WHO ARE YOU, JOE?

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West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin is my senator. I didn’t vote for him. In fact I worked arduously to defeat him when he ran against John Raese in 2010. But he defeated Raese, and that was that.

Previously in his political career, Manchin had been the West Virginia Secretary of State (2001-2005) and the WV Governor from (2005-2010). He was a mediocre governor being a moderate Democrat in a Democrat state that has been turning red during the past decade. To say that he is an opportunist would be an accurate statement.

Manchin is a pro-gun Democrat, although he sponsored the failed Manchin-Toomey gun control bill. He is a pro-lifer but voted to overturn the ruling which protected Hobby Lobby. Manchin voted against the repeal of the very socialist Obamacare. He has a stately appearance and a likeable comportment. I’m not sure who this guy really is, but in the not-so-distant future we just may be finding out.

Unlike almost the entire Democrat Party, Joe Manchin has refused to obstruct President Trump. He has made public gestures intimating that he not only refuses to resist Trump’s attempt to govern, but that he has a willingness to work with Trump. And his readiness to move the country forward rather than to join with the radicalized Democrats, who are intent on hindering the Democrat process, poses a threat to his position in the Democrat Party. And Manchin, no doubt, knows this. I am sure that he has had countless visits from his far-left peers who have taken the Democrat Party into progressive oblivion.

But his withering status in the Democrat Party has not prevented Manchin from voting for Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Treasury. He has voted for Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. The Democrats have marked Manchin as one of their own who is not fighting Trump. And they are out for blood. They are carefully scrutinizing Manchin as the confirmation hearing for Neil Gorsuch and the Supreme Court Justice seat comes to the table.

The question of the day is, “Will Manchin vote to confirm Gorsuch and strengthen his alignment with Trump and the Republicans?” My guess is that he will vote in support of Gorsuch. He has undeniably already recognized his shrinking standing within the Democrat camp and ignored what I would venture to have been countless warnings. And I believe that with that vote he knows that he will be a bona fide enemy of his own party.

The Democrat Party, which is now controlled by the progressive wing, no longer wants moderate Democrats who are willing to work with the Republicans. They scorn their party members who make an attempt to find common ground. These revolutionary zealots have vowed to support primary challengers to all Democrats who are not committed to obstructing Trump.

And to that I say, “The Democrat Party wackos sure don’t understand the nature of the West Virginia voter.” Any progressive Democrat who dares to challenge Manchin will lose. The people of West Virginia are moving right. Manchin could lose to a Republican challenger, but considering his name recognition and pro-coal position, he may even be able to weather a Republican challenger if he continues to support Trump. But if Manchin even hints at adopting an anti-Trump platform, his chances for reelection will be reduced.

Senator Joe Manchin appears to be out of place being affiliated with a party whose members could soon be referring to each other as ‘comrade.’ Like him or not, Ole Joe is not a radical Democrat, and undeniably will never be the guy who walks in ideological step with the new Democrat stars; Tony Perez, Keith Ellison, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

Joe is the Blue Dog Democrat, but what Joe may not have considered is that the Blue Dogs left the party when Barack Obama began to embrace the hammer and sickle. There are no Joe Liebermans, Jim Webbs or Evan Bayhs left in Washington. Joe stands alone in his party.

Where does Joe Manchin go from here as an ostracized Democrat? He is the proverbial country boy, hailing from Farmington, WV, and I would wager that Joe has maintained some of his country boy common sense. At least I hope so. It is very well possible that Manchin has looked into his crystal ball and realizes that to not support Trump will eliminate any chances at reelection. And then like most of us Bible Belt hicks, maybe Joe clings to his guns and religion also. I don’t know.

Will Joe Manchin leave the Democrat Party and find his political home with the GOP? If he doesn’t, he could well be tarred and feathered by his own unhinged party.

But I for one want to know, “Who are you, Joe?”

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