Misplaced Loyalty

Party loyalty continues to rule in the U.S. Senate, to judge by the vote last week to confirm President Barack Obama’s nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The vote was 59-40, with all Senate Democrats but one in favor of McCarthy.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was the lone member of his party voting against confirmation. He had explained in advance his decision was out of no dislike for McCarthy, but to register his opposition to the Obama administration’s failure to develop a rational energy policy. Specifically, Manchin is concerned about Obama’s war on the coal industry.

Just a few weeks ago, the president revealed he will step up that offensive, even if Congress disagrees with him. Both Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, expressed reservations about that.

But last Thursday, both voted in favor of McCarthy, passing up the opportunity Manchin seized to protest Obama’s use of the EPA to attack the coal industry.

Clearly, loyalty to their party’s president is more important to Rockefeller and Brown than defending their constituents. Unless that attitude changes among more Democrat lawmakers, West Virginians, Ohioans and tens of millions of other Americans will pay a stiff price for allowing Obama to proceed with his wrongheaded policy.