Paula Jean Swearengin, 2018, JOE discussed on The Takeaway

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Politics. Joining me now is Dave Missed Ege, Senior reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Dave. Welcome to the takeaway. Good to be here. So I just characterized Senator Manchin is a little bit of a honey badger doing what it is. He wants to do being independent. But what does he in fact care about? I'm sure he cares about something. I mean, I think genuinely, he does care about the state of West Virginia. I mean, I I think that if you if you talk to talk to Joe, uh, Senator Manchin, you'll hear oftentimes I'm saying that You know, uh, he, uh, if there's a vote in in in Washington, he has to come back to West Virginia and explain the reasons for voting for it to his constituents. And I think that You hear that? Time and time and time again from him. Um, And while I think you know his voting record upsets a lot of people, including A lot of progressives here. Um, and even some, sometimes, you know, people in the middle here, um, you know, he He really genuinely does believe that he has to has to justify every vote that he that he takes here to the people. I feel it can be tempting, especially for maybe national observers and commentators to describe mansion is really lacking anything in common with Democrats, but that does feel and to see your insincere to me. I want to take a moment and listen to him talking back in March about the minimum wage on this week. President Joe Biden knows how to get a deal done, and the bottom line is there is not one Senator Olive 100. It doesn't want to raise the minimum wage. 7 25 is sinfully low. We must raise it. I agree with President Biden when he says, If you go to work every day, you should be above the poverty guidelines. Well, the poverty guidelines to be above that if you're going to work and working full time should be at $11 base. That should be your base. And then we index it with inflation. To make sure it never gets back in this political conundrum we have right now. It shouldn't be a political football. So there's a senator making a case for raising the minimum wage. But he's also making a case that kind of $15 an hour is untenable. So so is this about like mansion lacking political courage, or is it that everyone else is sort of lacking? Good political sense? Don't know. I mean, I think one way that Joe mentioned can be could be described at least, um, you know, in his own way of thinking is is that he tries to be pragmatic about everything. Um, I think that clip right there. Examples the way that Joe that Senator mansion. I guess it tries to, um Tries to hedge between two different sides and try to tries to find the middle between two different arguments. So I think that you know, that's just one example of many that you'd hear from him. So, Dave. I kind of love that. It's almost hard for you to keep calling him Senator Manchin that you slip into Joe because that suggests to me that he must be sort of. You know, I live near West Virginia, but not in West Virginia. It suggested he might be kind of a friendly guy. A pleasant person to be around is that part of his charm relative to you know the huge margins by which he is reelected regularly. Right. Well, I mean, I think that you know, and I've been trying to catch myself as a matter of respect her and I'm glad you pointed that out, but, uh, yeah. I mean, I think that you know, the senator is very personable. I think he's really approachable. Um You know, I think And you you mentioned these these large margins. I think it's it's important to point out that in 2018, you know, he had a primary challenger and Paula Jean Swearengin. Very progressive candidate who want to 0.30% of the vote. And I think that for a lot of people here in the state that was a moment where people realize that Maybe he wasn't able to be taken down in his in his seat. But there was definitely a realization that there was a movement. Um I guess in a direction other than him, maybe even against him so Um, you know when, when when people talk about? You know, uh, you know, Senator Manchin security in Washington and in the Senate. I think that you know, that's a That's a very complicated answer. And maybe not sort of a yes or no, whether or not he's saved. I'm wondering about this difference that we hear between kind of pragmatic, bipartisan reach across the aisle Senator mansion in the way that he self describes versus Senator Mitch McConnell saying, Look, 100% of our people are together and we are all trying to stop. Biden agenda from moving forward. Again. Does that suggest that that mentioned really is pragmatic or is he sort of not realizing the Senate that he's currently part of as opposed to, you know, maybe a Senate that operated differently 20 or 30 or 40 years ago? Well, I'm not so sure about that. I mean, again, back to the back to the beginning. It's like, you know, I said that you know, Senator Manchin has to come back and justify everything to the people of West Virginia. And I think It's important to realize that he is the only, you know. Statewide Democrat in the state. As of now, I mean West Virginia's extremely red state at this point and and leans conservative on most issues. And I think that you know, Senator Manchin has always kept in mind. Um you know what? What The will of Of West Virginia has been like, um, and the way that his constituency is leaned, Um That's not to say that, you know, he's voted, uh, counter to that at all or encounter, too. You know, a wider group of Democrats and their priorities, But I think it's important to keep in mind the way that the state looks here in West Virginia, Um And I think that you know, with all this national media attention on Senator mansion at this point, there's a lot of people that I see either on Twitter or I talked to in person, and they're kind of flabbergasted by the you know the amount of attention all this is getting because mansion Has always been a character to, um, to sort of complicate things or or to run counter to what most people would expect, you know, just given his political affiliation So I'm just wondering for West Virginians if it's also surprising to find yourselves as the fulcrum state, the focus of so much national attention. Yes, I mean, I think that you know, and I'll speak for you know other other reporters here. I mean, I think a lot of us feel like we're the The Joe Mansion whisperers when, when, at the same time. It's It's, uh, You know, it's not, um it's not as as complicated to people here as it is to the to the national media. But at the same time, that's not to say that there's not a lot of people here that are fascinated by the amount of power that he's wielded in the The effect that he's had on on.

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