19 December 2010

Manchin Votes With His Feet

During a rare Saturday Lame Duck session, the Senate voted on major legislation in the DREAM Act and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) bills.  But there were a couple of Democrats missing from the votes.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) was absent as he was being treated for late stage prostate cancer at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.    But newly elected Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was also conspicuously absent for the DREAM Act and DADT votes.  Manchin’s office noted that he could not miss a family Christmas gathering.   Really?  Deceased Senator Robert Byrd may be spinning in his grave for this lack of respect for Senate responsibilities.

Manchin was on the public record opposing having homosexuals serving in the military.  Manchin’s press secretary indicated that he also would have been opposed to the DREAM Act.  But when the time came to officially go on the record, Manchin voted with his feet to not be counted.

Manchin’s votes would not have changed things as the DREAM Act failed to break cloture and the DADT cloture vote was 63 to 33.  But not going on the record for these controversial subjects might be an attempt to endear himself with the Democrat leadership.  Moreover, Manchin might be trying to be a chameleon to his Mountain State constituents.

Despite being a very popular Democrat Governor, Manchin had a significant challenge in the Special Election from an unknown Republican outsider John Raese.  This profile in cowardice is contrary to the Dead Aim image that Manchin cultivated during the campaign. Will a trending Red state have a long memory like an elephant?  Time will tell as Manchin will have again to face the voters in November, 2012.

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