Joe Manchin has always defied labels and those of us who served in the West Virginia legislature with him often conjectured about what label to put on him. Was he a D (Democrat)? The unions thought so until they didn’t and turned on him. Was he an R (Republican)? No we checked his registration and he wasn’t that either. He was, in fact, a fiscally conservative Democrat who had mastered the art of dancing between the raindrops, Not to forget too that he was a really good dancer and a popular guy. Say what you will about Manchin’s political stance, but he was just a likeable fella. The kinda guy you wanna hang out with.
Now that he is attended the No-Label town hall speculation is that he will emerge as their presidential candidate. He is fueling that speculation by promoting himself as a candidate.
No way! Manchin only goes into a race if he knows he can win, and I question if we are ready to elect a third-party candidate.
In order to truly understand the legislative animal, you have to see him/her in their natural habitat. Back when I served in the legislature, which was Charleston, more often than not it was also the bar at the Charleston Marriott. That’s when party lines disappeared and legislatures socialized….and drank….and danced Legislators are often great storytellers and I heard a lot of stories, some repeatable, others not, in my time.
When Manchin was Governor he was no stranger to Mountaineer, and beyond the political realm he was a good friend to CEO Ted Arneault. He and many of his staff often came for concerts, boxing matches and of course, our premier day, “The West Virginia Derby.”
After the Derby, the crowd migrated to the Lighthouse Bar where they always had a band. My daughter, Shannon , who was in marketing at the time , always made it clear she couldn’t dance. It’s unclear what genetic misfire caused her lack of rhythm. Her Dad and I both could cut a mean rug and excelled during the disco days. Her Grandma Margaret once won a tap-dancing contest. But even though Shannon excelled at tennis, she knew she was a klutz and made it a rule to never venture onto the dance floor. She would shut you down bluntly if you asked her to dance “Can’t dance….don’t ask me”.
Except Joe Manchin couldn’t understand that someone couldn’t dance or would turn him down. So, when he approached Shannon, we wondered if the Governor would be successful. She shook her head no. He cajoled…..he encouraged… and .he got her out on the dance floor
Shannon said he didn’t even take two turns around the dance floor when he realized his mistake. Even the Manchin charm and smooth feet didn’t help and he said, “you really can’t dance.” And, with that Joe Manchin cut his losses and delivered her back to her group of friends.
It was typical Joe. He cut his losses and went on to something that worked. Which is what I predict he’ll now do.
He’s one of two being bandied about for the No Label candidate for President. According to POLITICO if the two opposing candidates are Trump and Biden, he is considering the run. After all, the Democrats have shunned him and the Republicans haven’t embraced him. Does a third party have the funding and organization necessary for a Presidential run. I’m sure, Joe will assess it and if they “can’t dance” he’ll cut his losses and bow out