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Perhaps no politician is more willing to engage in political acrobatics than Joe Manchin. There is no degree to which he will not contort his political statements and ideological alignment in order to obtain and retain power in West Virginia. Manchin aired an infamous TV ad depicting himself taking aim at the cap and trade bill while campaigning to join the anti-gun, pro-‘cap and trade’ Democrat Party. Despite his previous support for ObamaCare, he campaigned against it. Now he is eliciting headlines by criticizing Obama on the budget. However, it is Manchin’s voting record that we must examine, not his contrived political stunts or meaningless rhetoric.
The media has made a big deal out of Manchin’s rebuke of Obama’s lack of leadership on the budget this past Tuesday. Politico even posted an article titled, “Joe Manchin Goes Rouge”. Here is what he said on the Senate floor:
“Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations — our president — has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?”…
“Respectfully, I am asking President Obama to take this challenge head on and propose a compromise plan for dealing with the our nation’s fiscal challenges.”
Then, in an interview with Politico, Manchin refused to say whether he would even vote for Obama in 2012.
“Asked if he’d back Obama’s reelection bid, Manchin wouldn’t answer directly.
“Whoever the president is, I support. That’s my president. Democrat, Republican, George Bush, Obama, and every American should take that approach,” Manchin told Politico in the Capitol. “Now can you respectfully disagree? Absolutely.”
Asked again if he would vote for Obama, Manchin said: “I support this country, whoever the president is, that’s who I support.””
Sound moderate? Well, it took him less than 24 hours to vote against the diminutive $61 billion cuts in the House-passed Continuing Resolution. This is what Manchin had to say about the GOP budget bill:
“it [GOP bill] blindly hacks the budget with no sense of our priorities or of our values as a country.”
What sort of ‘values’ as a country is he referring to? The redistribution of wealth to some of the liberal special interests that are cut in the House bill? Joe Manchin is merely being cognizant of Obama’s toxic disapproval ratings in West Virginia.
Conservative observers of Blue Dog Democrats are not befuddled by the dichotomy between West Virginia Joe and D.C. Joe. He voted for the FDA food industry takeover, START, and opposed the repeal of ObamaCare in contravention to his campaign rhetoric. Manchin also opposed a bill to prioritize our debt payments once the debt limit is reached. Oh, and he genuflects before Dear Leader Reid in support of radical party leaders, even though he promised only to support a leadership that “understands West Virginia very well”. In addition, he lacked the temerity to vote for DADT repeal and the Dream Act as a sitting senator from West Virginia, so he skipped the vote. Evidently, he was the only senator attending a Christmas party that day.
Manchin needs to man up and admit that he is a progressive. After all, why else would he caucus and vote with such a radical Democrat Caucus. Conservatives need to take ‘dead aim’ at Manchin’s liberal voting record and send him back to West Virginia in 2012. It will save him the agony of an identity crisis. Any takers, West Virginia Republicans?
Cross-posted to Red Meat Conservative