The NY Times discusses the Trump presidency and Manchin's role
Sunday's New York Times Magazine featured a long article by Robert Draper, "Trump vs. Congress: Now What?" In the article Draper discussed the role that the West Virginia senator might play:
The Senate Democrat who, to outward appearances, seems closest to Trump is Joe Manchin, who met face to face with the president-elect in Trump Tower in December. Before the meeting, Bannon took the West Virginia senator aside. “The thing you need to know about Trump,” Bannon said, “is he doesn’t care about the Republican Party and he doesn’t care about the Democratic Party. He just wants to put some wins on the board for the country.” In the meeting, Trump asked Manchin what could be done for coal miners. Manchin replied that he should support his Miners Protection Act, which would secure health benefits and pension funds for retired miners. According to Manchin, Trump replied that he would thoroughly support such a measure.
Later that month, Manchin went on “Morning Joe” — the one show on MSNBC that Trump has been known to watch — to discuss, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the Newtown school massacre, the need to expand background checks on gun purchases. Within an hour after Manchin was offscreen, his cellphone rang. It was Trump. Manchin was not completely forthcoming about the conversation, but he did tell me that he envisioned “a complete opportunity” for new gun-safety legislation. Unlike with Obama, he said, “no one thinks President Trump would do anything that would take away your gun rights.”
Manchin may be right about no one thinking that Trump would take away gun rights. On the other hand, taking a moderate position on the issue has repeatedly gotten him in trouble with the 2nd Amendment absolutists.
Breitbart reads the New York Times article and doesn't like what it's reading
For the last three months, Breitbart, the extremely conservative news site that is among President Trump's favorites, has had good things to say about Senator Manchin -- he's probably their favorite Democrat. (Note -- there's not much competition in this category.) (See here and here for examples.) Unfortunately for Joe, embracing Trump and often acting like a Republican is apparently not good enough for the all of the Breitbart crew. For some of their writers, Breitbart senators need to look like a rightwing zealot on all issues. For example, Monday's Breitbart News published an article by AWR Hawkin dealing with the Manchin position on gun control that was referenced in the NY Times article. Who is Hawkins?
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio."
(Armed America Radio? Do they just play Ted Nugent?)
Given his positions at Breitbart, it's not surprising that Hawkins took issue with Manchin's position on gun control as referenced in the Times article. To that end, the article politely explains to the senator why he should not consider background checks. Hawkins concludes:
Manchin is a Democrat from a pro-gun, red state that President Trump won handily. He is pushing gun control, and West Virginians need to remember he is up for re-election in 2018.
Hawkins conclusion provides a subtle reminder to the senator that on some issues important to Breitbart followers and Trump supporters, you can't be extreme enough.
Outside the state, Senator Joe doesn't get much respect for his solution to WV's drug crisis
Inside the state, Manchin's ideas (first announced in December) for solving the opioid epidemic have gotten coverage but not much criticism. Outside the state, however, he has received considerable criticism. (See here for instance.)
Yesterday, Linette Lopez's article in Business Insider tells us that
The Senator from ground zero of the opioid crisis has no idea what he's talking about
Lopez discusses an interview that the senator recently gave to STAT News about dealing with the state's drug crisis. She explains:
In fighting the opioid crisis that is taking lives across the country, it would be helpful if the Senator from ground zero of the crisis, West Virginia, knew what he was talking about when it comes to solving it.
But sadly, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has demonstrated that he has little to no grasp of what's causing and exacerbating the problem.
In an interview with STAT News, Manchin offered nothing but pithy solutions and ideological dog whistles to the White House. He talked about educating people about the dangers of the drug, decried marijuana as a gateway drug, and called for a "one-penny fee on every milligram of opiates that are produced and sold in America" to be collected for treatment.
That's all very nice. But that's all it is — nice.
Manchin said nothing of the true driver of the opioid crisis — the pharmaceutical industry's greed and the lack of transparency in our healthcare system. What this requires is regulation, and there was none of that talk in Manchin's interview.
And that's sad, because West Virginia is the poster child for how big pharma used its power and influence to shove drugs down people's throats. Addiction to opioids doesn't start with marijuana. It starts with a doctor's prescription, and in West Virginia, that has been all-too readily available.