Joe Manchin is stepping down from NoLabels, the Republican-lite group that exists to promote politicians claiming to be Democrats while actually behaving like Republicans. Good for him. That's another group that needs to die.
But don't mistake that move for anything like Manchin behaving like a Democrat, because it's not. Nay, Manchin never misses an opportunity to slap around the President on behalf of his coal-minded Republican friends back in West Virginia. He also makes clear that he's stepping down but not abandoning their core belief, which is that if the Congress does Republican things, that means they're all getting along.
Time Magazine, that bastion of neutrality, interviewed him recently.
Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, could fill a key role next year as the Senate Republican majority tries to implement its agenda, including authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline and raising the Affordable Care Act’s workweek from 30 hours to 40 hours—two proposals that Manchin supports and believes have enough bipartisan support to reach 60 votes for passage. He called a Keystone vote a “slam-dunk,” and he considers the Obamacare fix crucial despite a nonpartisan congressional reportthat found it would reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage by about 1 million people and increase the deficit by about $25 billion over the next five years.
“To say that now we’re going to verify the 30 hours—we’ll be worse than Europe,” he said. “I can’t go to West Virginia and try to sell that crap.”
He is also considering another run for governor in West Virginia in 2016, a race that could lead him to leave his Senate seat two years early. He previously served as governor from 2005 until 2010. “Whatever I do in the future I want to see the restructuring of the Senate—where we are [and] how we’re going to operate—before I make that [decision],” said Manchin. “So that happens what, the middle of January? So hopefully by the first quarter. There will be a trend pretty quick by February or March. We’ll be able to say, ‘Is it same-old, same-old or is it really moving in a different direction?'”
The reason Manchin wants to see how the Senate is restructured is this: He just wants the Senate to work. And if it works with Republicans at the helm passing lots of right-wing corporate agenda items, that's totally fine with him.
Manchin is most comfortable as a Republican anyway, so he might as well just make that transition and save us all a lot of aggravation.