Sen. Joe Manchin is the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. But he may not be planning on staying there too long.
Manchin, who served one full term as West Virginia’s governor before leaving for the Senate in 2010, appears to be eyeing his former office or another office for 2016 — two years before his term as senator is up.
“Senator Manchin loved being governor of West Virginia, and has made no secret of his frustration with the partisan gridlock and dysfunction of Washington,” a Manchin spokesman told The Charleston Gazette on Thursday. “He is fully committed to his job as senator and fights every day to improve the lives of the people he is honored to represent.”
“Senator Manchin is leaving all his options open for 2016, and will continue to look for the best way to bring common sense to Washington,” the spokesman continued.
Greenwire has also reported there are “rumors” of Manchin switching parties, but a Manchin spokesman threw cold water on that notion. “I have never heard him mention that,” Jonathan Kott, Manchin’s communications director, told National Journal. “And his public answers have been pretty definitive.”
If Manchin were to leave the Democratic caucus for some reason, it would be in line with his nonpartisan philosophy. A lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who’d enjoyed an “A” rating from the guns-rights group for years, Manchin made headlines (and enemies) by coming out in support of gun-control reforms after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Along with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Manchin introduced a bill that would have required background checks on all commercial gun sales. Last April, the Manchin-Toomey amendment failed to advance in the Senate by six votes. But the two senators have recently teamed up again to promote a bill that would require schools that receive federal funding to perform background checks on all their employees.
Since introducing the gun legislation, Manchin has fallen from the NRA’s good graces. In West Virginia, the group spent $100,000 in advertising against Manchin’s gun-control proposals. He’s also attracted a more literal sort of enemy. Last month, a West Virginia man was arrested for making multiple death threats against Manchin and his family.
Manchin’s come a long way from being known as the candidate who famously shot a copy of the cap-and-trade bill in a campaign ad. Now, he might be taking aim at loftier targets.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”