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The Smear Campaign Against Joe Manchin

By Rich Lowry on

Joe Manchin is being pilloried for the offense of being consistent on the filibuster.

Back in 2017, when Senate Democrats were desperate to stop Donald Trump's agenda, 33 of them, including Manchin, signed a bipartisan letter backing the filibuster in ringing terms.

"We are mindful of the unique role the Senate plays in the legislative process," they wrote, "and we are steadfastly committed to ensuring that this great American institution continues to serve as the world's greatest deliberative body."

Well, the commitment of almost all the Democrats was not quite as steadfast as advertised.

Now that the filibuster is an obstacle to passing Joe Biden's agenda, the longstanding Senate procedure has been deemed a threat to our system of government and to racial justice that only a naif or cynic can support.

And that means you, Joe Manchin.

 

The West Virginia senator has been badgered for months by reporters eager to get him to change his mind on the filibuster, or at least show some flexibility. Now, the pressure campaign from within his own party has ratcheted up to include over-the-top insults that have an air of desperation about them.

After Manchin reiterated his support for the filibuster and made clear his opposition to HR1, a sweeping Democratic voting bill, in an op-ed over the weekend, progressive House Democratic Mondaire Jones from New York unloaded on Twitter. Per Jones, the headline of Manchin's piece might as well have been, "Why I'll vote to preserve Jim Crow."

This is a preposterous smear, and a transparent attempt to bludgeon Manchin into submission by defining his sincere attachment to Senate tradition and belief in bipartisanship as tantamount to racism.

Another New York member of the House, Jamaal Bowman, said on CNN, "Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell."

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