This ad is a brilliant piece of imagery.  I think as an ad, the visual makes Manchin to be a tough and effective governor.  He certainly appeals to the country, individualist, aspect of W. Va. voters.

There are problems with it, however, in its message:

  1. The ad dances around the fact that Manchin did support some form of cap and trade earlier in his political career.  However, he is now campaigning (promising) to kill any cap and trade bill.  That may be persuasive enough to the voters.  He says he sued the EPA, but why won’t he join other states and sue the federal government over health care?  Is it because he fundamentally agrees with it?
  2. Manchin continues to support Obamacare despite the fact he says he would repeal the “bad” parts of the bill.  But, he cannot by himself repeal the bad parts of the bill on his own as he claims.
  3. Given he supports Obamacare, his promise of keeping the government out of our pockets, and small, is impossible to keep.  Even with some parts of Obamacare repealed, taxes are going to increase.
  4. Manchin’s forces the voters to consider just who he will caucus with if elected?  If he is elected, he will caucus with the Democrats who will likely make Reid (if he wins) Majority Leader again.  This means that despite his promises to cut taxes and keep the government “off our backs” it will not come to fruition because the Democrat national leadership supports what their past legislative history in the last 2 years.  Manchin alone cannot overcome a determined national leadership and a determined executive.  And this is the only reason why Raese is running so close to Manchin.  The voters know that a Democrat controlled Congress means more or less the same as we have seen the last 2 years–more spending, more health care, less choice, pro-business welfare, higher debt, and now a cheaper dollar and higher inflation, etc.

Manchin has continued problems with his rhetoric compared to the wishes of the state’s voters.

None of this means Raese is perfect.  Raese has his own negatives that make his path to the Senate no certainty–his residency is suspect, he wants to repeal the minimum wage, and the like.  This race is going to be close for the next 3 weeks.