Conservatives view Joe Manchin as an untrustworthy flip-flopper. Liberals see him as a roadblock on their path to Woketopia. But for President Joe Biden, Manchin might be something else — a much-needed excuse.

Every party needs a pooper, right? Well, Manchin might be the buzzkill the Democrats’ out-of-control shindig needs. Unlike ‘Lunch Bucket’ Joe, who has killed thousands of Keystone XL Pipeline jobs and proposed trillions of dollars in spending, Manchin is in-tune with the average American.

That isn’t saying much. Joe Biden has spent more time conversing with the members of the Squad and answering questions from YouTube influencers than he has spent reaching out to Republicans. In 2021, it is easier for a politician to fall fully in-line with their respective party.

Manchin’s middle-man persona comes with huge responsibility. A change of heart from the senator could result in vastly altered futures for America’s democracy, not to mention very different outcomes for Manchin’s career. The voters of West Virginia aren’t keen on their elected officials abandoning common sense. In other parts of the country, it would be easier for a politician like Manchin to lose touch with regular people. In deep blue states, the further left you travel, the more secure your job becomes.

Which explains why Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts can usually be found in front of news cameras waxing poetic about the Green New Deal. But when you represent constituents who aren’t wowed by the prospect of eliminating mining, cow farts or airplane travel, you have to stay a bit more grounded. Moderate voters in America aren’t buying into some of these radical changes championed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Take for example HR-1, also known as the ‘For the People Act’. The bill is a power grab that would overhaul US election law by implementing drastic changes to voter ID requirements, early voting and absentee ballots. It is a dangerous idea and Manchin knows it.  He is also feeling a tremendous amount of pressure from power-hungry progressives who are used to getting what they want.

The blue checkmarks on Twitter and political experts such as, er, Cher, have been very open about their disdain for Joe Manchin. MSNBC’s disgraced Brian Williams accused Manchin of living in a world of ‘his own making and his own imagination.’ That’s rich considering The Talented Mr Williams’s reputation. Williams’s colleague Joy Reid complained that Manchin was chasing a mythical bipartisan beast. But those voices, though they may be the loudest and the shrillest, are not the ones that matter to Manchin.

The West Virginians who can either vote Joe Manchin in for another term in 2024 or kick him out aren’t basing their decisions on a slew of negative headlines in the New Republic. Sen. Joe Manchin might not win ‘most popular’ in his rowdy class of flashy Democrats, but he has a chance of winning ‘most likely to succeed’ if he plays his cards right. Joe Biden can huff and puff about (his good friend) Manchin standing in the way of ‘change’ and ‘progress’ but we all know the Gatorade-guzzling 78-year-old would likely feel relieved if Manchin foiled ‘his’ plans.

That might be because they are in fact good friends. Manchin regards Biden as one the best people in politics and their wives are close. In the deceptive world of public life, sometimes your best allies are the ones you can pretend to fall out with.