I'd like to respectfully ask the Gazette to reconsider its endorsement, or lack thereof, of Joe Manchin.
I can understand your frustration with the hide-and-seek tactics that Sen. Manchin employs when he thinks it is politically expedient. Yes, he'll talk like a conservative and act like he's fiscally responsible to appeal to more moderate voters -- but under that outward appearance of a lovable rube is the heart of a tax-and-spend liberal.
Manchin was a champion for the budget-busting Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act better know as Obamacare. He praised President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Reid during the Obamacare debates in 2009. When running for senator two years ago he said he wouldn't have voted for the bill if he knew what was included in the legislation -- but then, once he had taken the oath in Washington and it was time to go on the record, he voted for Obamacare. It was just a nuance in Joe's thinking -- a little misdirection now and a little payoff to the party leaders later.
I know that Manchin has long asserted he is pro-life, but when it was time to fund Planned Parenthood -- the largest abortion provider in the country -- he was in lockstep with the more left-wing colleagues in his party. He wants to say that no federal money goes toward abortion, but he funds an organization that performs over 300,000 abortions every year.
Stimulus deficit spending? Manchin is your man. The Obama agenda? Joe is on board more than 85 percent of the time.
Manchin is also finding new friends in Washington that obviously like his take on things. Campaign contributors include Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry. That trio obviously doesn't see the similarities the Gazette points out between Joe Manchin and Joe Lieberman.
Manchin is running as a "West Virginia Democrat" touting his roots and interests as vested in what is best for West Virginia. That is merely window-dressing. His supporters and friends are on the far-left fringe of his party.
OK, I get it. Manchin threw President Obama under the bus when he said he wasn't certain whom he would support for president. When he dodged the question in a national interview and said he would make up his mind on Election Day in November between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov, Mitt Romney. On the surface that looks like an automatic disqualification for the Gazette editorial board, but if you overlook the other hedges and sidesteps that Manchin makes to hide his core beliefs, you can surely overlook a purely political utterance. Do you really believe that Joe Manchin will pull the lever for Mitt Romney?
You do, in fact, know that I will. I'd also vote to repeal Obamacare and to block funding for Planned Parenthood. Wasteful stimulus packages and bailouts would be a nonstarter and Lisa Jackson would be looking for a new job in the Gazette want ads.
I don't usually get involved in personal spats, but I do feel compelled to come to Joe's aid on this one. It's time to reconsider.
Raese is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.