Heat turned up on Manchin. Plus, CRT gets no respect from either side. And, Fox News texts.
By Gary Abernathy
Manchin’s critics are ready to take the gloves off now
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) still hasn’t caved on his refusal to support the Build Back Better bill despite a “Phase One” strategy by his critics of flattering and gently cajoling him. That failure has quite noticeably led to “Phase Two,” which is an effort by his critics and many in the media to dig into his personal life and finances and exert pressure under the name of “ethics” — always a slippery slope in Washington politics when employed by either side.
Manchin makes a lot of money from Enersystems, a family-owned coal and natural gas company in West Virginia. It’s old news — but it’s being made new again because he won’t cry “Uncle!” on President Biden’s multi-trillion dollar spending plan. Critics want to imply that his resistance to the climate change items in BBB are due to his financial interests in coal and gas.
What’s worse, however, than Manchin’s dodge is that what he’s doing is perfectly legal. Due to Congress’ lax code of ethics regarding lawmaker’s investments, Manchin’s conflict of interest is permissible, and, in many instances, completely routine. In other words, what may be even more scandalous than Manchin’s conflict of interest is the fact that it's allowed.
There’s little that is new about this information. Manchin’s close ties to fossil fuels, particularly through the Enersystems company, are well documented, including more than 10 years ago in a New York Times story which reported:
On his financial disclosures for 2009 and 2010, Manchin reported significant earnings from Enersystems Inc., a coal brokerage that he helped run before his political star rose. In the 19 months before winning his Senate seat in a hard-fought special election, Manchin reported operating income of $1,363,916 from Enersystems. His next disclosure showed $417,255 in Enersystems income.
Biden and Manchin spoke Monday, but reports don’t seem to indicate there was much accomplished in finding middle ground on BBB. Reports on Wednesday afternoon indicated Democrats might be throwing in the towel on BBB for now, delaying it until March, and giving them more time to twist Manchin’s arm. But if Manchin refuses to bend, watch for more scandalous stories to emerge. For many on the left, their “Mr. Nice Guy” approach is over. Desperation is sinking in, and the gloves are coming off.
Meanwhile, what will the Democrats be doing if they’re not hyper-focused on BBB? Apparently, trying to nationalize elections, according to reports. They want to pass a bill basically negating voting reforms passed in several states, labeled “voter suppression” by critics. In fact, they’re no such thing. But there’s no rest for believers in the adage, “If the states do something we don’t like, just federalize it.” Or, as Biden said back in September about governors who weren’t on board with his covid restrictions, “I'll use my powers as president to get them out of the way.”
Critical Race Theory gets no respect from either side
Critical Race Theory gets no respect. The left practically denies its existence and calls it a “straw man” invented by Republicans to scare voters. The right claims it’s an effort to rewrite history for the purpose of pushing an ultra-liberal education agenda.
In my new Washington Post column, I argue that both sides should reevaluate CRT.
Our founders — the ones we traditionally recognize — were brilliant but imperfect people. Many were enslavers. But their moral failings, especially viewed through a 21st-century prism, should not banish them from the hallowed pages of history. It’s right, however, to identify and teach that the architectural, economic and intellectual contributions of Black Americans, both enslaved and free, qualify them as our founding fathers and mothers, too.
I argue that teaching our children more about the contributions of African Americans, and looking honestly at how racially-based biases have crept into our systems over the years, is nothing to be afraid of.
Critical race theory should be welcomed in schools to the degree that it introduces the overlooked contributions of African Americans and the institutional racism that has existed since our nation’s founding — within a curriculum that stops short of sermonizing to today’s White Americans or force-feeding politically driven solutions.
It didn’t take long for Nate Hochman at National Review to take me to task. He wrote:
Abernathy argues that “conservatives should consider that maybe [the Left] has a point” about CRT because “many conservatives pride themselves on being grounded in logic rather than emotion,” and “logic dictates that something as historically obvious as the impact of slave labor on the success of our nation should be acknowledged and more comprehensively taught, along with the fact that our legal, governmental and economic institutions were crafted, intentionally or otherwise, to favor White people.” He does not elaborate on which of today’s American institutions unfairly favor whites, or by what standard he’s judging the unfair privileges they bestow. He simply asserts that “logic dictates” it is so.
In fact, if Hochman had followed a link I provided to an earlier piece I wrote about reparations, he would have found examples — that I didn’t feel compelled to repeat — of institutions unfairly favoring whites, such as:
As noted by scholars A. Kirsten Mullen and William A. Darity Jr., co-authors of “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” data from the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances showed that median Black household net worth averaged $17,600 — a little more than one-tenth of median White net worth. As Mullen and Darity write, “white parents, on average, can provide their children with wealth-related intergenerational advantages to a far greater degree than black parents. When parents offer gifts to help children buy a home, avoid student debt, or start a business, those children are more able to retain and build on their wealth over their own lifetimes.”
Hey, healthy debate is what it’s all about.
Discussing Fox News hosts texts on the Jan. 6 riot
It was great being on WVMetroNews with host Hoppy Kercheval on Tuesday to talk about the text messages sent by Fox News hosts to then-President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows imploring Trump to do something to shut down the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Check it out above.
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