Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 8, 2010

MANCHIN'S COMMITMENT TO HIS PARTY.... The U.S. Senate race in West Virginia proved to be one of the more competitive contests of the year, but Democrats managed to hold onto the seat previously held by the late Robert Byrd. Gov. Joe Manchin (D), with nearly $4 million in help from the DSCC, beat John Raese (R) by double digits.

The question now appears to be whether Manchin will keep his commitment to his party. Fox News reports today that Senate Republicans are already offering a series of bribes enticements, intended to tempt the senator-elect away from his party and into the GOP.

Aside from his pick of committee assignments (likely the Energy and Natural Resources Committee), Manchin might get support for one of his pet projects - a plant to convert coal to diesel fuel that has stalled under Democratic leadership in Washington.

A Manchin advisor was quoted by Fox News saying, "He was elected as a Democrat and he has to go to Washington as a Democrat to try, in good faith, to make the changes in the party he campaigned on. Now, if that doesn't work and Democrats aren't receptive, I don't know what possibilities that leaves open."

I don't doubt this will cause a stir, but I'd recommend caution before taking the report too seriously. For one thing, Fox News lies, all the time, simply as part of its business model. For another, quoting an unnamed "advisor" isn't exactly rock-solid reporting. An "advisor" falls well below "staffer" or "aide" in reporting sources.

It would also be pretty odd for a member to deliberately give up a seat in the majority to join a Senate minority.

As far as I can tell, at this point, neither the senator-elect nor anyone who actually works for him has said or done anything to suggest Fox News' reporting has any merit at all.

But, I suppose it's worth keeping an eye on. I figure, if Fox News is talking about it, the network probably got word from the Republican leadership, suggesting, at a minimum, the GOP will see if Manchin is receptive to outreach. What's more, these stories have a way of sometimes becoming self-fulfilling -- the media starts buzzing about Manchin talking to Republicans, which in turn leads to Manchin talking to Republicans.

I don't know Manchin well enough to say whether this might go anywhere -- one on-the-record denial should help end the chatter fairly quickly -- but I suppose it will come down to which Joe Manchin goes to D.C., the populist who champions the needs of working families, or the guy who ran to the right this fall?

Steve Benen 4:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Possibly a Fox lie. More likely a trial balloon.

Posted by: K in VA on November 8, 2010 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Is this unnamed "advisor" the same person who told Faux News that Obama's India trip would cost $200 million a day.

How preposterous does a Faux News line of bullshit have to be before the rubes finally catch on that they're being lied to?

Posted by: "Fair and Balanced" Dave on November 8, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

You've just described Republican Dadaism. Next they'll come after the rest of us -starting with you, Steve.

If YOU transfer your allegiance and start blogging pro-Republican, Michelle Malkin will give you quarter of her readers and link to you.

Oh, and if you, and I and everybody else agree to pay double the income taxes we now owe, the Koch brothers will agree to pay $600,000 a year less.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Posted by: The New York Crank on November 8, 2010 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares. With the gridlock Obama's going to face what's one more voice of rage?

I say pull hard left and put the foot to the gas pedal and see what happens.

What can happen? Lose an election? That's goona' happen anyway...

Posted by: stevio on November 8, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

- a plant to convert coal to diesel fuel that has stalled under Democratic leadership in Washington.

Fischer Tropsch process.

I dont think its viable until oil goes over about 80 bucks a barrel and stays there.

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Oil bulls' imaginations were stoked last week after the Saudi oil minister announced the country's comfort zone for crude-oil prices increased from $70-$80 per barrel to $70-$90 per barrel, setting a new psychological target for the market. But market fundamentals don't support a $90-a-barrel price tag, oil analysts told Dow Jones Newswires.

"A $90/bbl price tag for oil is not justifiable. Oil is trading higher on QE2, but as has been seen today, as soon as the dollar bounces, oil stalls," said VTB Capital's vice president of commodities research, Andrey Kryuchenkov.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 8, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, if the guy wants to join the Republicans -- how long before some tea party wannabe comes along to boot out another RINO? Tea Party People who want to go back to the good old days when mining bosses chased off MESA (MHSA -- OSHA's mining counterpart) inspectors with shotguns and coal miners died in droves of black lung, cave-ins (roof falls), methane explosions, and other examples of production over safety.

Today miners make good money, but they can thank their unions for that. Go back a few more years and they weren't so lucky.

Posted by: Ray Waldren on November 8, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Manchin's switch could mean Republican support for not just $1 billion in seed money for the project but also a deal, much sought in coal country, to require the armed forces to use converted coal for fuel.

2008 An Air Force F-15 Eagle flew twice the speed of sound this week, using a synthetic fuel blend.

The service has already flown some of its bigger, heavier aircraft — like the C-17 cargo plane and B-52 bomber — on the 50-50 blend of synthetics and standard JP-8 jet fuel.
I dont have a problem with that but its just not cost effecient at this time to require the military to use coal converted to fuel.

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 8, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

It seems way to soon for the Republicans to try this. First of all, they have to pull over Manchin, Lieberman, and Nelson, just to get to a 50-50 split with the Democrats. I can't think of anyone else who would change parties in the Senate besides that. It would still leave VP Biden as the deciding vote, and the procedural power still in the hands of the Democrats.

While it seems like an interesting story, the seat is up again in 2 years (I believe) since Manchin is filling out Senator Byrd's term. Better to let 6 months play out at a minimum to see if you want to try to pull him over or attack him heavily in 2012.

Posted by: Chris on November 8, 2010 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Manchin is a bought-and-paid-for tool of the coal corporations. It matters little which political party he claims to belong to. He really belongs to the Koch brothers and Massey Energy.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 8, 2010 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

"It would also be pretty odd for a member to deliberately give up a seat in the majority to join a Senate minority."

Maybe it does at the moment, but the numbers for 2012 look terrible for Senate Democrats; they've got 23 seats up, while the Republicans have 10. And many of the Democrats are vulnerable, while few of the Republicans are. Even under ideal circumstances, Democrats will have trouble holding the Senate. But it is hard to see what Manchin would gain by flipping now instead of in two years.

Posted by: dsimon on November 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

This project will no doubt be funded by earmarks. How about the Dem pushback be about that, and they can cite Fox News as the source.

Posted by: John Dillinger on November 8, 2010 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that the coal-to-diesel fuel thing is an undeveloped technology that anyway will require huge subsidies because the energy input is way more than the output. Anyone?

Posted by: emjayay on November 8, 2010 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Fox News lies, all the time, simply as part of its business model"

Well said! Hear, hear!

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on November 8, 2010 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Manchin should align with whichever party enables him to best serve his constituents.

I trust Manchin will do just that, and I trust he'll see the value of being a Democrat.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on November 8, 2010 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Umm, the BPublicans are in the minority in the Senate. Therefore, they are in no position to offer incentives like "committtee assignments." Manchin has to go to Harry Reid for his assisgnments. That's just assinine. Of course, I wouldn't expect a Fucksnews staffer to know that.

Posted by: Trollkiller on November 8, 2010 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Manchin should align with whichever party enables him to best serve his constituents^H^H^H^H^H Peabody."


Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 8, 2010 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK
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