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The Right Resistance: Joe Manchin is the ‘No Labels’ face of nothingness and empty skulls

There are lots of theories today on why politics in America is so contentious and mean spirited. Both liberals and conservatives claim their opponents are uneducated in reality,

overly emotional, cynical, single-minded (in a bad way), biased and willing to do things to win that will never foster unity much less allow the partisans to simply “just get along.”

Believing too strongly in their principles isn’t often mentioned as the cause of so much dissension in 2023, but the “moderates” and “centrists” among us appear to fault the “extremists” on both sides for the nation’s absence of comity. It’s as though locking ourselves in a tiny room with a negotiating table that’s too small and only a pitcher of water between us will somehow make all the difference in our ability to hammer out compromises to issues without a neat dividing line.

Not surprisingly, there are a few nationally known politicians pushing this line of analysis – and they’re gaining in stature and influence by purposely setting themselves apart and repeatedly suggesting, in “Look at me! Look at me!” fashion how special and wise they are. In an op-ed titled "Extremist Democrats and Republicans threaten America's future", Senator Joe Manchin wrote at the USA Today earlier this week:

“Given the plague of issues we now confront, as well as the moment of history we find ourselves in, I sincerely believe there is no greater threat to the soul or success of America than those – from the extreme left and right – who seek to profit from these toxic political divisions that are tearing this nation apart.

“Being a Republican, Democrat or independent does not make you my enemy, nor should it define whom I can work with. The path to solving our nation’s biggest challenges does not lie in us screaming at each other, belittling the other or threatening those who may disagree with us.

“Some will argue that such a movement is doomed to fail or that two parties have too much power. Would you expect those who could lose their power over the political system they have broken to say anything else? While I can’t change them, I will continue doing everything I can to help build a commonsense movement that will usher in a new, more hopeful and optimistic era for American politics.”

Ain’t that special? If Joe actually did write these words, Manchin must’ve first studied under a beauty pageant advisor on how best to answer questions from judges during the portion of the program devoted to articulating positions rather than displaying the results of hours and hours in the gym and a natural gift for aesthetics. The only thing missing from Manchin’s soliloquy was the platitude, “I really want world peace, too.”

If I were given an assignment to say as little as possible while criticizing everyone else for the manner in which they conduct their jobs – in this case, serving in Congress – I would look to Manchin’s missive for examples of smooth-sounding nothingness. Political parties have power because they’re groups of individuals who collectively hold power. 50 senate votes are much more valuable than one, unless you happen to be in the unique position of being a deciding vote, as Manchin is today.

If Democrats held 55 or 56 votes – or Republicans did the same – then no one would be talking about Manchin except in the context of a non-influential boot licker who attached himself to either party on some issue. The same goes for Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins – and Mitt Romney – on the GOP side. They’re important only within the scope of the numbers game. Without a stalemate between the advocates, a “centrist” isn’t worth squat.

But I suppose we should give Manchin credit for milking his position for all it’s worth. In writing this, Manchin is one, keeping what little chance there is alive for winning reelection in West Virginia next year and two, also maintaining a slim hope that there will be some magic “centrist” groundswell for a third-party presidential run from himself or another “No Labels” loser like former Utah governor (and 2012 Republican presidential candidate) Jon Huntsman Jr.

Lots of self-labeled “moderates” sing the praises of Manchin and Huntsman, but what exactly does the “No Labels” party stand for? Is it for half of energy exploration? Half of the LGBTQIA+++ agenda? Checking IDs for half the voters at the voting booth? Allowing for half of abortions to be decided by a coin flip? Where’s the common ground?

In essence, while insisting his motivations are the complete opposite, Manchin and his ilk are acting as the ultimate opportunists, exploiting what he – and handfuls of John Kasich-like Never Trumpers, frustrated “Biden is too old” Democrats and a gaggle of “independents” who’ve never been able to make up their minds what they think about anything – sees as the opening while there are still cracks of sunlight.

It’s almost as though these line walkers are the least principled of all, since they’re the ones whose votes are (literally) for sale. In Manchin’s particular case, he’s made no secret that his support lies in the balance for the side that’s willing to give him everything – or most of what – he demands, frequently appearing on Sunday morning cable news shows to act as a conciliator between Republicans and Democrats who entrench themselves behind rhetorical fortifications.

With all the talk of “centrists” and “extremes”, it begs the question: How does one identify a “centrist” anyway? It’s never made much sense to me.

I once had a coworker/friend who hailed from Vermont and was seemingly proud of touting the fact he was “moderate” given the ideological divide that was “plaguing” the country (according to him, at least). I asked him to provide a definition of what a “moderate” believes, and somewhat predictably, he couldn’t offer a very satisfactory outline – or at least one that matched reality. The best he could concoct was to suggest that a “moderate” was neither Republican nor Democrat, and that such a breed of political animal finds friends and colleagues on both sides of the ideological realm. “Agree to disagree” in human relationship form.

When I probed further for more concrete answers by posing a number of individual issue queries, said friend almost certainly came down on the conservative end, with an innate suspicion of government power and overreach as well as a general preference for freedom to make one’s own business decisions and individual responsibility for paying for healthcare, living expenses, energy bills free from subsidies, etc.

Yet still he wouldn’t budge on the “moderate” label.

To me, “moderation” sounded a lot like conservatism. Finding that malleable center is harder than most people think. It kind of reminded me of my childhood days riding in the backseat of the family station wagon attempting to find Jesus. Mom used to tell us, correctly, that “Jesus is everywhere”, from which we’d ask if the Almighty was even found in between us kids in the small space. “Yes, of course,” from which we youngsters would proceed to scrunch as closely as we could towards each other, “squishing Jesus” in effect.

We couldn’t find the correct amount of room to allot the Lord and Savior, so he had to settle for whatever micro-inches existed between our mashed together elbows.

Americans are having an equally puzzling time figuring out where a “centrist” exists in politics, somehow positioned in between left and right -- and whether a “moderate” can even thrive in today’s tortured cultural and political landscape. The leftist “extreme” is easy to identify – all one needs to do is go to a movie cinema and force yourself to sit through a recent production chock full of “woke” distortions and other “feel good” nonsense that liberals force down the throats of good people stupid enough to pay to go to a theater.

But the right “extreme”, to me, looks just like traditional America. It’s the small business owner working twelve- hour days who struggles to keep the lights on and make a profit because of an overabundance of government regulation and a tax scheme specifically designed to punish productive people for having too much ambition and inventiveness. Or a parent who objects to suburban public school systems waging a “woke” war on normalcy, as though desiring to keep girls’ sports limited to natural born females is somehow discriminatory.

How would Joe Manchin and “No Labels” debate a cultural issue? Not everything boils down to being able to split hundred-billion dollar legislative bills down the middle. How, for example, would Manchin handle the proposed re-definition of “sex” and “gender” in Title IX? Or deal with his lifelong party’s lurch to the left on censoring speech?

The fact is, very few people who run for political office do so with the intention of splitting the loaf. Politicians get elected because they purportedly believe in something more than just making nice with everyone in the nation’s capital. Manchin could very well advance a “No Labels” set of non-ideas, but he wouldn’t get very far.

People from all across the ideological spectrum complain that there’s not enough substance in politics, not an excessive amount. Joe Biden based his argument on “unity” and “restoring the soul of the nation,” and look what it got us. The next time a politician like Joe Manchin speaks out on “No Labels” or excessive partisanship, he should be called on his hypocrisies.

  • Joe Biden economy

  • inflation

  • Biden cognitive decline

  • gas prices,

  • Nancy Pelosi

  • Biden senile

  • January 6 Committee

  • Liz Cheney

  • Build Back Better

  • Joe Manchin

  • RINOs

  • Marjorie Taylor Green

  • Kevin McCarthy

  • Mitch McConnell

  • 2022 elections

  • Donald Trump

  • 2024 presidential election

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1 Comment

James Bryson
James Bryson
Jul 27, 2023

How evil that a hollow, swamp-eel like Manchin could thrive in the senate. What an empty, posturing, self-serving FRAUD...maligning the good, and often desperate, West Virginians.

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