Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) listens during a business meeting with the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 20, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The senator from West Virginia makes a big show of demanding rationality but seems unwilling to follow through.




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A
s the debate over the Democratic Party’s ever-preposterous spending plans has waxed and waned, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key player in the process, has developed an increasingly infuriating habit of speaking in one way and acting in quite another. At some point, Manchin will have a decision to make: Is he the plucky guy depicted in his press releases, or is he a garden-variety go-along-get-alonger who talks a good game in a gaggle but lacks the spine and inclination to follow through on his own rhetoric?

If one were to focus solely on Manchin’s predetermined pronouncements, one would

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