Almost heaven West Virginia is turning into almost hell for West Virginia governor and senate candidatevying for the Democratic seat left vacant by the death of West Virginia’s finest, the late Senator , a perennial shoe-in.
Manchin, himself once considered a shoe-in for Byrd’s long-held Senate seat could be like Shoe-less, the walking dead, if current polls are correct in Manchin’s race against the Republican team’s candidate John Raese. It’ll be Manchin’s Field of Dreams if he wins Byrd’s seat, but he’s been so far afield in his game plan, what will happen this coming Tuesday is anybody’s guess.
For not only is Joe Manchin shoeless, he is spineless, running as far afield of President Obama as he can. Here’s some of the hits Manchin has taken at Obama, his fellow Democrat, the president he supported full-court during the elections.
Strike One: Manchin is the first Senate Democratic candidate to call for the repeal of ObamaCare, despite the fact that at the time it was being voted on he said he was for it. A spokesperson for Manchin recently told the Wall Street Journal that there are several sections [of ObamaCare] that [Gov. Manchin] would now vote to repeal, including any provisions that allow for the funding of abortions and the provisions that are cumbersome to small businesses. He also believes people's personal responsibility and health-care choices should not be taken away by overreaching regulations, a direct throw to the right...spineless.
Strike Two: Manchin is running as an Independent i.e. these words from his latest campaign ad: “I’ve always done what’s right for West Virginia regardless of party…” spineless.
Strike Three: In a recent interview Manchin says that he now believes that if the near $800 billion stimulus bill was before him as senator, he would have voted no…spineless.
Joe Manchin has been a Damn Yankee good governor. He can boast that as governor he reduced the state’s deficit and kept unemployment lower than the national average, no small feat in these economically treacherous times, particularly for a state that is so poor that it can’t afford its own baseball stadium.
In a recent interview Manchin took pride (in the losing Yankees) when he said: "Our state is stronger now than ever. Most states are struggling to survive," he said. "We have not cut any services. We have not raised any taxes. We're still cutting the taxes, you know, and we have not laid anybody off."
Nevertheless, despite a record he can be proud of, major league statistics, Manchin is punting against the hardballs being thrown at him by his Republican opponent and businessman, John Raese. In fact, as the sitting Governor Manchin has a 70 percent approval rating, a heckuva scorecard, yet Manchin is virtually tied in the polls with Raese, a three time loser at bat, unable to make it to first base in his numerous quests to hold public office in West Virginia.
On Manchin’s team, by the way, are the AFL-CIO, the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA (a Democrats Field of Dreams) and the Coal Miners Association, support for his candidacy on steroids.
So who is the opponent giving Shoeless Joe Manchin a run for his money? John Raese is a carpetbagger. He might have been born and raised in West Virginia, but he currently resides in tonyBeach county Florida where his children attend school and he is a member of a restricted country club, though he keeps a house in Morgantown. His wife who has a passion for pink driveways can’t even vote for her husband in West Virginia. Raese, besides being a carpetbagger is farm league, unqualified for the major league job of Senator. The only experience he has in government, if you can call it such, are his previous three failed attempts to buy himself into office. “Once, twice, three strikes you’re out…”
About Raese’s strategy: Really, how smart is it to tell the poor people of West Virginia that if they elect him their Senator, he will abolish the minimum wage, which too many West Virginians, unfortunately, can’t live on? Or how does this sound to a blue collar West Virginian, a statement Raese repeats over and again as if it’s something to be proud of: “I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it.” He smiles broadly every time he repeats the line drive, his face lighting up like the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium. As if he’d hit a homerun or something. What a crackerjack! Still, it doesn’t hurt Raese that he is one of the largest media owners in the state. Pow! Ka Boom!
And yet after making stupid play after play, his most notorious error being his political commercial invoking the overused and insulting image of the West Virginia hick, Raese continues to be a player.
Instant replay:decimated Barack Obama in the 2008 West Virginia primary. West Virginians didn’t like President Obama then, and apparently they don’t like him now. Current polls say that only 29 percent of West Virginians approve of Obama’s job performance, no smash hit here and one of the president’s worst approval ratings in the country. The same poll found 63 percent of those asked favor repealing the health care law, which might explain why West Virginia’s voters, the recipients of Manchin’s nealy .500 batting average, a notable performance as Governor of the State are thinking about John Raese as their new team player in the senate. But imagine how different it might have been for Manchin if Obama had pride (in the Yankees) in his own agenda.
Now Manchin whose scorecard is better than average, is forced to run against his own manager, Obama, and, in fact, the very policies that have served West Virginia well. Yes, blame Manchin’s losing strategy on President Obama who doesn’t have the baseballs to stand up for his agenda such as the health care legislation that can only help poorer West Virginians.would be the first to say that if the manager won’t stand behind his own team, who will? Surely not Joe Manchin, though with proper leadership he could prove to be the most valuable player in this seasons mid-term playoffs, his win helping to insure the Democrats precarious hold on the senate. Alas, Manchin is proving no All-Star, playing -league politics to his opponent’s extraordinary fielding, making no runs, no hits, only errors against the rookie Raese.
One can only imagine what Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia’s all-time all-Star player must be thinking, looking down from that real field of dreams up in the sky, playing his fiddle in disgust at the thought of a Republican taking his long-held Senate seat. You can almost hear him singing in warning to all those good Democrats in West Virginia, his team’s fans, those who he spent a lifetime raising pork for:
“…Root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame...” tra, la, la!!!!
Halli Casser-Jayne is the author of A YEAR IN MY PAJAMAS WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA, The Politics of Strange Bedfellows. You can follow her musings at http://www.thecjpoliticalreport.com, on Facebook at Halli Casser-Jayne Author, and on Twitter at HalliCJ