It is a feather in U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s cap that he has been named ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. It also is a boon to residents of West Virginia and Ohio.
“Ranking member” is the top position on a committee for a member of the political party that does not control the full Senate. Manchin, D-W.Va., is part of the Senate minority.
At first glance, his new post may not seem to carry much power with it. Under the circumstances, it does, however.
As Manchin himself pointed out, the committee has “a long history of bipartisanship” on energy issues. That may mean that when he speaks, he receives more than a polite hearing from Republicans.
In addition, Manchin’s party controls the House of Representatives. That will give him some clout on bills that must be approved by both chambers.
What is especially gratifying about the news is that Manchin has not been a far-left ideologue regarding energy. He has been an outspoken advocate of an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that includes coal, natural gas and oil as well as so-called “alternatives.”
Democrat leaders know that. Perhaps this is a signal they are beginning to see the wisdom of Manchin’s stance — which he should continue to promote vigorously, in the expectation that many Republican senators will agree with him.