GOP Ad Says Sen. Joe Manchin (D-Hell No) Owns a ‘Luxury Yacht’. Is That Right?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Axios Sneak Peek, when I came across this item by Josh Kraushaar.

The NRSC [National Republican Senatorial Committee] is out with a new direct mail and digital ad campaign portraying Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) as a Davos-trekking elitist, firing the first of many shots to come ahead of a potential re-election campaign . . .

Why it matters: Manchin, who hasn’t announced what he plans to do in 2024, is the only Democrat who can realistically hold a Senate seat in one of the most conservative states in the country.

The ad also says Manchin drives a Maserati and owns a $700,000 luxury yacht.

Is that why the boat’s named “Almost Heaven”?

– Almost Heavin’

Dear Ms. Heavin’,

Republicans would like nothing better than to hound Joe Manchin into retirement, since they’re desperate for his Senate seat.

Here’s the ad they hope will facilitate his exit, and please enjoy the narrator’s British accent, which is supposed to echo the voice of Robin Leach, late of the venerable Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Let’s do some fact-checking, shall we?

• For starters, it’s true that Manchin attended the World Economic Forum in Davos this month, a turn on the big stage that was largely notable for the high-five he shared with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Me Mine) over preserving  the Senate filibuster – something we thought  the NRSC [checks notes]  would totally dig. Guess not.

• It’s also true that Manchin owns a Maserati, for which he’s previously taken grief from climate change activists and Brian Williams. But isn’t owning a luxury car part of the American dream, which we thought Republicans [checks notes] have always touted? Guess not.

• It is not true that Manchin owns a “$700,000 D.C. luxury yacht,” as Andrew Beaujon noted two years ago in Washingtonian.

It’s not a yacht. Republicans tried to paint Manchin as yacht-owning “Washington Joe” during his 2018 reelection campaign. Mmmm, not quite: “The vessel is listed as ‘recreational’ on documents,” PolitiFact wrote in a fact-check. “However, a less confrontational—but similarly accurate—description could be ‘houseboat,’ since it is Manchin’s residence in Washington.”

P.S. The source the NRSC cites for the “luxury yacht” designation – 100 Days in Appalachia – is a known right-wing propaganda machine.

• Finally, the NRSC spot proclaims that “Life is very good for Democrat Joe Manchin while West Virginians get stuck with higher prices, smaller paychecks, and open borders . . . Tell Maserati Manchin it’s time to stand up for West Virginians.”

Not to get technical about it, but check out this graphic from Jonathan V. Last’s Triad newsletter at The Bulwark.

See that deep blue blotch straddling Virginia and Kentucky? That’s blood-red West Virginia, baby!  The Mountain State gets back $3.09 for every tax dollar it ponies up to the feds.

If you don’t think Joe Manchin has had a lot to do with that, you just haven’t been paying attention.

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