The Problem with Joe Manchin’s Centrism
Last week, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced he would not seek reelection in 2024. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Manchin explained his reasons for leaving. He starts with a relatively noncontroversial assessment of the problems facing America—rising costs, dangerous drugs crossing the border, a large national debt, unsafe communities, and foreign wars that threaten to pull the United States in.
After some platitudes about these not being “Republican or Democratic challenges” but “American challenges,” Manchin concludes:
There are enough votes in Congress to solve or at least make headway against every one of these problems. A genuine commitment to legislating would put America on firmer footing for the next 20 years. But the Democratic and Republican machines have no interest in solutions. Instead, they stoke outrage because doing so brings them fame and funding.
For that reason, Manchin’s done with Congress. He now plans to travel the country to scope out interest in a movement to “mobilize the middle.”
The group has said Manchin’s announcement took them by surprise, but Manchin has a close relationship with No Labels, and his op-ed struck all the same chords as the group’s so-called common sense agenda.
Centrists like Manchin and No Labels can sound reasonable because they often cite the most pressing problems facing Americans and point out that Congress is entirely unable or unwilling to solve them. That’s all true. But things start falling apart when they try to explain how we got here and the way out.
As Manchin sees it, the American people are unified in their values and beliefs but unfortunately Congress has been taken over by two “extremes” that shun the wants and needs of the American
Article from Mises Wire
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