[hana-code-insert name=’Manchin FNS’ /]
Did Manchin acquit himself of his past? I still say he does not. It is very difficult for him to back away from many of the public pronouncements, as Chris Wallace notes several times in the interview.
Manchin repeats most all of his talking points in the interview that we have noted on this blog, and Manchin tries to avoid some of Wallace’s questions. One thing I have not written about is that Manchin frequently makes the argument that Obama is not on the ballot. True enough. But, Manchin has been on the record supporting Obama, and as a Democrat in a Democrat Senate, people know that his party (and likely even Manchin himself) will support Obama’s agenda. So, Obama may not be on the ballot in W.Va., but he really is, and Manchin, even in this interview, ends up supporting in principle, many, if not all, of Obama’s policies. Voters seem to recognize that the way to stop the agenda of the Demcorats, is to throw many of those Democrats out. It is a sophisticated vote.
Manchin claims he is a “different kind of Democrat”: for family values, pro-life legislation, etc. The question has to be asked at this point: why then is he a Democrat? His conservatism does not square with his past statements that, if he was a legislator in D.C., he would support Obamacare and other legislation the Democrat majority passed (Wallace does a pretty decent job pressing Manchin on these and other issues). But, Manchin wants to be both for and against Obamacare in speech, and his speech does not match up. On the one hand, he is against the far reaching provisions of the bill. On the other hand, he is for the bill to give health care to most everyone. Note in particular, he is for the provision to force “children” until they are 26 to be covered on their parents insurance–that in itself is a huge cost, and it also infantilizes the public. Thus, Manchin supports, in principle, the increasing reach of the federal government and its expansion. He also supports the idea that more and more people should look to the federal government for goods and services. Manchin is, at heart, a progressive Democrat and no fiscal conservative. In an era when the public wants the government to actually scale back its growth and spending, the impression is that Manchin is a big government Democrat, despite his few disagreements with Obama, Pelosi, and Reid.
In the interest of fairness, I think Raese made a big mistake by not appearing on the show. It is very curious why Raese did not show up to FNS even though he was invited. It is likely that Raese’s handlers are sitting on the candidate to decrease the chances he makes a gaffe. But, it is telling that he would not go on FNS, a network that may view him favorably. Wallace is a tough questioner, so perhaps he wanted to avoid the potentially damaging interview. Nevertheless, Raese could have made huge gains on Manchin by attacking him on the program. Manchin’s strategy is non-engagement when Raese is in the room. It is a losing strategy. Raese could have shored up some of his support by accepting the invite. Manchin has been on Fox many times in the last two weeks. For someone looking to take support away from Raese, Fox is the best place to be.
Update: It looks like the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack has raised similar questions I have about Manchin’s position on Obamacare. Manchin is not responding to the questions. See here.