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Tilting at Windmills

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November 9, 2010

MANCHIN 'IS NOT SWITCHING PARTIES'.... As expected, a Fox News report on Senate Republicans trying to lure Sen.-elect Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to the GOP caused a stir yesterday afternoon. And as expected, the report appears to be fiction.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) on Monday evening batted down any suggestion that he is considering a party switch following his scheduled swearing-in next week as the Mountain State's junior Senator.

Additionally, a Senate Republican leadership aide said GOP leaders made no such offer. Manchin and the Senate GOP aide were reacting to a FoxNews.com story posted earlier in the day. The report indicated that leaders were trying to entice Manchin to switch parties by offering sweeteners, such as support for favored legislation, and that he was considering the offer.

"Joe Manchin is a lifelong Democrat, and he is not switching parties. This is exactly what is wrong with Washington -- individuals try to put politics before our nation," said Melvin Smith, a spokesman in the governor's office. "Joe Manchin wants to go to Washington to encourage Members of Congress to stop partisan bickering and start putting our nation's needs at the forefront."

And while Fox News quoted an unnamed "advisor" to Manchin, Derek Scarbro, the executive director of the West Virginia Democratic Party and a close Manchin ally, called the rumor "ridiculous."

What's more, I talked to someone active in Democratic West Virginia politics last night who reminded me that Manchin has no incentive to even consider an offer from the GOP, should he receive one -- his victory last week was in a special election to fill the remainder of Robert Byrd's term, and he'll have to run again in 2012 for a full term. If Manchin tried to run as a Republican, he'd face a primary and lose to someone far more conservative. (The party could conceivably promise to support Manchin in a primary fight, but 2010 made clear that GOP leaders' backing in Republican primaries is meaningless.)

Manchin won't exactly be the Democrats' most reliable ally, but the notion of him leaving the party altogether appears highly unlikely.

As for the piece that got tongues wagging, this is another reminder that it's rarely wise to take Fox News "reporting" too seriously.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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In other news, Rupert Murdoch has hired the entire staff of the Onion, as writers and on-air commentators. . .

Posted by: DAY on November 9, 2010 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

FOX's news reporting?
The only time I think FOX is really "on" a news story, is when there's some missing blonde girl.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on November 9, 2010 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting bit about how the risks of facing a more conservative primary challenger as a Republican is an incentive not to switch parties.

I would cite it as a small but telling piece of evidence of how the GOP's turn to the hard right makes it harder for them to build a stable governing coalition in the long term.

Posted by: Basilisc on November 9, 2010 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Another Fox "Squirrel".

Posted by: ComradeAnon on November 9, 2010 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

What Democratic Party?

It has been given over to Republicans who couldn't be elected as Republicans because they're not quite crazy enough.

What good does it do to have a majority when half your members consistently vote with the minority?

Posted by: karen marie on November 9, 2010 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

One would hope the worst we can expect from Manchin is the usual Blue Dog opposition to anything that might solve a problem and not a defection, but hey, if it was on Fox News it must be true.

Posted by: max on November 9, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

It's possible that FOX made this up but if they didn't I'm not sure this is anything more than SOP in Washington reporting regardless the new service.

Posted by: CarlP on November 9, 2010 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Who switches parties right after getting elected? If he were going to switch, he'd at least wait a few months, wouldn't he?

Posted by: kezboard on November 9, 2010 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

...it's rarely wise to take Fox News "reporting" too seriously.

If we cannot take Fox News reporting too seriously that automatically means Global Warming is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated against a vigilant public in history .
Bigger than the insidious , and stupid rumours promoted by the Sicilian Tourist and Trade factions campaign about Pompeii being a bit sulfurous and ashy .
Again , and again we witness the tired ingrown desire for a Juno mommy state of those who would challenge the strength of Capitalism against puny reality . Capitalism is stronger than reality .
Capitalism Smash ...

Posted by: FRP on November 9, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Here's another Manchin statement:

“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,” said one Manchin advisor. “Now, if that doesn’t work and Democrats aren’t receptive, I don’t know what possibilities that leaves open.”

Somehow, you missed that one.

Posted by: Mike K on November 9, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

@ kezboard:
"Who switched parties right after getting elected?"
ben nighthorse campbell and richard shelby come to mind. they were elected as dems and immediately crossed the aisle. in '94, iirc.

Posted by: mellowjohn on November 9, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

“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,” said one Manchin advisor. “Now, if that doesn’t work and Democrats aren’t receptive, I don’t know what possibilities that leaves open.”

Somehow, you missed that one.

No, no one missed anything. Unless we count you missing this from yesterday.

Posted by: Realist on November 9, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "Manchin won't exactly be the Democrats' most reliable ally ..."

No, he will be the coal corporations' most reliable ally.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 9, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Shelby was elected in 1986, Campbell in 1992, so they didn't switch right away. But still kind of unseemly. When Phil Gramm switched parties in 1983, he resigned his House seat & then won a special election as a Republican. He's a jerk in a lot of ways, but you have to respect him for that at least.

Posted by: Basilisc on November 9, 2010 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Somehow, you missed that one.

No, no one missed anything. Unless we count you missing this from yesterday.

Posted by: Realis

So, you had the other quote and still went on your Fox News rant.

OK. I got it.

Posted by: Mike K on November 9, 2010 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News: the land of wishful thinking. "I have an idea, wouldn't it be neat if Manchin switched parties, given that he IS one of the fossil fuel faction that the Republican party now is. So let's just say he will."

Posted by: jjm on November 9, 2010 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Taxes shouldn't be going up on anybody right now," Cantor said.

You only have your party to blame for the sunset provision.

Besided Bush talked to God and thats what God wanted, right?

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 9, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a Coloradan:

How's West Virginia get to call itself "the Mountain State"

Posted by: Anthony Damiani on November 9, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

My only question is..

FOX, where is my bread??

Posted by: Kill Bill on November 9, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K. -

I went on no rant. I merely provided the link to what you had obviously missed yesterday.

Posted by: Realist on November 9, 2010 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind that WV is *heavily* Democratic. Not liberal, but Democratic. Even after 2010 shellacking, the state House of Delegates still has a lopsided Democratic majority. Manchin would be destroyed if he became a Republican and survived a tea party challenge.

Posted by: ga73 on November 9, 2010 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Mike K gets confused very easily, so here goes:

The quote from the "unnamed advisor" was the basis of a news item by Fox News to which Mr. Benen responded with a post yesterday, Monday, 8 November, 2010. The several DENIALS of the validity of the Fox News item were the basis of the post by Mr. Benen today, Tuesday, 9 November, 2010. The unwisdom of believing anything one sees or hears as being reported by Fox News was the basis of the latter post.
Mike K's further remarks: "So, you had the other quote and still went on your Fox News rant." should leave us all feeling sympathetic to someone so obviously incapacitated by an inability to discern the difference between a news item on one day and the rebuttal to that item on the next day. One can only applaud someone who manages to hold down a job while unable to tell one day from the next. He even bravely tries to hide his affliction with his final remark of: "Okay, I got it."
Even though it's painfully obvious he doesn't...

Posted by: Doug on November 9, 2010 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK
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