West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin keeps doing his best to promote himself as some sort of reasonable, bipartisan deal-broker, using his “common sense” approach to various issues. This maneuvering led him yesterday to be the only Democratic Senator to oppose the confirmation of the woman his party’s president wants to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the second term of the Obama administration.
As we reported in today’s Gazette, Sen. Manchin admitted that his vote against Gina McCarthy had nothing to do with her qualifications. In fact, the senator conceded she was highly qualified, describing her as, “a talented scientist who has dedicated her life to public service.” Sen. Manchin praised Ms. McCarthy’s “pragmatism,” her “willingness to serve her country” and her “stellar bipartisan credentials, an extremely rare quality in Washington these days.” Sen. Manchin noted that she had worked for both political parties, and with a very odd tone, the senator added:
In fact, it’s not hard to imagine that she could have been nominated to be EPA Administrator by Mitt Romney if he had won the 2012 Presidential election. After all, she advised him on climate change when he was Governor of Massachusetts.
But apparently good qualifications aren’t enough:
… My vote against her goes much deeper than her nomination, her views on energy and the environment or even her job performance the last four years as head of air policy at the EPA.
No, my vote against Gina McCarthy is really a vote against the Administration’s lack of any serious attempt to develop an energy strategy for America’s future.
We need to develop every source of American-made energy.
It’s only common sense to use what you’ve got.
There are any variety of problems with Sen. Manchin’s approach here, not the least of which is hypocrisy of criticizing the tone of coal industry critics by saying:
… If we stop demonizing one energy resource, and I do mean demonizing it … when people say, “I hate this” or “I hate that” and “I can’t stand this” … you know what, turn the lights off, turn the air conditioning off, turn it all off and see how you like it …
I mean come on, just a few sentences before, Sen. Manchin was throwing around the coal industry’s terminology, making a policy discussion out to be an armed conflict:
The President often speaks about an “all-of-the-above” energy policy. But his new global climate proposal amounts to a true declaration of war on one of the above – coal.