Sen. Joe Manchin’s political survival act has been one of the more fascinating to watch over the years. Somehow, despite hailing from one of the reddest states in the union, he has managed to sucker enough Republicans into voting for him cycle after cycle.
That’s mostly come from a “clown nose on, clown nose off” routine where he pretends to stand tall on non-deciding votes while he folds to the radicals in his party when it really matters. That dynamic appears to be over, though.
In the latest NBC News poll, which I analyzed extensively regarding what it says about the mid-terms, one thing is made clear: Everyone hates Joe Manchin.
NBC’s Chuck Todd: “No one likes” Joe Manchin. pic.twitter.com/QYWCALPyAl
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 21, 2022
As far as the seriousness of the issue, Manchin’s choice to dive head first into a brick wall after strapping himself with dynamite might not be a huge historical marker, but as a political calucluation, it’s one of the worst in modern history. Everyone that liked him, including a lot of people not in his party, now hates him. Meanwhile, everyone who already hated him still hates him.
All those crowds of crazy leftwingers who threatened his career and his physical safety while viciously harassing him in public? They still can’t stand the dude. Manchin has not, in any way, hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth, an analogy he used to Sen. Chris Coons while discussing how he’d betray his constituents. Instead, he’s still playing the goat for Democrats, who want him gone regardless of the olive branch he extended by passing the “largest” climate change bill in US history.
Who could have guessed that 87,000 IRS employees and subsidies for wealthy people to buy electric vehicles during an inflationary boom wouldn’t be popular? In fact, that same NBC News poll shows a majority of Americans think the Inflation Reduction Act will either make inflation worse or do nothing to help the situation.
And what did Manchin get in return? Some an empty promise on permitting reform that hasn’t even been taken up in the Senate yet while having no guarantee of passage in the more progressive House. Manchin couldn’t be more of a sucker if it was imprinted on his forehead.
Thankfully, it seems like the Republicans who used to give the guy the benefit of the doubt have finally woken up. The conciliatory tone from GOP senators that has sustained the West Virginia senator for decades has largely disappeared. That should mean no more backroom deals to allow Manchin to look “conservative” by voting with Republicans on votes that were already decided. Past that, back in his home state, it sure seems like his constituents aren’t going to give him another chance, no matter how much pork he promises. Manchin crossed a line here, and it’s going to end his political career. The only question is whether he’s smart enough to retire first or whether he wants to go down in glorious defeat.