James Taranto has an intriguing idea:
It’s little wonder [Joe] Manchin would be eager to distance himself from the Obama agenda. The new PPP poll finds “Obama’s approval rating in the state is only 31% with 65% of voters disapproving, the worst numbers PPP has found for him anywhere in the country this year.”
[Robert] Byrd was last elected in 2006, which means the term Manchin seeks to fill will expire in just two years. The prospect of sharing a ballot with Obama would make it all the more imperative for a Sen. Manchin to distance himself from a president his constituents disfavor.
What better way to do that than by switching to Republican? True, that might draw a GOP primary challenge, and like Nelson, Manchin would be hard-pressed to explain his past support for ObamaCare. But Manchin’s support, unlike Nelson’s, was of no consequence, since he was not in Congress at the time. And having Obama on the ballot in 2012 might make it even harder than this year for Manchin to beat a Republican in November. Switching parties would spare him that difficulty.