NEWS AND OPINION:
A West Virginia Democrat has emerged as a powerhouse centrist who is not afraid to push back on his own party against a $2 trillion spending bill, among other things. We’re talking about Sen. Joe Manchin, of course — deemed a commonsense lawmaker by the press and possibly even a “maverick” — a word often used in past years to describe John McCain, the late Arizona senator and longtime Republican leader.
Earlier this year, CNN referred to Mr. Manchin as “the new John McCain.” But it’s gone a little farther than that.
“Joe Manchin, the Democrats’ other ‘president,’ had an eventful 2021, Sen. Joe Manchin was practically an administration unto himself,” The Washington Post advised this week.
“For the Democratic agenda, all roads go through West Virginia,” the Post noted, referring to the senator as “President Manchin.”
A Fox Business headline also offered insight.
“Biden’s mega-spending bill could be in jeopardy as Manchin stands his ground. Manchin opposes the bill’s cost and is reportedly concerned about the expanded child tax credit,” the network’s analysis said.
The operative term here is “stands his ground,” a quality that could appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle.
The situation prompted President Biden to call Mr. Manchin this week about his opposition to the bill.
“Mr. Manchin has so far stood by his central critique of the package: that it temporarily funds programs that Democrats intend to later make permanent, as a way to disguise the full price of its provisions,” the Wall Street Journal said.
The press has even asked if Mr. Manchin was ready to desert the Democratic Party.
“I don’t intend to leave. But I intend to be honest,” the senator advised curious reporters, according to NBC News.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Democrat, is also making headlines by questioning issues dear to Democratic leadership — like voting rights or doing away with the filibuster. The situation is evolving and difficult to summarize in this particular column at the moment. But stay tuned.
Meanwhile, The Deseret News has placed Ms. Sinema on their list of “2022 Change Makers,” praising her “political plasticity.”
ORANGE MAN BAD!
The media is protecting President Biden, according to some.
“Remember how, when Donald Trump was president, writing bogus attack pieces and talking endlessly about how he stole the 2016 election were all good for the country. Because, you know, dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Now, reporting undisputed facts that happen to be unflattering to the current president poses a grave threat to the survival of the nation. That’s what journalists are saying,” said an Issues & Answers editorial released Thursday.
“As President Joe Biden’s approval numbers continue to collapse, and polls — including the latest Issues & Answers/TIPP poll — find that Trump is more popular than Biden these days, some of the ‘truth to power’ crowd are using their platforms to attack their fellow scribes for being ‘too negative’ on Biden. The argument is that hurting Biden increases the chances that Trump, if he runs, could reclaim the White House in 2024, and that will be the end of democracy as we know it,” the news organization noted.
“The press spent four years debasing itself with wildly misreported anti-Trump stories that then forced some outlets to issue an endless number of embarrassing corrections. They did this expressly because they wanted to subvert the will of the people and drive Trump from office. That was called protecting democracy,” the editorial continued.
The press now soft-pedals inflation, the border crisis and other serious issues to preserve Mr. Biden’s popularity.
“And we can’t have Biden look bad because that could help Trump win back the presidency (assuming he even runs and gets the GOP nomination). And if Trump were to legitimately win the 2024 election (which would have to be the case because the left keeps telling us that voter fraud is a myth), then that will be tantamount to a coup because, well, because — because — Orange Man Bad!” the editorial concluded.
“Orange Man,” for the uninitiated, was an uncomplimentary nickname for former President Trump in the press and elsewhere when he was in office.
MEANWHILE ON THE BORDER
The southern U.S. border continues to be an unhappy place.
“It’s the latest challenge for the Biden administration, which for months has been grappling with large numbers of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. In October, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested nearly 22,000 people crossing the border in Yuma, Arizona — a 1,200% increase from January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data,” reported CNN.
There has also been a surge in illegal drug traffic as agents become occupied with the rush to keep up with new arrivals, particularly those journeying from South America.
“Migrants across the world know the U.S. border is open because Democrats control the White House and Congress,” said Torunn Sinclair, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“Democrats continue to do nothing,” he added.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: The Gould Swaby Mansion, built on half an acre in 1870 in Seneca Falls, New York. Six bedrooms, five baths, front parlor with floor-to-ceiling windows, three fireplaces, living and dining room with 19th-century mural; 3,482 square feet. Gourmet kitchen, kitchenette on upper floors, original flooring and woodworking, “lovingly restored.” Said to be the inspiration for the Old Granville house featured in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life”, Priced at $439,900 through Century21.com; enter R1380954 in the search function.
POLL DU JOUR
• 72% of U.S. adults plan to see family and friends outside of their own household during the Christmas and holiday season.
• 47% say family visits pose a “small risk” to health and well-being, 30% say they are a “moderate risk.
• 15% say the visits pose no risk and 6% say they pose a large risk.
• 52% say returning to their “pre-COVID” life right now is a “large or moderate risk.”
• 31% do not expect to return to their pre-COVID life for more than a year.
Source: An Axios/IPSOS Coronavirus Index Poll of 993 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 10-13.
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• Jennifer Harper can be reached at email@example.com.
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