- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 7, 2021

He is the senior U.S. senator from West Virginia, where he also served as both governor and secretary of state. Over time, Sen. Joe Manchin III‘s byword has been practicing what he calls “retail government” — connecting with and actually serving his constituents are his top priority, he says.

“He remains committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to find commonsense solutions to the problems our country faces and is working hard to usher in a new bipartisan spirit in the Senate and Congress,” notes his official biography.

That said, Mr. Manchin garnered considerable press in the last 24 hours after he essentially delayed the Senate vote on President Biden‘s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill by blurring the boundaries between Democrats and Republicans for a spell and causing some uneasiness as well. Mr. Manchin — whose vote was pivotal on the jumbo bill — used considerable finesse with his fellow Democrats by threatening to back a Republican amendment on unemployment insurance.

“He knew he had leverage and he used it,” noted Vox analyst Andrew Prokop, who declared Mr. Manchin the “winner” in the matter.

He also recalled that a fellow senator once greeted Mr. Manchin as “your highness” in a U.S. Capitol hallway.



CNN analyst Michael Smerconish, meanwhile, called Mr. Manchin’s independent thinking “refreshing” — and that it was evidence that the senator is now “the new John McCain.”

McCain was often called a “maverick” and an “insurgent” for breaking with his Republican Party on policy and other issues from time to time. So is Mr. Manchin maverick or moderate?

“Manchin explained that he did not ask to be put in a position of such individual leverage over the legislative process for these first two years of Joe Biden’s first term. But he’ll be making the most of it to cater to his West Virginia constituents who he believes want him to bridge the gap between two deeply divided political parties,” ABC News said in an analysis.

“I didn’t lobby for this position. I’m the same person I have been all my life and since I’ve been in the public offices, I’m the same. I’ve been voting the same way for the last 10 years,” Mr. Manchin told the network Sunday.

“I look for that moderate middle. The common sense that comes with the moderate middle is who I am. That’s what people expect. My state of West Virginia, they know me, they know how I’ve governed. I’ve tried to basically represent them to the best of my ability,” the senator advised.

THE REALITY CHECK

“It’s truly astonishing how much President Biden in his first weeks has opted to side with his party’s left wing and its special interests — and against even moderate Americans’ desires,” notes a New York Post editorial, particularly citing Mr. Biden policy on the southern U.S. border.

The news organization also cites the president’s reluctance to reopen the nation’s schools, his “extreme green” energy policy, and the president’s acceptance of cancel culture.

“Whether he fears the power of the left, or has no real idea how extreme his administration is proving, the president is rejecting the sensible center across the board. He’s not only being foolish, he’s doing the exact opposite of his inaugural vow to unify the nation,” the Post advised.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Operation Lone Star.”

That’s the official title for pushback against porous borders. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard have banded together to counter the smuggling of both people and drugs into the state — citing “air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets” to curtail these activities.

“The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration. Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement released Saturday.

A FUTURE LANDMARK

Vice President Kamala Harris‘ childhood home in Berkeley, California, is now under consideration to become a historic landmark.

“Berkeley leaders will consider a resolution on Tuesday that would allow for homes of historic residents to be given landmark status,” reports TV station KJO, the ABC affiliate in the area.

“Current city rules only allow landmark status for places where historic events occurred. The resolution would allow for homes of historic Berkeley residents to be given landmark status,” the station noted.

It is not an instant process, however. If the resolution passes, a landmark application will need to be approved by the City Council and Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Childhood homes of noteworthy politicians prompt intense interest in their neighborhoods for a variety of reasons. They reinforce neighborhood pride, could one day become a tourist destination and can actually increase property values.

Former President Trump‘s modest boyhood home — built in 1940 and located in Queens, New York — was sold in 2017 at auction to an unnamed buyer for $2.14 million.

“This property is so much more than just real estate; it’s the childhood home of the 45th president of the United States, and it’s a part of history. That intangible value makes it a perfect example of why special properties are appropriately sold by auction, just like art is. As they say, beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder,” noted Misha Haghani, founder of Paramount Realty USA, which managed the transaction at the time.

Such residences have much potential for their host city as well. Former President Bill Clinton‘s birthplace home in Hope, Arkansas, is now under the management of the National Park Service, complete with ranger-led tours and bearing the title “President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 37% of U.S. adults say the economy is “getting worse”; 60% of Republicans, and 36% of independents and 18% of Democrats agree.

• 31% overall say the economy is “about the same” as it was; 22% of Republicans, and 33% of independents and 39% of Democrats agree.

• 19% overall say the economy is “getting better”; 8% of Republicans, and 16% of independents and 32% of Democrats agree.

• 13% are “not sure” about the state of the economy; 11% of Republicans, and 14% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree.

Source: The Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 27-March 2.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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