Joe Manchin on DADT: Welcome to the World of Talking Out of Both Ends

Joe Manchin Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters after voting against a procedural vote on an authorization bill on Capitol Hill December 9, 2010 in Washington, DC.  The US Senate was not able to get a 60 vote super majority necessary to move along a defense authorization bill that included language to repeal the US military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy that prohibits gay service members from openly serving.

(December 8, 2010 - Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images North America)


West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) took some of his first baby steps Thursday as a United States Senator and did so by following in the “footsteps” of many great politicians who came before him by being against something and then finding away to be in favor of it immediately thereafter. The neophyte senator voted with Republicans in blocking cloture on a defense authorization bill that also included language that would repeal the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Then, before the dust had settled, he offered an apology to those he undoubtedly angered with his vote, and said that he believed DADT “probably should be repealed in the near future.”

So what brought on this change of heart or seemingly conflicting words and actions you ask? Why politics of course. See, Joe Manchin is an “interim” senator serving out the term of the late Robert Byrd. He has to run for re-election in 2012. He says he’s only been in office for three weeks and has “not had the opportunity to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia.” That’s politician-speak for I have to cover my arse here…

But wait. Wasn’t this guy the Governor of West Virginia for the last five years? All that time and he still doesn’t know the “full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia? Are you kidding me?

In fairness, I have stated many times that governing, and legislating for that matter, is dramatically different at the state level than it is at the federal level. The issues are different and positions on said issues are likely different because of respective views on the powers shared between the state and federal governments. I get that. In fact, I support that.

That said, how in the world does this guy not know the “full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia?” I could understand if he faced an ideological dilemma derivative of differing viewpoints regarding sexuality at the state and federal levels, but that is not at all what he was saying here. He wasn’t stating for clarification that his position on an issue like this is different when viewed through the prism of the role of the federal government, he was simply stating that he has not had the time necessary to gauge the collective position of his constituents.

Such a claim being absolutely ridiculous must lead one to assume that the Junior Senator from West Virginia has already gone native. He’s been there three weeks and he’s already talking like he’s been there three years. Its funny how quickly this sort of thing can happen; especially funny when one thinks about how quickly he forgot the “full range of viewpoints” of the citizens of West Virginia – who he served proudly for the last five years.

Another one bites the dust. Set aside your position on DADT and this cloture vote. You have to be disgusted by how quickly that town turns people inside out and upside down.

From The Hill: He also suggested that President Obama should just leave the Senate out of the equation and take it upon himself to stop the policy, noting in his statement that some believe it’s within Obama’s power to suspend the military discharges “if he deems it a matter of national security.”

“If this is correct, and the President was to make such an order, while I may disagree with it, I would respect his authority as President to do so,” Manchin said in the statement.

Manchin won a special election last month to fill the seat of the late-Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and will have to run for a full term in 2012, when he is likely to be a top Republican target.

Discussion over at Memeorandum.

(Editor's note: T. Christopher is a writer, thinker and up-and-coming figure in redefining the limited government movement. He blogs at Republican Redefined)

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