The growing chorus of Democrats who oppose extending only the middle class Bush tax cuts just got a bit louder. West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, who is seeking the Senate seat long held by the late Robert C. Byrd, just told Fox emphatically, "I wouldn't raise any taxes."
The popular Democratic governor, once thought to be a shoo-in, is facing more of a challenge from independently wealthy Republican businessman John Raese in this volatile midterm election year, particularly with President Obama's very low approval ratings in the Mountain State. Political experts have said that if this becomes a national wave election, Manchin could get crushed, almost through no fault of his own.
And Manchin is anxious to get out the message that he will buck his party when he thinks it's good for his state, that he is not a "Washington Democrat" and has no intention of becoming one.
Outside a rally in support of coal, just steps from the Capitol, Manchin criticized the White House and the Democratic leadership's approach to energy policy, as well, saying there is too much regulation from a Washington that is out of touch.
And on those tax cuts, Manchin added, "Whatever side you might be on, whether I think you're too rich, or you think someone's too poor, whatever it may be... and you think well you can afford it but you can't, the bottom line is, until you can run the government as efficiently and as effectively, and you start paying attention to the debt that this nation is carrying and you're passing on - until you you really get serious about that - I wouldn't (raise taxes)."