There are innocent guileless people who believe that DC today is experiencing a moment of purely ideological conflict. That the forces they agree with are bravely arrayed against the forces of evil. In this Manchin…er…um…cough… Manichean contest there is the spectacle of open battle in the media and warfare at the polls, winner take all. These people are called simpletons.
Today Washington is playing by most of the rules it has played by for decades and longer. While sadly the rooms aren’t as smoke-filled as in days of yore, deals are struck over sushi and cosmos in K Street bars more than in the halls of Congress. Ideology of any sort takes a back seat to the retention and acquisition of power. The means to hold on to that power are found less at the ballot box than at a lobbyist reception or with a few choice words passed between senior aides that might influence a key vote. And so we come to Joe Manchin.
Joe Biden is nominating Senator Joe Manchin’s wife, Gayle, to be a “key member” of his administration.
Ladies and gentlemen – this is what you call a payoff.
— John D ● (@RedWingGrips) March 26, 2021
Democrat Senators Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona are in senatorial cat bird seats. Nothing happens without their okay in a 50-50 Senate. So they and their acolytes must be kept happy. A reserve commission here, a bridge or post office naming there, a junket to Paris every once in a while keeps important Senators knowing the White House cares about them and their teams. One traditional way to keep a politician in line is to go through the spouse.
There are times when an appointment of a spouse to a Cabinet position, or a vital commission or agency, can keep a member of Congress in line. After all, who wants to come home to a spouse grousing about how a vote may endanger their sinecure? Very few people, that’s who.
FNC: “President Biden has picked the wife of an extremely influential U.S. senator for a federal commission post, the White House announced Friday. Biden nominated Gayle Conelly Manchin to co-chair the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development partnership with 13 states designed to boost investment in the Appalachian Region. Manchin is an educator, past president of West Virginia’s State Board of Education and the former first lady of West Virginia.
“She’s been married for 53 years to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a critical vote in the Senate for Biden if he wants to get any of his major legislative priorities passed. With Democrats holding the slimmest of majorities with a 50-50 split and Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, Manchin’s influence in the Senate has grown tremendously. As a moderate from a red state, Manchin has openly pushed back on some of the Democrats’ boldest ideas, including the $15 minimum wage, eliminating the filibuster and far-reaching gun control legislation. His resistance has forced concessions.” For the White House, this appointment will make him slightly easier to deal with. Slightly.