Joe Manchin Heading to Iowa to Tout His Bona Fides Is a Perfectly Normal Thing, Right?

I know a lot of folks want to talk about the Trump Town Hall and the glorious trainwreck that it was. Depending on your perspective, it was a trainwreck for CNN, for Trump, for Kaitlan Collins, or for literally anyone even tangentially related.


However, occasionally we have to remember that there is a world outside of Trump, and it, too, is constantly on fire. If we tear our eyes away from Saint Anselm, we see smoke billowing from Iowa, where the Democratic Party may have to go and fight a fire of their own.

Senator Joe Manchin found himself in Iowa for some reason this week and spent his time there talking to business and community leaders. In particular, he described himself as “fiscally responsible and socially compassionate,” which is a pretty good sign he’s thinking about running for some elected position that isn’t solely based in West Virginia.

Axios has the scoop this morning.

Why it matters: Iowa Democrats are furious with their national party for stripping their first-in-the-nation status on the presidential calendar. But Iowa voters still pride themselves on their ability — if not their right — to judge candidates up close and in-person.

  • Manchin played to that vanity, explaining his approach to leadership and legislation.
  • “I believe the government should be your partner. I’m not your provider,” he told approximately 170 members of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.
  • “When people say, ‘What’s your politics?’ I say I’m fiscally responsible and socially compassionate, which I think most Americans are,” he said in a 30-minute speech.

Now, this also comes at a time when Manchin is facing a tougher re-election bid in his home state than he’s ever faced before. His siding with the Democratic Party over West Virginia with the comically-named “Inflation Reduction Act” has cost him a lot of support in the otherwise deep red state back home. He’s since vowed to block every EPA candidate Biden puts forward, and he’s likely to just be a pain in the rear for the next year and a half, at least.

Axios did ask Manchin if he had any higher presidential ambitions, to which he answered “Honest to God, my main concern: How do we save this nation? How do we bring people together to protect the quality of life, the values that we’ve had that we were raised with? That’s all.”

So, yeah, that’s some good ol’ “I’m Running” rhetoric from a guy who… really has no business running. But, hey, if a foolish, old white guy wants to play spoiler to a more foolish and much older white guy in 2024, I’m not going to complain.

But, in all seriousness, Manchin taking a trip to Iowa is definitely a moment to undermine Biden, which seems to be his primary strategy for keeping his Senate seat. I doubt he’s actually looking to run for president, but he wants to screw over the current president just enough to remind West Virginia he’s more with them than he’s with Biden.


Good luck with all that, Senator. I don’t think many people are going to believe that, but the Republican Party (based on recent history) has not been doing a great job showing they can knock off vulnerable Democrats.


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