Following the news in the Kavanaugh confirmation battle today, I see that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has carved a distinguished profile in cowardice. That is hard to do. Manchin nevertheless saw the opportunity and seized it. He would have voted against Judge Kavanaugh if necessary but preferred to vote in favor of confirmation for obvious reasons of political expediency. Manchin squared the circle by withholding his vote until he could cast his unneeded (i.e., not decisive) vote in favor of cloture on the Kavanaugh confirmation vote this morning.
Now Manchin has just announced that he will vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation tomorrow, but only after Susan Collins took to the floor of the Senate to announce her vote in favor of Judge Kavanaugh this afternoon, again making Manchin’s vote unneeded. Coincidentally, the substance of Senator Collins’s speech was detailed, correct, savvy, courageous and otherwise excellent.
Senator Manchin must have a low opinion of West Virginia voters if he thinks they cannot see through this masquerade. I should think it’s getting old for them.
I believe that Manchin is the kind of politician Churchill had in mind when he expressed disapproval of Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald: “I remember when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum’s Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as ‘The Boneless Wonder.’ My parents judged that the spectacle would be too demoralizing and revolting for my youthful eye and I have waited fifty years, to see the The Boneless Wonder sitting on the Treasury Bench.“