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Democracy and Power 107: Counting votes
Successful … politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies.
– Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), American Journalist and Author
A Democrat senator and former governor of West Virginia, Joe Manchin accused President Obama of feeble leadership concerning the most significant issue confronting America - cutting spending. CBS reports:
"Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations - our president - has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?" asked Manchin. "How does that make sense?"
He went on to say that "this debate will be decided when the president leads these tough negotiations. And, right now that's not happening."
"The bottom line is this - the president is the leader of this great nation, and when it comes to an issue of significant national importance, the president must lead. Not the majority leader or speaker, but the president," the West Virginia Democrat said. "He must sit down with leaders of both parties and help hammer out a real bipartisan compromise that moves our nation forward and establishes the priorities that represent our values and all hard-working families."
Senator Joe Manchin has counted the votes in West Virginia. President Obama is not popular because of his attack on the coal industry. Remember Manchin’s campaign commercial, where he fired a rifle at the President’s and Democrats’ cap-and-trade legislation: "take dead aim at the cap-and-trade bill, because it's bad for West Virginia."
Normally, such harsh language against the party leader would result in loss of an important committee assignment or withholding of caucus campaign contributions. However, probably no punishment will be forthcoming. Why? Manchin is up for election and is very vulnerable and the Democrats need every Senator, no matter how disrespectful, to maintain control of the Senate. The political party with the majority controls the legislation and the process. Democrats, at all cost, want to control their Senate majority. Manchin knows how to play the political game. So do President Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid.