- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) famously ran in a special election for the remainder of the late Robert Byrd’s senate seat in 2010 by using President Barack Obama’s coal-killing Cap and Trade bill for target practice in a campaign ad.  In the ad he promised to “take on this (Obama’s) administration and get the federal government off our back.” In other words, he ran as a Republican.

But, he’s a Democrat. 

And now that Manchin is trying to win his second, full term in the senate, he’s appearing more and more desperate. 

He took to the senate floor Wednesday and begged his fellow senator’s to not campaign against him or raise money against him. The pledge reads:

In order to restore civility to the United Senate and our political discourse we must pledge to return to an era of bipartisan cooperation and agreement. I, Joe Manchin, pledge to the people of West Virginia and to the American people that I will:

1) Not campaign against a sitting colleague;
2) Not directly fundraise against them;
3) Not distribute any direct mail against them;
4) Not appear or endorse any advertisements directed at them;
5) Not use or endorse social media campaigns that attack them.

The pledge is clearly an attempt to convince West Virginians that he’s not the guy who just voted with Chuck Schumer against the tax cut package that put thousands of dollars in millions of American’s pockets. And he really doesn’t want anyone to point that out. 

Good luck with that. 

While I discussed Manchin’s pledge on my radio program on WMAL in Washington DC, one of Manchin’s opponents this November, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) was listening and he called in to respond: 

O’Connor: What do you make of Joe Manchin’s plan here? He’s just trying to protect the people of West Virginia from dirty campaigning.

Jenkins: I tell you, it is something else. It is hypocrisy at its worst. You know Joe Manchin is running to save his political life. He went out and campaigned tooth and nail for Hillary Clinton in West Virginia. Donald Trump, who I proudly supported in the May primary in West Virginia, won – won big and is doing a terrific job. I’m standing with him every step of the way and look what Joe Manchin is doing, campaigned hard against Donald Trump, voted against the tax cuts, voted for Planned Parenthood, voted against repealing and replacing Obamacare and now he realizes he is in the political fight of his life and he’s trying to neuter his Senate colleagues to not talk about his record.

O’Connor: Rep. Jenkins, The Daily Caller presented this headline, Joe Manchin Is Running Scared. Would you agree with that assessment. Is he in trouble?

Jenkins: Scared is just being polite about it. He is running for his political life. He has had his way in West Virginia. He realizes now he is so out of step. He has joined up with the Schumer leadership team. You know Joe Manchin sleeps on a yacht over here on the water someplace. I sleep on a cot in my office $99 from Ollie’s discounts. There is a big difference between Evan Jenkins and Joe Manchin. I’m a proud Conservative, proud supporter of Donald Trump and 100% pro-life, 100% supporting the second amendment. Joe Manchin is so out of touch and he’s out of time.

In a recent Gallup poll, President Trump’s highest favorability rating in America happens to be in West Virginia. The only way Manchin wins reelection against a Republican opponent like Jenkins (who won his seat in a traditionally Democrat district) is to convince West Virginians that he is his own man and he has the integrity of his principles and values that coincide with the people of his state, despite party labels. 

And that’s going to be an increasingly difficult argument to make. 

Thursday, the RNC dropped a devastating tweet on Manchin showing photographic evidence of Manchin cozying up to Planned Parenthood advocates and pro-life protesters. The pictures were taken within weeks of each other:

Manchin laughingly excused the apparent hypocrisy by saying he’d literally pose in a picture with anyone.  Seriously, that’s his excuse. 

And that’s the problem. Once a self-styled “maverick” Manchin rode into office promising to be his own man and fighting against his own party to defend West Virginians. Today he will cozy up to anyone if it makes for a good photo opportunity and he begs his pals in the senate to not say mean things about him so he can keep his seat and live on his boat on the Potomac. 

Claim one more victory for the swamp. 

 


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