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West Virginia stubborn, or playing hard to get
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin pisses off his party yet again … to what end?
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
Also in this report:
- Atlanta DA Fani Willis may beat Justice Department to the courthouse door
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shows Donald Trump the money
Another co-dependent, dysfunctional chapter has been written in the fraught relationship between West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and the Democratic Party to which he claims to belong.
This time around, Manchin KO’ed the Biden Administration’s plan to pour billions into climate change mitigation, after weeks of semi-quiet negotiations with Chuck Schumer to reach a deal. The reason? Manchin says he doesn’t want to aggravate the worst inflation in 40 years with more federal spending.
His fellow Democrats erupted, with a lot of chatter about obstructionism in the face of existential threats. New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich questioned why Manchin is still being allowed to helm the Senate Energy Committee. (Answer: Because pushing him out is the best way to turn him into a Republican.) Bernie Sanders thundered that Manchin was “intentionally sabotaging” President Biden’s agenda, even though Manchin’s behavior seems more capricious than intentional.
Manchin has yet again teased fellow Democrats with flirtatious negotiations, before yanking the rose out of their hands. To what end, it’s hard to see, given that he’d be better off politically in his home state by not negotiating in the first place. Then again, it has made him the center of attention, which should never be underestimated as a motivating factor in the halls of Congress.
Those disposed to ascribe the worst of motives to Manchin will no doubt be encouraged by a Politico report detailing how he has been the top recipient of campaign cash from the energy industry – and then providing five paragraphs of names of a veritable who’s who of energy executives, energy lobbyists and other business bigwigs who have opened up their checkbooks to him in the last quarter as he hemmed and hawed on climate spending.
♦Atlanta’s chief prosecutor, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, is rolling right along in her investigation of efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss in the Peach State, firing off grand jury subpoenas to state officials and at least two members of Congress, South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and Georgia U.S. Rep. Jody Hice.
Graham and Hice are fighting the subpoenas; Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are cooperating. Perhaps more ominous for Trumpworld was a scoop from Yahoo News that Willis has sent target letters to three top state Republicans – David Shafer, chair of the Georgia Republican Party and State Senators State Senators Burt Jones and Brandon Beach – indicating that they could be indicted; she’s also considering subpoenaing Trump himself.
With the Justice Department in Washington moving at a glacial pace in its investigation of the January 6 coup attempt, Willis could very well beat them to the courthouse door, throwing an enormous monkey wrench into Republican campaigns in statewide races, particularly that of Jones, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor. But Kemp, too, is likely to face pressure from the MAGA faithful to use his pardon power to thwart Willis if she takes the plunge.
♦Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has to date been non-committal (Coy? Playing Hamlet?) about whether he plans to run for president in 2024 if Trump also runs. But a new bit of fundraising news from the Washington Post indicates some support for that prospect among donors.
Trump’s fundraising operation raised $36 million in the first half of 2022, the first time he has raised less than $50 million in a six-month period since leaving the White House. DeSantis, on the other hand, raised $45 million from January to June, besting Trump by $9 million.
Granted, DeSantis is in the middle of an active re-election campaign, and Trump is not. But these figures are an indication that DeSantis will be a formidable obstacle to Trump 2.0 if he decides to run.