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The Grinch who stole Joe Biden’s Christmas

Joe Manchin’s grand act of defiance

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., leaves his office after speaking with President Biden. Associated Press/Photo by J. Scott Applewhite

The Grinch who stole Joe Biden’s Christmas

The White House was lighted with candles and such,

but President Joe Biden simply wanted too much.

For Christmas he wanted a very long list,

“I’ll transform society! You get the gist.

But even as POTUS sent Congress a letter,

demanding the deal he called, “Build Back Better,”

down the road lived a senator, Manchin by name,

who saw through the president’s big spending game.

He saw the big dollars, he heard the big boasts,

He saw the inflation, and heard the old ghosts.

So he went to the White House and said “it’s too much,”

But the president said “you’re so out of touch.”

But Joe Manchin walked out with the vote that was needed;

his advice was despised, his words went unheeded.

But he had the last word, as he stood all aglow.

“I can’t get there,” he said. “This is a NO!”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was rip-roaring mad when she condemned Sen. Joe Manchin for political treason against President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. Psaki indicted the West Virginia senator for “a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position.” Manchin had basically killed any chance the White House would get its “Build Back Better” spending bill through the Senate. So long as Joe Manchin holds the critical last vote, Biden will not get to “transform” American society through spending trillions more dollars and socializing new expanses of the American landscape.

In truth, Manchin did not reverse his position. To the contrary, he held firm and stood his ground. He had been right all along. Joe Manchin did not pull the change in policy—Joe Biden did.

Biden had won the nomination as a “moderate” Democrat. But the moderates in that party had basically been thrown out by the insurgent left wing. That process began in the Obama years, but the 2016 and 2020 runs made by Sen. Bernie Sanders, plus the arrival of “The Squad” in the House of Representatives, pushed the old Democratic center entirely off the stage—or so the progressives thought.

By the time Biden was inaugurated, the old survivor of Democratic politics had decided to embrace the agenda of his party’s left with the zeal of a new convert. Central figures within his administration began to talk of Biden as “transformational,” comparing him to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Biden clearly liked the flattery, and may have believed it. Of course, the entire charade required the forgetting of history—including the history of Joe Biden himself, who has only recently discovered that he can out-liberal the biggest of the big spenders.

The president sold himself, and sold the voters, on the claim that he was the last of the big-time deal makers. He tacked far left, threw fiscal restraint to the four winds, played up to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and seemed to forget the fact that the Senate is still divided 50/50 and that every single senator answers to the voters of exactly one state, not to the Maoists on college campuses or the liberal commentariat. They do not answer to the White House staff, or even to the president of the United States.

For Joe Manchin, that one state is West Virginia. I live right next door, in Kentucky, so I know Joe Manchin’s folks very well. West Virginians have an abundance of two important commodities, coal and common sense. Joe Manchin understands what Jen Psaki and Joe Biden do not—the voters of West Virginia will not be ashamed of Joe Manchin for his stand against “Build Back Better.” They will be proud of him.

They voted for Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy in 1960 because he ran as a war hero and a fiscal moderate. They voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

There are two political facts Joe Manchin can’t ever ignore. West Virginia voters gave Donald Trump 68 percent of their votes in 2016 and almost 69 percent in 2020. Joe Biden did not break 30 percent of the vote.

But Joe Manchin did not recently discover his political restraint. He really does represent the people who elected him. He knows West Virginians better than anyone else, and they elected him as both governor and senator because they know him as well.

Senator Manchin warned the White House that he would not support the socialization of child care, the busting of the deficit, a camouflaged Green New Deal, and breakneck spending. He made clear his concerns about inflation and insane levels of government debt. He meant it.

Jen Psaki and Joe Biden have declared war on Joe Manchin. Sen. Manchin doesn’t care. Jen Psaki and Joe Biden don’t vote in West Virginia.

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Albert Mohler is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College and editor of WORLD Opinions. He is also the host of The Briefing and Thinking in Public. He is the author of several books, including The Gathering Storm: Secularism, Culture, and the Church. He is the seminary’s Centennial Professor of Christian Thought and a minister, having served as pastor and staff minister of several Southern Baptist churches.

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