YAKIMA, Wash., January 26, 2013 ― A comment by Joe Manchin, the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, on Face the Nation a few weeks ago caught this curmudgeon’s attention. Unlike the slanderous remarks by Senator John McCain towards the President, Senator Manchin’s comments were respectful and made sense.
First, Senator Manchin suggested that maybe the U.S. needs to come home from the Middle East and rebuild our country. Secondly, he stated the war on terrorism may become an inter-generational battle. And, with the events now taking place in Mali, this assessment seems more reasonable than ever before.
For you to have a keen understanding of what the Senator meant about terrorism becoming inter-generational, you need to understand what is meant by the word, terrorism. The United Nations Secretary General offered an excellent definition: “Terrorism is any act intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population.”
Terrorism is usually employed by the weaker of two competing sides. This is why terrorism is used against the U.S. The United States remains the greatest military power in the world, thus it’s a natural target for terrorists. Senator Manchin called it “inter-generational” because defeating it will be a project that spans generations. His view is realistic and practical.
When Senator Robert Byrd died, West Virginia turned to John Manchin III to finish out his term. Manchin is a conservative Democrat and a devoted supporter of the coal industry. He has opposed President Obama on many issues, but especially on environmental issues. Regulation of the coal industry is the area of strongest disagreement between Manchin and the President.
Manchin is also a strong supporter of the NRA. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, he did send a strong signal that gun-rights supporters need to take a measured approach to gun control and Second Amendment issues. He sees little reason not to control large-round ammunition clips and assault-like weapons.
Even though Manchin is opposed to the president on some issues, I like the fact that he seems to do it with respect and consideration. It’s refreshing to hear and see civility in today’s political arena.
Manchin avoided the Democratic National Convention last year, but on Face the Nation he declared that he caucused with the Democrats. While he comes from a conservative background and state, he seems willing to reach across the political aisle, if need be, to move the country forward.
According to Open Secrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics, the top contributors to Manchin’s election campaign came from the utilities industry and pharmaceutical corporations. That is not surprising, since West Virginia is home to the coal industry and has one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Pharmaceutical giant Mylan Inc. has a presence in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Senator Manchin has also stated that we need to begin rebuilding our highways and bridges. On Face the Nation he stated that America’s transportation infrastructure was in need of upgrading, not an inexpensive undertaking.
Manchin has voted in favor of bills that promote the strengthening and repair of our infrastructure because it promotes economic growth and job development. He has consistently supported improvements to transportation across the nation as well as in his own state. In 2011 he said, “Investing in infrastructure projects … helps boost the economy and rebuild America.”
Being a curmudgeon, I am always wary of new guys, but this Senator Manchin sounds like the real deal with respect to getting our nation back on track. So far, I like him.
Larry Momo writes for both The Washington Times Community Political Section and the San Pedro News Pilot.
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