Why-for art thou, Joe Manchin?


Why don’t you go, Joe Manchinio, our nation turns its tearful eyes to you.“*

(*With apologies to my AEPi fraternity brother, Paul Simon. I think he’d approve.)

The New York Times reported yesterday, “Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, pulled the plug Thursday on negotiations to salvage key pieces of President Biden’s agenda, informing his party’s leaders that he would not support funding for climate or energy programs…”

This, despite, as the Times reported, “In recent months, Democrats had slashed their ambitions for such a plan to win over Mr. Manchin, hoping that he would agree to support even a fraction of the sweeping initiative they once envisioned. His abrupt shift appeared to dash those aspirations.”

Democratic colleagues, believing, naively, that Manchin was negotiating in good faith, were reportedly “shell-shocked,” particularly Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who, the Times reported, “conceded to every request and more. Up until Thursday evening, the majority leader thought a deal was possible, according to climate activists who spoke with Mr. Schumer later that night. The White House also made concessions to Mr. Manchin.”

Apparently, neither Mr. Schumer nor White House staffers ever took the time to read the Around the Block fable posted last year called, The land where almost no one visited and its favorite son, Joe, Duke of ManchinThe story of one ambitious man’s rise to power, influence and breathtaking lack of irony. Because, if they did, they wouldn’t have been so blind-sided.

Comments from other Democrats as well as climate activists suggest they too did not take the time to read, or to learn about Joe Manchin’s ambition and duplicity, which I clearly, if facetiously, articulated last year in Around the Block. Nor did they seem to recall that Manchin once ran a campaign advertisement in which he shot a bullet hole through President Obama’s climate plan. 

For example:

  • “Rage keeps me from tears,” said Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts.
  • “I’m not going to sugarcoat my disappointment here, especially since nearly all issues in the climate and energy space had been resolved,” said Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “This is our last chance to prevent the most catastrophic — and costly — effects of climate change. We can’t come back in another decade and forestall hundreds of billions — if not trillions — in economic damage and undo the inevitable human toll.”
  • Mr. Manchin, said Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, “has shown that he doesn’t know how to close a deal — or he doesn’t want to close a deal — and that you can’t trust him.”
  • “It’s been a really, really terrible day,” Senator Tina Smith, Democrat of Minnesota and a key champion of the climate provisions, said in an interview. “If Senator Manchin wants a deal on climate and energy, he can have one in a heartbeat. This is Senator Manchin’s deal for the taking, and if it doesn’t happen, it is on him.”
  • “He has pretended to be a fair arbiter,” Jamal Raad, executive director of the climate advocacy group Evergreen Action, said of Mr. Manchin. “He talked about his grandchildren. It turns out that’s all bullshit. He cares about profits for his coal company and his own political future over the future of our planet.”
  • Tiernan Sittenfeld, the senior vice president for government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, a nonprofit group, said Mr. Manchin had condemned future generations. There truly aren’t words, at least words that are suitable for printing in The New York Times, for how appalled and outraged we are,” she said.

And Manchin himself?

In an interview with West Virginia radio talk-show host Hoppy Kercheval*, Manchin disingenuously declared, “I am where I have been — I would not put my staff through this, I would not put myself through this if I wasn’t sincere about trying to find a pathway forward to do something that’s good for our country.”

(*Around the Block loves making up names in the spirt of satire, but I promise I did not make up “Hoppy Kercheval.” I wonder if William (aka Hopalong “Hoppy” Cassidy) Boyd is turning over in his grave?)

In an official statement. Manchin’s spokeswoman, Sam Runyon, declined to discuss his position but did say that Manchin, “has not walked away from the table.”

To which I say, “Why would anyone who believes in saving the planet want to sit at any table with him?”

Please look out for the next Around the Block in which I’ll provide my thoughts on how to make Senator Joe Manchin, otherwise known in the world of Around the Block as the “Duke of Manchin,” irrelevant.

I’m hoping that, unlike that “Duke of Manchin” fable, someone from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), ActBlue and others, will read my next column, take heed, and take action!

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

10 thoughts on “Why-for art thou, Joe Manchin?

  1. At the very minimum the Democrats should not let Manchin lunch or caucus with them. Not a Democrat in any way, shape or form and just a Joe Lieberman of his time. No trust in him for anything pertaining to the common good. Hard to believe a Senator, from a depressed state such as West Virginia, consistently votes against efforts that would benefit his constituents but rather furthers his own economic interests.
    This is what you get from an undereducated, head in the sand, predjudiced populace in a very “red” maga state. We all suffer for it. “ When will they ever learn…..”


  2. The only problem is that if WV didn’t give us Manchin, they would give us a conservative Republican. Separate problem is that Manchin’s millions come from the coal industry, and he isn’t going to vote against anything in their interest.


  3. It is time someone told Manshin to become a true Democrat or get out of the party. Being as he does not run for re-election this year that would put the Dems behind the 8 ball, but which is worse? He is hurting the party by saying he is a democrat when he is not. As an independent he can still reject bills as he is doing right now, but at least there will be no appearance that the Dems are cutting their own throats, and the throats of their voters. If they, the Dems, cannot get anything done, sobeit. But at least they can look like they are trying to do something. Right now they look like stooges!


    1. I couldn’t agree more. But leaving the Party, either as a Republican or an Independent wouldn’t jibe with his narcissism nor fulfill his desire for power and influence; he would simply become one of many. As I wrote, the bigger problem is the naïveté of the Democrats in playing into his game by continuing to “negotiate,” or rather, suck up to him. The real question, one I’m working on, is how to make him irrelevant.


      1. I would hope my above suggestion would lead to that, but I am not well versed in the intricacies of Ametican politics. I can see where nooting him out might make him more relevant undr current vircumstances. “The Dems don’t want me because they see how powerful I really am!” whine whine.
        How about just making sure he lises the next primary he is inbolved in.Boot him out QUIETLY, lol.


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