside from shock and anger – of Sunday’s statement?
“The door remains open. The President considers him a longtime friend, someone who has worked with (him) on a range of initiatives and goals over the past few years that they have known each other, ”she told journalists. “And that’s really where we’re coming from.”
A reporter asked if Biden still viewed his “friend” as an honest trader. Psaki said his boss “said from the start he continues to see him (Manchin) as a friend. And of course, our statement yesterday on the events of the past few weeks, I think, speaks for itself. “
The same goes for the lighter tone, which was tantamount to an olive branch to start mending the damaged relationship and eventually recoup some of the spending budget. It was a White House president and staff courting a key senator they needed to pass major legislation.
Just how the founders crafted it.