When discussing Joe Manchin, the conversation among political wags inevitably turns to “what’s next?”

When Manchin was Secretary of State, he was setting up a run for Governor. When he was Governor, he was eyeing the United States Senate.

Now that Manchin has finally secured a full six-year term in the Senate (after initially winning a special election for an unexpired two-year term in 2010 following Senator Byrd’s death), there’s chatter of Manchin running for… wait for it… Governor.

Politco reported this week on the future of moderate Senate Democrats like Manchin if Republicans take control of the body in this year’s election.

‘“I am who I am. I don’t fit anywhere,’ Manchin said of his politics, too conservative for most Democrats, but too liberal for most Republicans,” Politico reported.   That invited speculation about whether Manchin prefers Charleston over Washington.

“He isn’t up for re-election until 2018 and makes no secret that he would like to be a state executive after cutting short his second term as governor to replace the late Robert Byrd in 2010,” Politico reported.  “Manchin is ‘absolutely’ considering another run for governor, calling it a ‘big option.’”

Manchin has never settled comfortably into the painfully deliberate pace of the Senate or Washington’s fixation on party allegiance.   His high-energy pace and short attention span are more suited for day-to-day operations and deal making than the hyper-partisan slog of the nation’s capital.

And, as always, Manchin is a party unto himself.  That was evident again when Politico asked him about West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race.

“He (Manchin) supports Democrat Natalie Tennant in her run to replace the retiring West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, but questions whether it is ‘morally right’ to ‘beat up’ on Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in that race.  He said the state has ‘two good candidates’ in the race—not exactly holding the party line.”

That has to be disappointing to Tennant. She’s raising real money and campaigning hard in her uphill battle against Capito.  Having Manchin solidly in her corner would help immensely.

But Manchin avoids corners.  He works the room, dominating its center and always protecting his flank.

“I’ll wait until after the “’14 election and start making some decisions,” Manchin told Politico.  “I would never say I’m leaning any way.”

After Capito-Tennant, the next big race in West Virginia is the 2016 Governor’s contest. Gov. Tomblin cannot run for re-election, so it’s wide open.  Now the ever-impatient Manchin has, just with a few words, conveniently dropped his name into the mix.

What’s next for Manchin?  I don’t think even he knows, but he has the rare political luxury of time to decide.

 

 

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Comments

  • Jim N Charleston

    Skippy,

    Two words, 'publicity whore'

    To make this decision, Joe will
    -appoint a task force
    -form a panel
    -commission a study
    -sit down & bring the task force, panel, and commission together and find common ground
    -give interviews & updates to keep the publicity fire stoked
    -announce that milestones have been reached and progress has been made, multiple times
    -then hold another press conference in early Nov 2014 without Natalie Tenant & surrounded by American Flags, WV Flags, WVU Flags, The Mountaineer, a Bob Huggins & a Dana Holgorsen cardboard cutout, and anybody else he can find to give him more publicity
    -then FINALLY do what he was going to do all along

    IE whateer gives hin the most attention & advances his name

    I'm Jim N So Charleston
    L8

    • zero tolerance

      +1

    • Wowbagger

      +1

  • Dave

    What ever he runs for, West Virginia won't elect him. We've had enough of Joe.

    • Wowbagger

      Joe was primaried by Chalotte Pritt so no, Joe Manchin is not invincible!

  • Kris

    No vote from me. He doesn't know where he stands on anything. Enough with the State micro-manager.

  • Gus

    Manchin doesn't want a legacy as the guy who left the governorship to become senator and then left the senate to become governor. He is a control freak and he wants to control who gets in the next race for governor. He is clearing a path for his preferred candidate.

  • JustaFan

    What's the matter, Joe? Upset because people don't pay as much attention to you as they used to?

  • MickandAllysDad

    Would it be a conflict of interest to have the first lady of West Virginia serving as the state school board superintendent?

    • AX MAN

      Not in West Viginia.

    • Richard

      She would certainly make an excellent choice for superintendent.

      • Tanya

        When HAIL freezes over!

  • Silas Lynch

    I would vote for Manchin if he were to publicly denounce the evil devil,,, errr, I mean Democrat Party from his soul while standing in the well of the Senate...

    I think Joe is Catholic so he would have to say it three times----- Which would mean C-spans ratings would certainly increase three times, as well......

  • thornton

    Manchin's next gig?...Governor or DNR Director, toss up.

    But, it could just be a way of garnering attention with the possibly open seat frightening folks...if, he likes that sort of thing.

  • Wowbagger

    Joe already showed his true colors by co-sponsoring Manchin-Schumer-Toomey! He sold out for Bloomberg bucks. I have too much respect for my dog to support him for dog catcher.

    Just say NO to Joe!

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, you mean to tell me that Joe Manchin is already wanting to leave the U.S. Senate to become Governor of WV again? Really?

    Well, in my opinion, Manchin certainly made a better Governor than he did a Senator. However, I have to wonder if MoJo has burned so many bridges with the electorate with his Senate voting record that he might not win ANY more future elections in the Mountain State, as Governor or U.S. Senator. Of course, stranger things have happened before in WV politics and if he can somehow manage to distance himself from Obama, it's entirely possible. As I've written before on this MB, never count out a Democrat running for election (or reelection) in this state.

  • Aaron

    As I said yesterday, I think he's setting himself up for a bigger job, not a smaller one. He'd be a heck of a balance to a top heavy liberal candidate.

    • Silas Lynch

      I originally suspected that with his departure for D.C. but I honestly believe once Joe arrived in Washington he witnessed that the national democrats were far different than the West Virginian home-grown variety of Democrats.

      I would think with Joe's political savvy and his natural avenue to being an insider he would, like so many of us, have already known that.

      Maybe his ego persuaded him he could heal the divided.

  • larryoldboy

    Signaling his restlessness as Senator may be more calculated than aiming for re-election as governor of WV. It could be read as a notice of availabllity by the Clinton camp, who will be looking for someone as VP with a non-partisan bent, especially if NJ senator Cory Booker doesn't pan out. Hillary will have to run as a pragmatic, centrist New Democrat, and Joe Manchin has been plying that line since his arrival in DC. Unfortunately, his way of doing so has disappointed a lot of us in WV, as he has sacrificed moral clarity about abortion, defied common sense on gun control, and played the role of useful idiot in supporting the pack of outright lies that enabled Obamacare to become the law of the land. But that is right up the Clintons' alley when you think of it: a smooth-talking wheeler-dealer who can project a wholesome image and sound like a choir-boy while pushing the liberal agenda and avoiding accountability. He will fit right in with the Camelot 2.0 campaign the Clintons will be running.

    • mamasita

      Agree LOB, except that WV is still a small state - 5 electoral votes. But I have long suspected that Joe has found himself a niche and will milk it for all its worth!

    • Leroy j Gibbs

      I said it last year and I will say it again. Hillary and Joe manchin 2016

  • David Kennedy

    With the Republicant Sunami on the horizion, all the Democraps are looking for a safe place to 'slop at the public trough and weather out the storm of public discontent.
    Hiding out in the WV Governor's mansion must look pretty good since all the old cronies are still in place.
    Thank you, Hoppy for keeping us informed...an informed public is what they fear the most.

    • Wowbagger

      I don't think you will see a Republican tsunami so much as a tsunami of libertarian principles, not involving an organized Libertarian Party.

    • Hulka

      Lighten up there, Francis.....

      • Silas Lynch

        The only memorable line from that otherwise ghastly movie.

        • The bookman

          That's a fact , Jack!

          • Silas Lynch

            Ha-Ha-- +1

    • Hop'sHip

      A Republican tsunami? An apt description for what such would portend for the middle class, and certainly the nation's poor. Get ready to drown.

      • Aaron

        I'm curious Hop, what's the dogma with income inequality? According to Pickett of whom you cited below, it is deterrent to economic activity but I wonder, can we really legislate economic activity and if so, at what cost?

        Thoughts?

      • Silas Lynch

        I'm afraid we are already going under for the third time.

      • Aaron

        Interestingly enough, one of the primary reasons in the growing gap of income inequality is marriage.

        Seems we marry those we are around and with a larger number of women going to college than at any time in history, college grads are marrying with both earning high levels of income. In the interest of equality, should government ban dual high income homes?

        Along those line, if so, I will gladly volunteer to be a kept man.

      • The bookman

        There you go again with that income inequality argument. We've covered this many times. Under Bush, the gap between the classes was on the decline, and with Obama the gap has widened. It is my opinion that the inequality is fueled not by capitalist greed but monetary stimulus. Wealth is being concentrated at the top by artificially inflating the markets in an environment where the actual economy is underperforming. I'd enroll you in the night class, but at this hour, this is close enough to qualify (no punctuation)

        • Liz

          Bookman, I think no are reading the wrong books.

          • The bookman

            HH

            I understand that income inequality is a natural phenomenon that has been observed for centuries. My point is that it has been recently exaggerated by the monetary policies of the Fed in this country. The point at which you call more cohesive immediately followed the Second World War, which resulted in the destruction of wealth in Europe and intense economic mobilization in the US coupled with price controls. Viewing WWII in the prism of almost immediately following WWI on a historical scale, it served as a giant reset and redistribution of wealth, and in his terms, capital.

            As I stated I don't disagree with much of Piketty says, and neither do most economists, regardless of political flavor. It is the solution he proposes, a global wealth tax to exact punishment for success and accumulation of wealth as a means to redistribute wealth to the lower classes. James Galbraith of the University of Texas suggests the estate tax as a better tool, as when used properly, provides the initiative to reinvest or distribute capital prior to death. I think that is a little better solution in that the holder of the wealth has the impetus to selectively choose where to place his capital directly back into the market, as opposed to having it collected upon death. The best approach in my opinion is to provide opportunities for a better rate of return on investment that have real consequences, ie realized failure of the markets. What we have now is a money machine, transferring the money we are printing to the wealthiest among us. I would think you would be against that.

          • The bookman

            HH

            I understand that income inequality is a natural phenomenon that has been observed for centuries. My point is that it has been recently exaggerated by the monetary policies of the Fed in this country. The point at which you call more cohesive immediately followed the Second World War, which resulted in the destruction of wealth in Europe and intense economic mobilization in the US coupled with price controls. Viewing WWII in the prism of almost immediately following WWI on a historical scale, it served as a giant reset and redistribution of wealth, and in his terms, capital.

            As I stated I don't disagree with much of Piketty says, and neither do most economists, regardless of political flavor. It is the solution he proposes, a global wealth tax to exact punishment for success and accumulation of wealth as a means to redistribute wealth to the lower classes. James Galbraith of the University of Texas suggests the estate tax as a better tool, as when used properly, provides the initiative to reinvest or distribute capital prior to death.

          • Hop'sHip

            Bookie: You seem to argue that rising inequality is a recent phenomenon resulting from some combination of TARP and current expansionary monetary policy. You asked for evidence showing otherwise. The Piketty book examine data over three centuries and scores of countries to show that periods of rising inequality and resulting social upheaval have been the rule rather than the exception. He examines the period during the 20th century where inequality was at levels that promoted more social cohesion. He is not promoting "equality of outcomes."

            Q.
            "Some economists argue that inequality, in the United States, at least, is a good thing. It acts as an incentive for entrepreneurs to take risks and innovate, thus driving economic growth. Is there anything to that argument?"

            A.
            "In theory, yes. But in practice you see inequality everywhere, except in the productivity statistics. The rate of productivity growth has not been particularly good in the U.S. since 1980. Inequality is desirable up to a point. But beyond a certain level it is useless. One of the key lessons of the 20th century is that you can have high growth without the inequality of the 19th century."
            http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/11/qa-thomas-piketty-on-the-wealth-divide/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1

          • Aaron

            “Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.”
            ― Milton Friedman

          • The bookman

            HH,

            As I read Piketty, he affirms that the concentration of capital at the top in low growth environments create incendiary growth in inequality between the classes. I don't disagree with the facts he presents, nor many of the conclusions he reaches. It is the solution he proposes that I can't accept. Reading the review quickly hinted his desire for equal outcomes, redistribution via tax policy, and wealth confiscation via a global tax. Socialism does not work in the long term. We have created a guaranteed return in the markets by telegraphing to the wealth managers that failure is not an option. Remove the backstop and allow true risk of investment to occur.

            Thanks for the recommendation, but it only serves to embolden my position.

          • Wirerowe

            Picketty is a socialist who wants a global wealth tax as a remedy. IMO " progressive" tax increases are good political pandering but they will not change income and wealth disparity in any significant way after an initial blip. Tax policies deal with symptoms of inequality and will not change inequality one bit. A separate argument could be that provisions that unduly benefit higher incomes such as capital gains and what is considered income should be altered in the name of equity to have a more fair distribution of who pays taxes. But taxing wealth or income more to reduce inequity of incomes and wealth is political pandering with few long term results.

          • Hop'sHip

            May I recommend "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by economist Thomas Piketty, Bookie?

          • The bookman

            Maybe! Could you point me in the direction of the factual ones you're reading, or is your comment simply based on wishful thinking and absent of facts?

        • Wirerowe

          Bookman. I agree with you regarding government policies and presidents that have contributed to the increasing disparity in income and wealth. I think the bigger contributors are structural and cannot be significantly changed ,if at all by monetary or a more progressive income tax structure. These structural changes are technology ( Internet and information technology) and mechanization and automation. This makes it possible to produce less products and services with less people and a much smaller cadre of well paid technical people and a larger force of lower paid less skilled people. This is particularly true in production of goods and increasingly will be the case in services. As to Senator Manchin coming back I read a lot of posts that he will get beat. You need somebody that can beat him. I don't see that person out there that can beat Joe Manchin for Governor in 2016 if he decides to run.

          • Wirerowe

            Well said on both points

          • The bookman

            I believe those are contributing factors to the long term separation of income, but the infusion of a trillion dollars a year into the markets to keep them going has increased the divide.

            I agree with the Manchin assessment as well. He wins any race he enters in WV. He has hurt is image a little over his tenure in DC, but not enough to hurt his ability to get elected.

          • Wirerowe

            This makes it possible to produce more and services not less goods and services. Old age squiggles

  • wvman75

    People in our state should have long memories of what he did as one of our senators. That should be enough to not even consider him. Especially anyone who believes in the Second Amendment or hates the effects of Obamacare and the blatant lies that came with it.

  • dangerousdaneerfan

    Oh please Hoppy haven't we had enough of the Manchins???? He appointed a Wise flack to be WVU prez which resulted in Heather getting a bogus eMBA degree. He hogtied Eddie P into WVU playing Marshall. I imagine Ollie would not be too kind to that idea should it arise again. His wife is president of the WV School Board. WV has had 4 different Dem governors since Arch Moore left office in 1989 with only Cecil Underwood being the only other GOP governor in that time frame.