Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 21, 2011

MANCHIN'S CONFUSION.... I can appreciate the fact that Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia represents a conservative state. He won a special election late last year, but he'll be on the ballot again in 2012, and support for the Democratic president in this state will likely be pretty low.

But that's really not much of an excuse for silly grandstanding like this.

Saying that "we must get our fiscal house in order," Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia says he'll vote against raising the nation's debt ceiling unless it's married to a plan that addresses the nation's broader fiscal problems. [...]

"In the coming weeks, we will face many difficult budget decisions. I know it will not be easy. I know that it will take compromise. I know it will be partisan and difficult. I know that everyone will have to give up something and no one will want to relinquish anything. But we cannot ignore the fiscal Titanic of our national debt and deficit," Manchin will say.

According to the released text of the speech he'll deliver later today, Manchin will vow to "vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the vote is linked to a real budget plan that begins to fix our fiscal mess."

It's seems likely Manchin has no idea what he's talking about. There's no exact date just yet, but by some estimates, the federal government will reach its debt limit in less than a month. During that time, policymakers hope to strike some kind of compromise on a budget that will fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. Almost immediately once that gets done -- if it gets done -- those same policymakers will have to agree to extend the debt limit, or face potentially catastrophic economic consequences.

Manchin believes he should deliberately create a global economic catastrophe, unless, over the course of a few weeks, some remarkable plan somehow comes together.

In other words, the center-right Democrat wants to hold the full faith and credit of the United States government hostage until his vague concerns about a "fiscal mess" are addressed to his satisfaction.

Keep in mind, Manchin isn't making any specific recommendations about what he'd like to see in this budget plan, only that he'd like others to do the work that makes him happy. If not, he apparently has his infamous rifle pointed not only at cap-and-trade, but also at our entire economy.

Update: Of course, it's also worth noting that massive spending cuts, along the lines that would apparently make Manchin happy, wouldn't do any favors for his constituents. West Virginia is a fairly low-income state, and would be harder hit than most by the kind of reductions Manchin seems to want.

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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"Keep in mind, (Insert name of grandstanding congresscritter here) isn't making any specific recommendations about what he'd like to see in this budget plan...

Steve, how many times have you written this or something similar in the last two months? More than I can count, I'd say.

Posted by: bignose on March 21, 2011 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm not surprised.

That OUTRIGHT STUPIDITY is the only bipartisan thing both parties can agree on.

And somewhere, David Broder is smiling.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, grandstanding about covers it. In fact, I suspect that Manchin might be irritated to discover that someone is making the effort to parse his statements, compare them with reality, and look at the possible consequences of what he's advocating. Just totally unfair.

Posted by: MattF on March 21, 2011 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

If I may reduce out national fiscal situation to the level of a family:

Our credit card debt exceeds our monthly income. Dad says we should see a financial counselor, and bring our expenses under control.

Manchin says declare bankruptcy.

Posted by: DAY on March 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

DAY: If I may reduce out national fiscal situation to the level of a family:

Yeah, but Uncle Sam says "Fuck it! Inflation's low. Let's just print some more money!"

Posted by: chi res on March 21, 2011 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Across the nation, newly elected conservative/TeaParty/Dino officials, especially governors and guys like Manchin are putting the screws to their constituents/residents in the name of Fiscal Responsibility. And of course the constituents/residents are the ones responsible for voting them into office and allowing the screws to be put to them. It seems to me the main question will be what happens the next time the screwee's vote. Will they "throw the bums out" or will their hate of Obama and devotion to FOX news compell them to screw themselves ( and the rests of us) for 2-4-6 more years?

Posted by: T2 on March 21, 2011 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Indeed, West VA would be a state that would be hardest-hit by the teabaggers' wish list, and yet, West VA is most likely to vote in conservatives who can't wait to screw them over.

Look, at this point, all I can say is, when voters think this way, they deserve the screwing over they get from those they put in office to do just that.

Posted by: June on March 21, 2011 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

It's also a culturally Southern state, and promising to make sure "those people" don't get any of "your money" is a strong selling point.

Posted by: bleh on March 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Well, since I actually live in West Virginia, here's my two cents' worth: Joe Manchin is a lying piece of ... well, you know. He's wholly owned by the coal industry (and probably any other company that wants to line his pockets). He has a reputation in this state for being reasonably fiscally responsible - of course, it was on the backs of actual citizens; the corporations love him.

I'd bet that Manchin is hoping to sell his vote to the Dems - never mind that he's a putative Democrat himself - in exchange for gutting the EPA, another of his "signature" goals in the Senate, held in common with Jay Rockefeller, our other useless senator.

Posted by: blondie on March 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

cund gulag, I have had this kicking around in my head for a week or so..(crossposted at Cogitamus and Alicublog..)

The Lost Centrist

O History's muse, note the Departed Broder
who leaves this world with uncertain odor..
A Village scribe, the Dean of such;
A ready voice who spewed much
Of the Conventional Wisdom of the place
And managed to put a reasonable face
On war lust, pillage, and economic devastation
and always always told the nation
that Bipartisanship was the only answer
and leftist hippies a fearful cancer
to be shunned by all the Serious People...
And in his view, always equal
were the Jim Demints and the John Kerrys,
the sort of view that always buries
Bernie Sanders, or Alan Grayson;
selling Bohner and Pence as good for the nation;
Treat them as statesmen, and put a face
of Reason on Karl Rove, Ace
Of Ratfuckers..And server of quail;
Such delights made Dean Broder fail
To note Rove's mendacity and deception.
Always ready for the Embassy reception,
Consumer of Cocktail weenies, Imbiber
of Convention Wisdom, for the WaPo subscriber.
Bury his Pulitizer with his reputation,
Find new 'real Americans' to display to the nation
Give his seat at Washington Week
To some Centrist Republican media freak
Like Brooks, and try to forget
the sponge-like columns that would regret
any Progressive show of strength or rightness;
the worship of power cloaked in Politeness:
Messages from Broderland, where Gingrich is smart,
Hillary shrill, and the whole art
of the columnist is saying both sides are the same
And never, never let on that the game
Of equivalence is false, and that Reality
Biased: and never never admit his fealty
to Movement conservatism and the mainstreaming
of Rightist talking points, and that seeming
centrism is just Establishment agitprop;
Feed the Powerful praise, and the Readers slop.

Goodbye, Dean, we bury you and hope to bury the Consensus
with you, and the Nation return to it's senses...

Posted by: MR Bill on March 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Manchin: proof of what happens after 10 generations of hillbillies marry their sisters.

That this moron ever got considered a "leading politician" is proof that all those jokes about West Virginia aren't jokes - they're descriptions of reality.

Robert Byrd must be spinning in his grave to see this clueless idiot try to fill his shoes.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 21, 2011 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

MR Bill: that poem to Broder is fan-damn-tastic!

Posted by: TCinLA on March 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks man. Please note that I am, in fact, a hillbilly (North Georgia division: what can you say about a part of the world where the two media productions about it are Deliverance and Squidbillies but WTF?); inbreeding and hillbilliness are no excuse for Manchin's idiocy.

Posted by: MR Bill on March 21, 2011 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks man. Please note that I am, in fact, a hillbilly (North Georgia division: what can you say about a part of the world where the two media productions about it are Deliverance and Squidbillies but WTF?); inbreeding and hillbilliness are no excuse for Manchin's idiocy.

Posted by: MR Bill on March 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

damn double post

Posted by: MR Bill on March 21, 2011 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"West Virginia is a fairly low-income state, and would be harder hit than most by the kind of reductions Manchin seems to want."

I no longer think that conservatives af any stripe care about anybody who's not already rich. Low income people need to pray more (or something), because conservatives just don't give a damn - not even when it is themselves!

Posted by: Mark-NC on March 21, 2011 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, West Virginia is a poor state more reliant on federal spending than are others. Let's put a number on it. According to a Tax Foundation study for the period 1981-2005, West Virginia received $74,460,907,561 more in federal spending than its citizens paid in federal taxes. That's billions. He knows this but his constituents don't, so I don't understand why he and other politicians in similar situations don't tell their constituents about this fact. Only ignorance allows a voter to deny this reality. I think.

Posted by: Robert M Abbott on March 21, 2011 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bummer.
I like Manchin in his speeches for "No Labels".
It gave me hope that it was a sincere effort to forge compromises where the Republicans are normally loathe to do such a thing.

This is sophomoric.

Thanks for the insight, Blondie@10:31am
I'll temper my admiration with skepticism.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 21, 2011 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Have a friend from West Virginia who retired from the IRS and she can't convince her own family (not millionaires) that the inheritance tax will not effect their heirs.

Manchin has been a bigger disappointment than I expected, he fits right with the all the other Republicans and the many weasally Dems.

Posted by: Kathryn on March 21, 2011 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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