In an example of what effectively amounts to bribery unusual even by Washington standards, President Joe Biden has just appointed Gayle Conelly Manchin to be federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, the entity responsible for economic development and investment in its 13-state catchment area.
Her nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, but as a matter of senatorial courtesy — and because of the rubber-stamp Democratic Senate majority — her approval is likely.
Manchin, of course, has emerged as the key player in Senate deliberations over whether to pass the aggressive package of radical legislation Biden has laid before the Congress.
Whether Biden and Pelosi’s bill to impose voting regulations on states that enable massive fraud or his bill to borrow another $3 trillion for domestic spending are approved largely hinge on how Manchin votes on the filibuster.
Originally, the West Virginia senator said that he would never agree to ending the practice “under any conditions,” but lately has indicated that he would leave the door open to essentially exempting the election regulation changes from the filibuster, likely assuring its passage.
More immediately, the appointment of Mrs. Manchin was announced on Friday, ten days after the Senate Armed Services Committee “indefinitely postponed” a vote on Biden’s nomination of his former staff aide Colin Kahl to be the Pentagon policy chief.
Manchin, who sits on the committee and was undecided on March 16 when the nomination was postponed, voted to back the nomination and report it to the floor on Wednesday. Two days later, Mrs. Manchin’s appointment was announced.
Kahl’s nomination had run into Republican opposition over his highly partisan tweet calling the GOP the “party of ethnic cleansing” and saying that Republicans “debase themselves at the altar of Trump.” He is also under fire for his criticism of Israel.
The Hill reported that “Christians United for Israel has placed full page ads in newspapers across West Virginia urging people to contact Manchin in opposition to Kahl, accusing the nominee of ‘hostility’ toward Israel. The same group also backed a letter sent to Manchin last week from 70 Republican West Virginia state lawmakers opposing Kahl.”
Kahl strongly supports the U.S. rejoining the Iranian WMD accords, a position at odds with the Republicans on the committee.
When the committee deadlocked on the Kahl nomination, Manchin said he had not yet decided to back it.
That likely was a dog-whistle signal to Biden to proceed with Mrs. Manchin’s appointment. Her appointment duly followed the whistle 48 hours later.
Peter Schweizer, the best-selling author of the book “Clinton Cash” that exposed the workings of the Clinton Foundation, told The Washington Times, “Politicians use various inducements to get other politicians to change their minds on issues.
“Unfortunately, it often works all too well.”
It is impolite and perhaps impolitic to accuse the president and a key senator of giving and receiving a bribe, but what else would you call it?
Don’t count on Manchin to stand against the filibuster. He has been effectively bought and paid for.
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