On the role of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party
Manchin wants Sanders to help with protests at town hall meetings
While Republicans have garnered most of the attention with their town hall meetings, some Democrats have also had to deal with protests at their meetings. As the Washington Post reported:
But protesters have also gathered in blue states, marching to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s home in Brooklyn to demand the obstruction of Trump nominees, and showing up at the offices of safe-seat Democrats to demand that they filibuster Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Consequently, Democrats have looked for ways to deal with the issue:
Such episodes spurred Democrats to ask Sanders for help, according to Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), who attended the meeting on Tuesday.
(Note -- this would be Tuesday, February 14.)
The Post story continues:
“They basically explained to Bernie, it looks like you could be the person that could calm down and make sure their energy and all this enthusiasm is directed in all the right proper channels,” Manchin said. “Bernie has a voice, and if [protesters] want to be active, then direct them to where the problem may be or where they anticipate a problem.”
. . . . Manchin insisted on Tuesday that the Democratic caucus is “unified in not wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It’s unified! So why would [protesters] spend any energy on any member who’s already committed to that? They might not like those of us who come from other parts of the country that doesn’t adhere to everything they say or want done, but on the big items, put your energy somewhere else. Bernie can deliver that message better than anybody else.”
Yesterday, Manchin appears to have changed his mind on Bernie
Politico reports that Manchin had a telephone conversation with some West Virginians on Friday:
The sometimes contentious, roughly 15-minute conversation was largely focused on the prospect of Manchin scheduling a town hall for his constituents — an idea he said he was open to, while also repeatedly asking what the objective would be.
The conference call, which involved several political activists, was recorded by one of the activists, and Manchin can be heard responding to various questions and challenges.
But as the town hall conversation got chippy — and activists on the call brought up points of disagreement with the senator — Manchin exclaimed, “What you ought to do is vote me out. Vote me out! I’m not changing. Find somebody else who can beat me and vote me out."
“Is that an invitation or a threat? I don’t understand,” responded one of the activists.
Manchin answered and then switched the conversation to Sanders:
“Sure, it’s an invitation, you ought to. I can tell that, because we’re on different pages. Are you a Bernie Sanders guy?,” asked the senator.
“Uh, well, I don’t quite see the relevance of that to this conversation,” responded the voter.
“I’m just asking," Manchin said.
“I stand with West Virginians who voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary, in all 55 counties where he won," the voter said.
Manchin then suggested a different attitude toward Sanders:
“Bernie Sanders is not even a Democrat,” said Manchin, who serves with the Vermont independent in party leadership — treading on politically treacherous territory that most other Democrats have avoided at the risk of alienating the party’s restive left wing.
Amazing. Without a hint of irony given his support for Trump's policies and cabinet nominees, Manchin claims that Sanders is not a Democrat!
On supporting the gun lobby
Breitbart recently headlined its favorite Democratic senator:
Exclusive: Sen. Joe Manchin Joins Effort to Revoke Social Security Rule Suspending Beneficiaries’ Gun Rights Without Due Process
West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin told Breitbart News he is voting to overturn the Social Security Administration practice of reporting benefit recipients to the National Instant Criminal Check System, the no-buy database for firearm purchases, without a court order or ruling declaring the individual a danger to themselves or others.
Manchin said it is unjust to have a different standard for people simply because they receive Social Security benefits.
Other Americans cannot be blocked from buying a firearm through a NCIS background without a judicial ruling, he said. “This should be the standard that all citizens face before their names are added to the NICS list.”
Here's a much different explanation of the law from USA Today:
Under a policy based on a decade-old law and approved during the final days of the Obama White House, the Social Security Administration was to submit names of people who, because of a mental disorder, can no longer work, who receive disability payments and who cannot manage their financial affairs.
The editorial asks:
What could make more sense than requiring a federal agency, which has those names, to follow the law and send them to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System?
So much for sense:
But when they had the chance, Senate Republicans — joined by four Democrats and one independent who are up for re-election next year — saluted the NRA and voted to kill the Social Security policy. The House did the same earlier this month, and the legislation is awaiting President Trump’s signature.
Senator Manchin was one of the four Democrats who voted to kill the policy.