Democrats have no shame. Not even a little bit.
Two Democratic Senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, currently stand in the way of their goal to abolish the legislative filibuster.
Naturally, Democrats are launching a major pressure campaign to get one or both to change their minds.
In a Friday press release, the White House announced that Gayle Manchin, Sen. Manchin’s wife, has been nominated to serve as the federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. On its website, the organization describes itself as an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments which works to “strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.”
Manchin is eminently qualified for this position. As per the White House announcement:
An educator from West Virginia, Gayle Manchin worked in Marion County Schools, served on the faculty of Fairmont State University, and was the Director of the university’s first Community Service Learning Program. She directed the AmeriCorps Promise Fellows in WV and implemented a statewide initiative, WV Partnerships to Assure Student Success. Manchin previously served as West Virginia’s First Lady and was appointed to serve as a member of the State Board of Education, serving her last two years as President. She is the Chair of the Board for Reconnecting McDowell, Inc., an AFT initiative serving rural WV, is a past president of the Vandalia Rotary Club of Charleston, and as an Emeritus Member of The Education Alliance. She also served as Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Office of Education and the Arts.
Gayle Conelly Manchin attended West Virginia University, attaining her Bachelor of Arts in Language Arts and Education and a Master of Arts in Reading, and a second master’s specialization in Educational Technology Leadership from Salem International University.
Still, most would agree the optics of her nomination coming at this time aren’t good.
Democratic leaders aren’t the only ones trying to influence Sens. Manchin and Sinema.
Politico reported this week that black civil rights leaders plan to lobby hard to persuade them to reconsider. Rev. Al Sharpton plans to hold town halls and rallies in Sinema’s and Manchin’s home states. He said, “The pressure that we are going to put on Sinema and Manchin is calling [the filibuster] racist and saying that they are, in effect, supporting racism. Why would they be wedded to something that has those results? Their voters need to know that.” I posted about this story here.
As I wrote, Sinema and/or Manchin may yet flip, but I would be willing to bet it wouldn’t be because Al Sharpton and his merry band of civil rights leaders came to their states and called them racists. The application of such overt pressure could backfire spectacularly on them, particularly in a bright red state like West Virginia.
Nor do I think offering his wife the co-chair position at ARC would cause Manchin to flip. He is well aware of how that would appear.
Expect the pressure on Sens. Manchin and Sinema from party leaders, colleagues, civil rights leaders and a portion of their voters to accelerate in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to watch the Democrats beclown themselves.