(June 27) Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia showed again Sunday morning that when it comes to economic issues, he isn’t really the moderate he claims to be, but rather an old-school liberal.

Republicans counting on him on anything other than gun rights (for), abortion (against), or support for fossil fuels (for) are using some sort of broken abacus.

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Manchin fielded questions from co-anchor Jonathan Karl. After Manchin sang the praises of the nascent bipartisan deal on so-called “infrastructure” spending, the whole extravagant $1.2 trillion of it, Karl asked him about controversial comments from President Joe Biden (since muddied by semi-conflicting statements), Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and leftist Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Those three Democrats and others have said they will not support even this expensive spending package unless another, separate package with even more social spending also reaches the president’s desk.

Manchin’s answer sounded far more like that of a New Deal liberal than like a centrist of the 1990s “blue dog” variety. Responding expressly to a clip from Warren (but using the plural “they” to indicate he was speaking more broadly of congressional “progressives”), Manchin said, “We have two tracks. And that’s exactly what I believe is going to happen. And we’ve worked on the one track. We’re going to work on the second track. There’s an awful lot of need. And everything they talked about is something that we need.”

He said “everything.” Even allowing that sometimes an interviewee unintentionally overstates things when speaking somewhat generically, Manchin clearly was embracing the “more is better” approach when considering federal largesse. Karl repeatedly gave Manchin follow-up opportunities to walk back his seeming embrace of the Warren wing of the party, but Manchin wouldn’t….

(The rest of this column is at this link.]


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