On Manchin

I saw the remarks by him that Mistermix mentioned, and I’m basically just stumped as to where Manchin is on the stupid/evil axis. Considering he doesn’t think politics is a team sport (I hope his campaign staff and volunteers don’t hear that) and he’s sponsored several bills he clearly doesn’t understand, there is ample evidence for the stupid side. He’s also a lifelong member of ALEC and was their chairman in WV in the 90’s, has never seen an environmental regulation he didn’t want to gut, and will basically do anything coal tells him, so there is solid evidence for the evil side.

None of this changes one simple fact, though, and that is that John Raese is nucking futs. Manchin’s got the Democrats by the short hairs, and will leverage that for all it is worth until he eventually switches to the GOP as the state gets redder.

53 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    With the economy as it is, why would WVa get redder?

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    I’m sure on the cover of his memoirs he still has the title “A Profile in Courage” penciled in.

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    That ‘1,000 lasers in the sky’ idea is pretty hot shit. Shoot down practically anything. Or up, as the case may be. And not to worry about that ‘conservation of energy’ thingum-or-other, our ‘murican engineers can fix anything.

  4. 4
    Violet says:

    Are there no un-crazy Democrats in WV?

  5. 5
    butler says:

    Better inside the tent pissing out?

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    Completely OT, we’re having a helluva storm pass through and it’s hailing at the moment.

  7. 7
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    With the economy as it is, why would WVa get redder?

    @cathyx: Generational poverty + generational racism = state gets redder unless you can deliver a game changing event that makes Dems look good, like the TVA was for a lot of the Deep South. Turns out it didn’t help over the long haul, but that’s because a Dem forced through and signed the Civil Rights Act. Had a Republican signed that, the South would be a solid Dem block to this day.

    West VA never got any federal attention like the TVA. Of all our states, they’ve been shit on the most and hardest.

    I was stunned they elected any flavor of Dem at all, and really don’t expect that state of affairs to last.

  8. 8
    butler says:

    C-O-A-L is the future.

    Not in West Virginia, its not. Coal is cheaper and easier to get out west, which is why Wyoming now totally trounces WV in coal production,

    Not that coal mining is necessarily any great economic engine. If it was, I think WV would rank somewhere higher than 49th in per capita income after digging the stuff out for over a century.

  9. 9
    pragmatism says:

    manchin is best represented by two concentric circles. one labeled “stupid” and the other labeled “evil”.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    Why is WV getting redder though? How is that? I don’t get it. Especially the miners. You’d think they would see the landed gentry think of them as disposable chattel. How is it they aren’t Democrats & Union supporters?

    @Veritas: Don’t care for your ideas. Trollish.

  11. 11
    negative 1 says:

    Please remember this when we claim the dems had the numbers to push through whatever the next single payer will be.

  12. 12

    But hey no one has a right to complain because Manchin’s the best WV is gonna get, right? The soft bigotry of low expectations strikes again.

  13. 13
    butler says:

    Why is WV getting redder though? How is that? I don’t get it. Especially the miners. You’d think they would see the landed gentry think of them as disposable chattel. How is it they aren’t Democrats & Union supporters?

    Since when has economic self interest stopped people from voting Republican?

    It is already a very red state. However, there’s also a long legacy of a strong state Democratic organization. Basically they’re a former Dixiecrat state which never flipped over their partisan IDs in the way states like Georgia or Alabama have. I think eventually it will.

  14. 14
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @kindness: It’s like Oklahoma, WV is a dying state. Sure coal is their business but it takes fewer and fewer people to mine it. The future is scary for WV so they want the past, and the GOP offers that.

  15. 15
    butler says:

    @The Other Chuck: Complain all you want, just don’t kid yourself into thinking anyone to the left of him is getting elected from that state anytime soon.

  16. 16
    Matoko Borgia-Steeler says:

    Joe Manchin is Rick Perry without the kinky Texas boots.

  17. 17
    muddy says:

    Why is the alternative just Raese? is there no one else in the whole g-d state?

    You should run against him, John. The mighty powers of the intertubes will be behind you.

  18. 18
    Mickey says:

    What are the polls saying about him? Too late to primary this graduate from Liebermans douchebag academy?

    Gotta wonder how this affects his ability to raise campaign funds. I would be pretty upset if he got one penny from the DNC.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    It’s kind of odd, though, because IIRC the reason West Virginia is a separate state is that they refused to secede with the rest of Virginia during the Civil War, so (theoretically) they shouldn’t have those deep cultural ties with the Confederacy that you see in most of the South.

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    That would be so awesome. I wish Cole would run.

  21. 21
    gbear says:


    why would WVa get redder?

    It would be the natural color after every single living tree and plant in the state dies.

  22. 22
    japa21 says:

    @kindness: Because the “landed gentry” has convinced them that the Dems are going to regulate the mines out of existence and none of them will have any jobs at all. Better to be underpaid and life endangered chattel than broke and homeless. At least that is what they are told.

  23. 23
    Rome Again says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I was stunned they elected any flavor of Dem at all, and really don’t expect that state of affairs to last.

    That’s my reaction too.

  24. 24
    Matoko Borgia-Steeler says:


    Prepare to be very very upset. The DNC will dump money onto this dinosaur like no tomorrow. Sadly, that’s the only thing they can do, if they really want to keep the Senate. Even sadder – Manchin has probably picked out the date of his defection/rebirth already. My guess would be some time in 2014, so he has enough time to convince the grateful teabaggers of his bona fides and cast some calculated and very public votes against the Kenyan Tyrant.

  25. 25
    samara morgan says:

    Whats the problem Cole?
    Firebagger Freddie isn’t going to vote for Obama either, and you gave him a frontpage slot.

  26. 26
    eemom says:


    It’s kind of odd, though, because IIRC the reason West Virginia is a separate state is that they refused to secede with the rest of Virginia during the Civil War

    yep, that’s why it’s hilarious when you drive through WV and see the flag of Dixie everywhere on the backs of pickup trucks. Once I saw one on a bumper sticker with the caption “Fighting terrorism since 1861.”

    Eleven out of ten of those inbred fuckwits are so stupid they probably have no idea of that little fact you mentioned.

  27. 27
    JustMe says:

    @Mnemosyne: The way I’ve heard it, WV didn’t secede from VA because they were anti-slavery. They seceded because they were anti-slave. They were basically Jacksonian Democrats but without the landed-gentry pulling the strings. In a post-slavery society where the Democrats are aligned on the side of city-dwellers, white-collar suburbanites, and racial minorities, WV is going to return to the Confederate fold, because their interests align, again.

  28. 28
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    they shouldn’t have those deep cultural ties with the Confederacy that you see in most of the South.

    @Mnemosyne: They don’t. Their racism (such as it is) and their poverty is a totally, 100% different experience from the South. They end up going in the same direction but for some completely different reasons.

    I realize I’m not explaining myself well, never had to try to put words to the dichotomy before. 3/4 of my family is OLD Southern. 1/4 is even older Appalachian (which is WV). They say most of the same shit, so it’s easy to assume they’re working from the same playbook and have the same influences. Not the case at all.

  29. 29
    NCSteve says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: You seem to be ignoring the ARC and the entire political career of Robert Byrd.

  30. 30
    eemom says:

    @samara morgan:

    you crack me up, child — even if I do happen to agree with you on this one.

    um, firebagger freddie isn’t a Democratic United States Senator?

  31. 31
    NCSteve says:

    @kindness: The UMWA’s power has waned because mining employment has plummeted. Mountaintop removal and continuous mining technology in deep mines have reduced mine employment in Appalachia by a factor of ten which, in turn, made it much easier to run non-union mines.

  32. 32
    Redshift says:

    It’s important to remember that stupid or evil isn’t actually an either/or question. Stupid and evil aren’t an axis, they’re two axes, and Manchin appears to be well up the scale on both measures.

  33. 33
    R Johnston says:

    Since everyone knows that Manchin will just flip when it’s convenient for him, what’s to stop the Democrats from enforcing discipline upon him until then? The reason not to strictly enforce discipline is because you’re afraid of causing a flip; if you know the flip is coming at the first useful opportunity regardless then enforce away.

    If the Democrats strip Manchin of his committee assignments and pluck his earmarks out of legislation Manchin will pout and whine like a baby and flip parties when convenient, same as he’ll do if the Democrats don’t do those things. The Democrats need to make Manchin miserable for his misbehavior, keeping just enough in reserve to make clear that he still has more to lose.

  34. 34
    Hugely says:

    @Redshift: thats exactly what I was thinking: Manchin is in the Magic Quadrant so to speak…

  35. 35
    Catsy says:

    @Matoko Borgia-Steeler:

    Prepare to be very very upset. The DNC will dump money onto this dinosaur like no tomorrow.

    And this, along with their support of turd burglars like Lieberman, is why the DNC has never and will never get so much as a ha’penny from me. I’ll save my donations for individual candidates and causes I want to support.

  36. 36
    Donald G says:

    I’d say that it’s not that the counties that make up modern West Virginia decided not to secede from the Union, but rather that they instead decided to secede from the rest of Virginia.

    There had long been tensions between the Mountaineers and the Tidewater landowners. West Virginia’s staying in the Union was more on the principle of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    As for trying to explain those aspects of West Virginia that liberals and progressives find crazy, stupid, or otherwise inexplicable, I’m going to excerpt from something I wrote to friends and families back in 2006 trying to explain part of what they were seeing on their TV screens during the Sago mine disaster.

    Back in 2006, I wrote:

    The history of the state and its people seems to be of one unfortunate event after another, and while mine disasters aren’t as common as they used to be, it’s often seems to be that the people experience one horrible thing after another.

    The combination of unpleasant weather eight months out of the year, inhospitable terrain, and a lack of sufficient infrastructure, money, education and other resources leads to a hard existence for Mountaineers.

    [Don’t trust the figures put out about in the media about how lucrative mining is with an average salary of $55,000/year. Coal mining is, in fact, a dying industry in West Virginia and poverty is rampant in the state.]

    The adversities that rural West Virginians face along with the remoteness of many areas lead to behavior that a lot of us would find inexplicable. Communities become very close-knit, clannish and distrustful of outsiders. You are who your family is. If you have no family in the area, you’re nobody, and you’ll never be one of them.

    Injustice is rampant in West Virginia going back to the days when towns were directly owned and operated by the coal companies, coal companies which were owned by out-of-state corporations and which often treated their workers like slaves. I would strongly recommend to anyone trying to understand West Virginians that they read up on the West Virginia Mine Wars and the battles over unionization which lasted well into the twentieth century.

    Remnants of the coal-camp mentality remain and surface from time to time. Given the corrupt nature of power-relationships in West Virginia, this leads to feelings of impotence, grievances, and often displays of misplaced anger along with a fatalistic worldview, an Appalachian fatalism which I have taken on in my nine years there.

    Native West Virginians are tied to their land, their homeplaces, by very strong emotional ties. Most lament the necessity of their children having to leave the state to seek out employment and their is resentment of out of state workers coming in to take away “West Virginia jobs” – a constant refrain in (then current – ed) governor Joe Manchin’s campaign ads when he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1996.

    In many ways, significant portions of West Virginians are like abused spouses who refuse to leave their batterers.

    In my experience, West Virginians are some of the most outwardly religious people I’ve ever encountered. In the interviews with the inhabitants of the Sago mining community, you’ve probably heard indications of what I’m talking about. They take “God” very seriously in West Virginia in ways that “sophisticated” urbanites – even those who classify themselves as believers – would find perplexing and embarrassing.

    In West Virginia, you can’t go wrong in expecting a near worst case scenario to come to pass. If you hear good news in West Virginia, you often have to expect a sick twist that will leave you with the taste of ashes in your mouth….

    ….The mining companies control West Virginia. They’ve controlled West Virginia for more than a century. The mining companies have used miners to keep down other miners for all that time, and have been able to historically divert the miners’ anger against outside threats– environmentalists, Al Gore, and other outside interlopers from the big cities.

    To see some of these themes play out in fiction, my wife would wholeheartedly recommend the novels of West Virginian author and former Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Denise Giardina, particularly The Unquiet Earth.

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    Manchin stated that he was concerned about Romney because of his support of getting rid of the safety net. WV might not have benefited with the stimulus but under Romney, many citizens would starve without their food stamps in WV.

  38. 38
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Aren’t there Democrats like Manchin all over the nation? Doesn’t Oklahoma have a Democratic state legislature, or at least had one until recently? Red-state Democrats are often like this. They’re on the side of labor at least as compared to management, but they also defend the interests of local industry so that the laborers can keep laboring. Loggers, miners, steelworkers, autoworkers might be Democrats locally but be totally appalled by Teh Librulz at the national level. Manchin has a big mouth and a penchant for unearned media, which makes him a particularly gross specimen, but there’s a big chunk of people who identify as Democrats and even feel strongly about that identity–they just never support the president or the party’s national agenda because of how they care so much about colored folks and queers and taking away guns and Nativity scenes.

  39. 39
    Matoko Borgia-Steeler says:

    @R Johnston:

    Because it’s better strategy not to lose the Senate until they absolutely have to. Senate Majority leader sets the ground rules – and I’d rather that honor fall to Harry Reid than Jowls McWobblebottom. Basically Manchin is going to relish being the uncrowned “centrist” king of the Senate – and get everything he can for it, until it jeopardizes his future. At that point, yes, he’ll conveniently discover some “conservative” principles gathering dust in his closet, but if the Dems can keep him sweet long enough, maybe they can mitigate the damage.

  40. 40
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Matoko Borgia-Steeler: I think that’s right, although if he’s really truly just in it for himself, he should just call himself an “independent” and win further adulation from both the folks back home and the political media.

  41. 41
    R Johnston says:

    @Matoko Borgia-Steeler: But if Manchin can flip the Senate by flipping parties he’ll do so, regardless of discipline handed out by Democrats beforehand or the lack thereof. The only real difference if he’s disciplined is that he’ll leave a day or too more quickly because he’ll know he won’t be able to extract much from the Republicans for a flip. Disciplining Manchin does essentially nothing to endanger the Senate majority. That’s my point.

    There’s little to lose by enforcing party discipline on Manchin, and in the meantime you limit the damage he can do before flipping.

  42. 42
    Matoko Borgia-Steeler says:


    He probably calculates that while “independent” sounds good to our trivia-besotted media, it won’t win over many voters in real life. No brand identification – which would just leave him open to attacks from both sides. Better to embrace the red wave of the future, even if it comes with six flavors of bigotry and a good few weeks of personally sampling the teabags of his future constituency.

  43. 43
    Matoko Borgia-Steeler says:

    @R Johnston:

    But we might not be looking at a couple of days – which would essentially not matter. We could be looking at a year or more without the GOP taking control. If we can keep control until the next electoral cycle, or thereabouts, that’s a much better situation. Democrats will try and keep Manchin by offering him various perks and promises – and so they should. Discipline in this case isn’t something they can enforce anyway. All Manchin has to do is shrug and walk across the aisle to the fetid embrace of Stuffed Shark McConnell.

  44. 44
    R Johnston says:

    @Matoko Borgia-Steeler: If Manchin flips now, Democrats maintain control of the Senate just like they do if he doesn’t flip. If flipping parties doesn’t flip control, good riddance, and if circumstances change so that flipping parties does flip control Manchin will flip parties regardless of discipline and there’s nothing the Democrats can do about it.

  45. 45
    Matoko Borgia-Steeler says:

    @R Johnston:

    Yes, but we are rapidly approaching a time when Manchin as a Democrat might matter a great deal as to who controls the Senate. So far, he hasn’t indicated any desire to cross the aisle, partly because he needs our money and he’s got a GOP opponent. Nor can we discipline him without damaging his chances and possibly letting in Raese. What you don’t want to do is push him into flipping to the GOP in say January, once his re-election is in the bag. Satisfying as it might be to thrash (metaphorically) Manchin within an inch of his life, the Democrats lack the power to do so without hurting themselves more. In fact, they can’t even flirt with the idea, because they might just make Manchin bolt at exactly the wrong time.

  46. 46
    Narcissus says:

    West Virginia is getting redder because it’s one of the oldest and poorest states. You’d think that old and poor folk would have an interest in a functioning public sphere, but then they see the Anti-War Government Nig on tv, and they vote Republican.

  47. 47
    Corner Stone says:

    I really don’t care what Manchin says about much of anything. I will crawl on hands and knees over broken glass to vote for him this next election!

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:

    @negative 1:

    Please remember this when we claim the dems had the numbers to push through whatever the next single payer will be.

    Manchin has already metaphorically “shot” Obama in a campaign video, now he’s not voting for him. How many of these “dems” should we expect to put up with? As many as it pragmatically takes?

  49. 49
    David Koch says:


    non-republicans are bad at team sports.

    it’s easy to criticize a moron like manchin, but self described liberals, who should know better, do this all the time. Liberals couldn’t help themselves in primarying President Carter. Liberals couldn’t help themselves in attacking Al Gore. Liberals ran a 3rd party candidate against Harry Truman. Today, LBJ is a beloved figure among liberals, but in 1968, they did everything they could to kick him out of office. Even in 1936, liberals wanted to primary FDR with Huey Long. And just 2 years ago, you saw liberal rank and file saying, “stay home, don’t vote”. Hell, just this week you had progressive-better Barney Frank whining about ACA.

    So yeah, manchin sucks, but speaking out against liberals who have similar problems would be helpful. After all, the first step in solving a problem is admitting one exists.

  50. 50
    buskertype says:

    @pragmatism: Yeah, but which one is the big one?

  51. 51
    honus says:

    The beauty of the situation is that less than 25 years after Arch Moore was sentenced to federal prison and A J Manchin resigned to avoid prison, their descendants will be the two U. S. Senators from West Virginia and the most powerful politicians in the state.

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:

    @David Koch:

    And just 2 years ago, you saw liberal rank and file saying, “stay home, don’t vote”.

    No they didn’t. Go fuck yourself.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: How about voting for Manchin when he’s on the ballot, and doing what you can to find or create the Sherrod Brown of West Virginia so you can vote for him when he’s on the ballot?

    You’re in Texas, no? What do you do when your two options are sucktastic and sucktasticker? Doesn’t that happen kind of a lot on your ballots?

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