November 07, 2014

Manchin Policy About to Pay Off | Wheeling Intelligencer

Few Democrats had any reason to smile this week. By the hundreds throughout the country, they were thrown out of office. Here in West Virginia, their party lost control of both houses of the Legislature. In Washington, Republicans improved their majority in the House of Representatives and seized command of the Senate.

So not many Democrats had any reason for optimism or cheerfulness this week.

Except for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

No doubt Manchin was as perturbed as any Democrat at the many losses his party suffered on Tuesday. He makes no secret of being a staunch supporter of his party.

But he has cultivated a reputation of bipartisanship - of being willing to listen to Republicans and, when he thinks doing so is good for West Virginia, to work with them.

Manchin is the kind of pragmatic, centrist Democrat who went out of style among many party leaders, including President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Their preference is for Democrats who toe the party line without pause or question.

While governor of West Virginia, Manchin prided himself on being able to work with both Republicans and Democrats. He carried that through to the U.S. Senate.

Now it will serve him well. Republicans who will control the Senate have no scores to settle with him. They have no reason to taunt him that now, the shoe is on the other foot.

Of course, every senator ought to have Manchin's attitude - that he or she is in Washington to serve the nation and their state, not just their political party. For several years that attitude has been out of vogue, in favor of fierce, unyielding partisanship.

Then, Manchin did not fit in. Now, suddenly, he does, in a way. His attitude of public service above politics will serve him, our state and the nation well during the next few years.