U. S. Senate podium (photo: scecon via Flickr)

Joe Manchin is an epic disappointment already.  He was the only Democratic senator to vote no on a DADT repeal earlier in the month, and then refused to even show his face for the vote on Saturday for the DREAM Act and DADT.  SO what pressing engagement had him so tied up that he couldn’t muster an appearance during one of the biggest voting days this Congress has seen thus far?

A Christmas Party, of course!

Manchin spokesman Sara Payne Scarbro elaborated to the Charleston Gazette in an email, saying that he and his wife “planned a holiday gathering over a year ago with all their children and grandchildren as they will not all be together on Christmas Day.”

“While he regrets missing the votes, it was a family obligation that he just could not break,” Scarbro said. “However, he has been clear on where he stands on the issues.”

Source: TPM

I’m a little embarrassed to call Manchin my senator right now.  The fact that he skipped out on clearly the most important vote since he has taken office is sad.  It doesn’t bode well for his future in the Senate either.  Thankfully he’s up for election in 2012; I’d like to see Secretary of State Natalie Tennant give him a run for his money then.

Manchin has pissed off the unions too.  In West Virginia, if you’re a Democrat, unions play a vital role in your political life.  If Manchin loses the union vote he can rest assured that his tenure as a United States Senator will not last very long at all.  . . .

Statement by: West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue Regarding Sen. Joe Manchin’s Absence during Critical Votes

“Great Senators make difficult decisions and they display courage and leadership in the face of adversity.  The late Robert C. Byrd personified these qualities.  Unfortunately Senator Joe Manchin isn’t demonstrating characteristics of a great Senator during his first month in office.  Avoiding key votes on the DREAM Immigration Act and the repeal of the military “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, issues central not only to the citizens of West Virginia, but to our nation, isn’t just a bad political maneuver, it is ineffective representation and leadership.

Senator Joe Manchin took an oath to be a voice for the great state of West Virginia in the U.S. Senate.  It’s a job that encompasses voting on important issues, not avoiding work on the days tough issues are decided.  Experience is gained not by sidestepping responsibilities but by commitment, steadfast study and, yes at times, personal sacrifice.  It is hoped Senator Manchin will soon begin to display the political integrity and courage West Virginians expect in their Senators and take a page from the late great Senator Robert C. Byrd who never lacked for courage or leadership on the U.S. Senate floor.”

Perdue is president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, a group of more than 550 unions.

Source: WVaBlue

I voted for Manchin as an alternative to John Raese, his batshit crazy Republican opponent in the mid-term election.  Manchin is thus far a disappointment.