Sen. Joe Manchin skipped today's important votes on the DREAM Act and on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Why? Well, according to his office, he was celebrating Christmas a week early with his family.
Manchin, you might recall, is the state's former governor who last month won a special election to replace Robert Byrd. He was the only Democratic senator to not vote today. But he made his (tortured) opinion known (full report from Washington Post here) about the DREAM Act, saying:
I strongly believe the DREAM Act should require the completion of a degree. As currently written, the legislation does not.
And when it comes to Don't Ask, Don't Tell...well, maybe it's best to say don't ask:
...while I believe the DADT policy will be repealed, and probably should be repealed in the near future, I cannot support a repeal of the policy at this time....In other words, I want to cover my political (ahem) and not be labeled a "liberal" in an otherwise conservative state especially because I am up for re-election for a full six-year term in less than two years. So I'll announce that a family party takes precedence over the public's business.
Sen. Manchin ought to consider firing whomever is giving him political advice, and he might want to also consider a very public forum to admit he made a terrible mistake not voting today.