May 9, 2017

Joe Manchin’s Planned Parenthood Pandering Exposed

It’s tough out there for a red state Senate Democrat, especially those up for re-election in 2018. The “grassroots” activists are demanding absolute fealty to their extreme, far left views, while voters back home are wary of anything liberals like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are pushing. Recently, Senator Joe Manchin’s different signals on Planned Parenthood have illustrated the damage these competing pressures can do.

Abortion politics is an especially tricky subject because liberal activists have taken a zero-tolerance policy on Democrats who have any pro-life leanings. This has put Manchin in a tight spot given his votes on all sides of the issue. In 2015, Manchin joined Republicans on a vote to defund the abortion group, yet this year Manchin flip-flopped and voted against a similar measure.

Manchin’s attempt to have it both ways was best encapsulated by Axios when they pointed out that the West Virginia senator has taken pictures with both pro-Planned Parenthood and anti-Planned Parenthood people in less than a month:

“The one with the pink sign was taken less than a month ago. The one with the black sign was taken last Thursday and given to us by the anti-abortion activist who met privately with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Together, these pictures reflect the tightrope Manchin is walking as a Democratic Senator in a deep red state, who says he’s personally anti-abortion but has voted both for and against defunding Planned Parenthood.”

Manchin’s inauthentic posturing has caught the attention of West Virginia liberals. Recently, Paula Swearingen, the daughter of a West Virginia coal miner, announced she was going to challenge Manchin in the Democratic primary next year. Swearingen is being promoted by Bernie Sanders ally Cenk Uygur, demonstrating once again that the Sanders-Clinton divide is alive and well in the Democratic Party. It’s no wonder Manchin wants to have it both ways on such a politically tough issue.