The PJ Tatler

Manchin: Senate Could Have 'Serious Problems' After Losing the Moderates

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is lamenting the loss of moderates in the Senate Democratic caucus, but said he’s not switching parties.

Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) were defeated Tuesday, and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is more than 8,000 votes behind with all precincts reporting but has not conceded. All were among the most moderate Dems as ranked by their votes.

“We lost the middle, and that’s the moderates. And I said, you know, you need moderates whether they be Democrats or Republicans because they’ll always try to find the solutions, and they will always move forward,” Manchin told NPR yesterday.

“When you lose the moderation, then you’ve got serious problems about getting anything solved, so that does bother me and worry me. But you know what? The people have spoken. We’ve just got to see now if we’re able to work together. And they know – I think all the Republicans know that they can sure reach out to me, and I’m right there, and I’ll be still reaching out to them, and I don’t follow the party lines.”

The senator said he’s not becoming a Republican.

“I’m a moderate Democrat. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat, which is a moderate. I am fiscally responsibly. I am socially compassionate. And I think that’s where most of America is. I know it’s where most West Virginians are,” he said.

Voters selected Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

Manchin was asked if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should be faulted for the gridlock in the upper chamber.

“I think he’s a good person, and I think Harry was well intended. It’s like a father looking over an adolescent child. You’re afraid as they grow and develop they might get hurt or exposed to things that you think may harm them,” Manchin said. “What Harry didn’t figure out is that this is a rough-and-tumble sport. We all got here the hard way, and we’re not adolescents anymore. These are grown adults making decisions. And I thought it was wrong, and I respectfully told Harry, let us vote, Harry.”

“It’s easier for me to go back to West Virginia, tell you what I voted for or voted against, and if I made a mistake, I can say I’m sorry. I can fix that. That’s a lot easier than going home and saying why I didn’t vote at all and why we’re not doing anything.”

Manchin also said Dems need to recognize Tuesday for what it was: “a national wave.”

“I can’t camouflage it – can’t cover it up. It is what it is,” he said. “And it was a lack of leadership from the White House that people just didn’t have confidence and faith. And it just spilled over as a national wave across.”

“It would have been different if it had happened in one state and not the others …This went across the board – 50 states, almost,” he added.