West Virginia's Democratic governor, Joe Manchin, is extremely popular in his state, yet when he ran for Robert Byrd's old Senate seat this year, he found himself in danger of losing to a guy who might live in Florida. The problem was that West Virginia is very much composed of those working-class white people that briefly considered liking President Obama in 2008, and then decided, no, let's not. And they didn't want to send Manchin, as great as he was, to Washington to help Obama enact his agenda.
So Manchin basically just became a Republican during the campaign. He wouldn't endorse Harry Reid to remain Senate majority leader, nor would he back Obama for reelection. He claimed to be friendly with Sarah Palin. He ran an ad in which he promised to "take on ... this administration to get the federal government off of our backs and out of our pockets," expressed support for repealing the "bad parts of Obamacare," and literally shot cap-and-trade legislation with a gun. And it worked! Manchin won by a comfortable 11 percent. Except, because this was a special election and not a regularly scheduled one, Manchin has to do it all over again in two years. So maybe he should just save himself another headache and officially become a Republican, since that's the only way he can win anyway?
That's what the GOP is hoping. But more than hoping, they're trying to lure Manchin and his enormous index finger across the aisle by offering him a choice of committee chairmanships, "support for one of his pet projects — a plant to convert coal to diesel fuel," and "a deal, much sought in coal country, to require the armed forces to use converted coal for fuel," according to Fox News. But Manchin has no interest in turning on his party, none whatsoever ... at least for another few months.
"He was elected as a Democrat and he has to go to Washington as a Democrat to try, in good faith, to make the changes in the party he campaigned on," said one Manchin advisor. "Now, if that doesn't work and Democrats aren't receptive, I don't know what possibilities that leaves open."
Yes you do.