Aided by human intervention, nature can produce some strange hybrid creatures, like the liger (a lion bred with a tiger) or the zorse (a zebra bred with a horse). Worth noting about the zorse is that they can be difficult to handle and very strong—which is an apt description for another type of hybrid creature, this one living in the zoo of American politics: the conservative Democrat—like Joe Manchin, the oddball U.S. senator from West Virginia. He’s classified as a Democrat, but he’s covered in Republican stripes and known to be extremely muleheaded and difficult to handle. In fact, Mitch McConnell just outright invited Manchin to join the Republican Party, stating that he would be “more comfortable.”
Case in point: In December Manchin lodged his big red-striped butt in the doorway to the Democrats’ Build Back Better (BBB) bill, effectively making it DOA. With the Senate split 50-50, all it takes is one disloyal Democrat to vote no and kill a bill supported by the other 49 Democratic senators. This is not the first time Manchin has linked arms with Republicans to rain on the Democrats’ parade. During the Trump Administration, he racked up a roughly 50-50 record—half of the time he voted with his fellow Democrats and half of the time with the GOP. A true hybrid creature, although sometimes he seems more like a schizophrenic coal-mining boss.
His ad campaign for the late Robert Byrd’s Senate seat in 2010 featured Manchin loading a rifle and shooting holes in a Cap and Trade bill while promising to “take on Washington and this [Obama] administration to get the federal government off our backs”—the stock theme song of the GOP. He went on to oppose Obama’s clean energy policies, especially reductions in coal mining, voted to defund Planned Parenthood and to ban abortions after 20 weeks. But he later urged Trump not to appoint a Justice to the Supreme Court who might overturn Roe v. Wade. In 2012 he would not endorse Obama for reelection. He’s such a fence-straddler on so many issues, it’s a wonder the splinters in his groin haven’t festered and made him impotent.