EDITORIAL: Manchin's Flip Flops Could Be Damaging in 2012 Election

HNN Staff
Manchin's Favorite Footwear?
Manchin's Favorite Footwear?

When analyzing Senator Joe Manchin's chances at being re-elected to a full six-year term in this year's U.S. Senate contest, consider how difficult the road to victory has been for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  Why?

Because Manchin has Romney's problem this year:  too many flip-flops on important issues.

Indecisiveness, a lack of conviction, call it what you will, the polls indicate that the public has lost patience with Washington, D.C. and with politicians in general. 

As a result, the politician who appears to waffle on the issues that matter the most to the public this year--issues like Obamacare, Cap and Trade, job creation, and national defense--will have a very hard time closing the deal with many irritated voters.

Take Joe Manchin's series of flip-flops in just the past two years.  Manchin shocked many in the legislature towards the end of his time as Governor by pushing a "green energy" bill through the legislature, House Bill 103.  Here was a bill that only Obama could love, as it made serious cuts in the amount of fossil fuels, like our own coal, that could be used to produce electricity here.

Many interpreted this bill as a way for Manchin to curry favor with the Obama Administration, perhaps to get on Obama's ticket as Vice President.  Why else would Manchin do something so potentially harmful to his own state's coal industry?

But when Manchin's 2010 Republican opponent, John Raese, pushed Manchin for an explanation for House Bill 103, Manchin quickly caved and ran the infamous TV ad where he is seen shooting the national Cap and Trade Bill. 

These days, Manchin naturally tries to look outraged over the EPA's harsh actions towards West Virginia coal, but let's face it: he hasn't been able to change one iota of Obama's war on coal. 


So where is Manchin now? Is he really upset at the Obama Administration's EPA or is he just engaging in some dramatics for the folks back home to see?  Hard to tell with Manchin anymore. 

After all, he's gone from being opposed to curbs on coal, to pushing a bill that promotes such limits on coal production, to saying that he really didn't mean it.  He's been all over the map, and people's jobs are at stake.

Folks in the coal fields of West Virginia aren't the only former supporters of Manchin who feel like they don't really know the man anymore.  Ask Dr. Wanda Franz, Founder of West Virginians for Life, who in a recent letter to the editor excoriated Manchin for voting for Obamacare and for continued federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest supplier of abortions.  Over $300 million taxpayer dollars in an exceptionally tight budget year, in fact.

Dr. Franz calls this nothing short of a betrayal by Manchin to a pro-life constituency who had supported him faithfully over the years. But Obama wanted that Planned Parenthood funding, and Manchin dutifully voted for it.


So, whether it's House Bill 103 with its cap on coal-produced energy or social issues like Manchin's votes for continued taxpayer funding of abortions, or the constant back and forth over Obamacare, Manchin's flip-flops are beginning to add up. 

Some are joking that, if Obama told Manchin to start rooting for Pitt over WVU, he'd run out on Mountaineer Field with a Panther mascot suit on.  Whatever it takes!

We aren't sure just what Manchin believes he is going to get for his controversial flip-flops as a freshman U.S. Senator.  But he sure seems to be trying his best to lose to John Raese in November this year. 

Raese has exactly what the public is saying that it wants in 2012:  clarity, consistency, and conviction.  Those "c's" will provide a fourth "c" by the time the race heats up in earnest this year:  contrast between the two candidates.

The primary isn't even over, and already Raese has Manchin on the run on the key issues.  2012 is an election year that promises to be a tough one on Democratic incumbents in West Virginia, due to the President's poor popularity numbers here. 

Add to that Manchin's self-inflicted wounds, mistakes for which he has nobody but himself to blame, and John Raese's stock with this year's electorate just went up significantly. 


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