Joe Manchin, supervillain
Should the West Virginia senator just change parties?
Joe Manchin went from hero to zero in the eyes of quite a few Democrats this week. The West Virginia senator became an enemy of the progressive wing of the party when he announced that he would not vote for President Biden’s Build Back Better bill even though he reportedly could say it three times fast.
The reaction from the progressive left was immediate and overwrought. Manchin was pronounced a traitor and a sell-out who was out of touch with his constituents in West Virginia. I saw more than a few posts like the one below that attacked Manchin for owning a yacht and Maserati, even though this apparently bothered no one last week. From the reaction, one could be forgiven for assuming that Manchin also operated sweatshops filled with underage children and listed kicking puppies as a turn-on in his online dating profile.
The truth is I think Manchin is probably one of the senators who is most in touch with the people that he represents. As a Democrat in an increasingly red state, he has to be. In his last re-election campaign in 2018, Manchin squeaked by his Republican challenger by about 3.5 percent, less than 30,000 votes. He can’t afford to operate under the assumption that a silent majority loves progressivism.
This week, depending on your perspective, Joe Manchin is either the Worst Person in the World or the man who rescued America from socialism. Democrats want to pillory Manchin (not to mention primary him) and Republicans want him to join the GOP. Manchin would do well to sit tight and not listen to either extreme. But the two extremes should listen to Manchin.
Democrats are cruising to a crushing defeat in the midterms next year. Normally, I’d be fine with this except for the fact that a large part of the Republican Party has gone insane. At this point, I believe that we need a viable Democratic Party to counter the crazies on the right. And I also believe that we also need a sane Republican Party to counter the crazies on the left.
Joe Manchin is one of the people who give me hope for America’s future. He shows that it is possible to be a successful politician while standing up to the extreme elements of his party.
Rather than attacking Manchin, Democrats really should be following his lead. Manchin’s path is the one that could save the Democratic Party from almost certain electoral destruction. The American people have seen what the progressives have to offer and they aren’t buying.
On the other side of the coin, Manchin would be wise to stick with Democrats rather than jumping ship to the GOP. Republicans may be happy with Manchin this week, but that would last about 10 minutes if he changed parties. The GOP adoration of a man who supported Trump’s impeachment(s) and who voted with Biden 97 percent of the time would definitely not last beyond Manchin’s next primary. His support for the voting rights bill and other Democratic priorities would have him labeled as a RINO in short order.
Both parties are alike in that they don’t like any dissent from the party line. And that’s unfortunate since neither party has a lock on all that is good and holy… or all that is bad and evil. In fact, the marriage of politics to religion is one of the big problems that we face as a country. It’s tough to find middle ground when the other side is filled with godless heathens.
We really need more politicians who don’t walk in lockstep with their parties but vote for what is right and for what is best for their constituents. You shouldn’t be expected to check your brain and soul at the door when you take office.
Democrats can take comfort in the fact that even without Manchin to oppose Build Back Better, the bill would not have passed. Kyrsten Sinema was not on board either. If Sinema and Manchin were around, there might well have been other Democrats who emerged to resist the boondoggle. I think other moderate Democrats didn’t really support the bill but lacked the intestinal fortitude to speak up.
Both sides need to learn that you can’t enact transformational change with 51 (or 53 votes). If you have a slim margin in Congress, don’t reach for the moon and fail. Find some incremental ideas with bipartisan support, like infrastructure, and build a coalition to get them passed. Show that you can govern and maybe you’ll win more support.
Instead, both sides push huge all-or-nothing, intensely partisan bills and then, when they go down in flames, look for ways to use executive actions to bypass Congress. Voters get scared and angry and kick them out.
Joe Manchin may be the person who is most in touch with the average American voter who doesn’t want radical change from either direction. The progressives holding forth on Twitter and the Republicans kowtowing to Donald Trump and railing against masks and vaccines definitely don’t have their fingers on the pulse of the nation.
The Joe Manchins of Congress are what the Founders hoped for. The people who reject the radicals of both parties and retain the spirit of compromise and bipartisanship may be what eventually saves us from ourselves. We desperately need more of them.
On the other hand, the hyperpartisan, my party right or wrong, attitude that too many of both parties share is the Founders’ worst nightmare. Members of both parties need to follow Manchin’s lead in breaking from their party when it’s wrong and voters need to retire those who don’t.
Giving credit where credit is due, Donald Trump told Bill O’Reilly that he got the COVID vaccine booster and defended the COVID vaccines that his Administration helped to develop. O’Reilly also stated that he had gotten the booster shot. The Former Guy’s statement was met with a chorus of boos from a “very tiny group” in the audience.
While I applaud Trump for his openness, the boos and the pushback from people like Candace Owens and Alex Jones who are now saying, “Hell, we’re fighting Bill Gates and Fauci and Biden and the New World Order and Psaki and the Davos Group .. and now we’ve got Trump on their team!” should be alarming. They aren’t criticizing Trump for his corruption, his incompetence, or his abuses of executive power, but because he made a sane and truthful statement about vaccines.
This is more evidence that the Republican conspiracy cult is out of the control of its former master. The tinfoil-hatters are off the chain and on the loose. No one controls this faction although many are trying to get in front of it.
This is very dangerous for America, and it is going to be a problem for years to come.
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