August 19, 2011

Manchin Attitude Tough, Yet Realistic | The Wheeling Intelligencer

If you are angering ultra-partisans on both sides of an issue, you're probably doing something right. By the same token, if you're making those on both sides take note of unproductive extremes, you're definitely doing something right.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. admonished hardliners on the left and right to work harder to "come together in the middle," when he spoke in Wheeling on Tuesday. He reminded listeners the mess in Washington, D.C., isn't a red or blue problem, but a "red, white and blue problem."

Too many politicians waste a great deal of effort working to stymie those they view as opponents when they should be trying to come to a consensus with colleagues. Worse, they play the blame game at every turn - and stretch it as far into the past as they think they can get away with.

Manchin's attempt to remind his fellow politicians that past elected officials were "all good, true Americans" who tried their best to solve the problems with which they were faced, is a welcome turn from the venom spewed by many politicians clamoring for a sound bite today. His straightforward reminder, "If it didn't work out, fix it," is a mantra that should be taped to every desk in D.C.

Don't mistake Manchin's tone for softness, however. He demonstrated a willingness to point out unpleasant truths when he said this country's economic woes aren't as simple as throwing money at the creation of enough jobs to employ every able-bodied American. "We've got people who don't want to work," he noted.

No matter whether you view Manchin's rhetoric as a political act or a genuine desire to find a middle ground and get some work done in Washington, his words are a move toward reality that should be heeded by politicians on all sides, and at all levels of government.

By:  Editorial