Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military

Senator Joe Manchin Explains Vote On DADT Repeal, Is Booed At Rally

Freshman Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), the only Senate Democrat to vote against the repeal of DADT, explained why he voted the way he did on Thursday. According to him, it's all "an issue of timing." 

"While I believe the 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy will be repealed someday, and probably should be repealed in the near future, I do not support its repeal at this time," Manchin said in the statement. "I truly understand that my position will anger those who believe repeal should happen now and for that I sincerely apologize. While I am very sympathetic to those who passionately support the repeal, as a Senator of just three weeks, I have not had the opportunity to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia."

Gay rights activists are fuming, and rightfully so. According to Politico, crowds booed at the mere mention of Manchin's name during a rally on Capital Hill yesterday. Some West Virginians who were in attendance gladly described their "viewpoints" to the Senator.

"I was disappointed yesterday in Senator Joe Manchin from the state of West Virginia,” said former Army Sgt. Pepe Johnson, a Clarksburg, W. Va., native who was discharged under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. “I was embarrassed because Joe Manchin decided to be a lone ranger and vote against the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, saying he’d only been in office for three weeks, said he didn’t have a chance to hear from the people of West Virginia.

“Well, Joe Manchin, if you can’t hear me now, you better get a hearing aid.”

West Virginia Army National Guard Sgt. Jared Towner, 31, who served three tours of duty in Iraq and is straight, said continued opposition to repeal could cost Manchin the youth vote in two years.

“We are the people that are going to be there, or the people who are not going to be there in 2012” when Manchin faces reelection, said Towner, who lives in Parkersburg. “We fought valiantly for you, senator. We fought valiantly for you. And now it’s time for you to fight valiantly for us.”

As Andy reported yesterday, Joe Lieberman introduced a new bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" on Friday.

Read the Senator Manchin's full statement, AFTER THE JUMP.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sen. Joe Manchin today released the following statement regarding his decision to not support the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:
“While I believe the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy will be repealed someday, and probably should be repealed in the near future, I do not support its repeal at this time. I truly understand that my position will anger those who believe repeal should happen now and for that I sincerely apologize. While I am very sympathetic to those who passionately support the repeal, as a Senator of just three weeks, I have not had the opportunity to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia.
“I would like to make clear that my concern is not with the idea of repealing DADT, but rather an issue of timing. My concerns, as highlighted in the recent defense survey and through the testimony of the service chiefs, are with the effect implementation of the repeal would have on our front line combat troops at this time.
“Furthermore, while I may disagree with a repeal of DADT at this time, some believe that President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, if he so chooses, has the authority to suspend discharges under DADT, if he deems it a matter of national security. In fact, I asked this question during the second day of hearings on the repeal of DADT.  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.”

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  1. Make sure Manchin hears everyone loud & clear and publicly

    Posted by: Jessica Naomi | Dec 11, 2010 2:50:10 PM

  2. He's the freshman who'll never be a sophmore.

    Posted by: Barry | Dec 11, 2010 2:52:54 PM

  3. Translation: While I fully acknowledge that this is blatant discrimination and completely counterproductive to national security, I'm going to go with keeping it in place because I'm a bigot. I want someone else to change it because they've got a spine and I don't.

    Huh? WTF?

    Posted by: Craig | Dec 11, 2010 2:57:43 PM

  4. This guy sounds just like Obama.

    Posted by: Tank | Dec 11, 2010 3:01:16 PM

  5. @Jessica: Thanks for the link. Just posted to his wall. What an idiot. "Didn't have time" - what the hell are you doing in office then?

    Posted by: Craig | Dec 11, 2010 3:05:14 PM

  6. Why is he willing to hurt MORE people?? He is a disgrace to America, just like all the "leaders" there keeping freedom away from us and our families! Why are gay people supposed to fight to protect this guy who doesn't protect us?! The anti-gay laws of this country are a monumental disaster that's decades old, and the fact that there is no immediate end to this is enraging, absolutely enraging, and somebody ought to fix this evil.

    Posted by: X | Dec 11, 2010 3:41:10 PM

  7. Since someone on his staff knows how to write, maybe they can take the time to read the bill to Sen. Joe "McCain" (D-W.Va.)

    The legislation requires that DADT NOT be lifted until (1) the President, Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Jt. Chiefs certify that implementation will not be disruptive or impair our combat capabilities and then (2) there is a full 60-day waiting period after that for Congress to decide otherwise.

    So unless you're anti-gay, Joe, your explanation about timing is total B.S. Say it ain't so, Joe.

    A vote for the compromise bill doesn't lift the restriction. The compromise was reached precisely to deal with any timing issues.

    Oh, by the way, Joe, you DO remember that you were the GOVERNOR of West Virginia for 5 years prior to being elected a U.S. Senator. Haven't been in touch with the people during your campaign??? There are lots of surveys out there on repeal of DADT, and you know that your campaign consultants polled your state on this very question.

    Try reading this, too:


    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Too | Dec 11, 2010 3:44:24 PM

  8. What a lie. He was governor of his state for 6 years before being elected to the senate.

    He just needs to admit that he is a bigot.

    Posted by: Joe | Dec 11, 2010 4:02:53 PM

  9. Irrelevant and not meant to be nit-picky, but it is Capitol Hill, not Capital Hill.

    Posted by: Sam | Dec 11, 2010 4:08:09 PM

  10. He's talking out of his a-hole doesn't even get repealed the week after the vote....we have CAPITULATED so much we don;t even realize that all the division heads the Sec of Def and Obama have to sign off...PLEASE STOP the MADDNESS.
    Will someone in the Democratic Party explain this to him in a language he will UNDERSTAND because clearly ENGLISH isn't doing it for him.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Dec 11, 2010 5:09:33 PM

  11. A closeted republican in the WH and now this. What a world, what a world!!

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Dec 11, 2010 5:23:16 PM

  12. Wasn't this guy the Governor of W. Virginia until he was elected to the senate? How is it possible he has not had an oportunity to hear any input on this issue from his constituents.

    Just another example of a spinless democrat in elected office. Grow a pair Senator!

    Sounds like a cowards excuse to me. Either that or he is a closet bigot!

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 11, 2010 5:47:00 PM

  13. Joe Manchin is a Blue Dog Democrat from a very conservative state. He thought as a popular governor that he'd cruise into Byrd's vacant Senate seat by a landslide. Once he got the nomination, he found himself in a very tough, close race with a GOP Tea Party carpet bagger. He won, but it was no cake walk. He's due for re-election in 2012, and if he wins, he'll then have six full years of his own term for West Virginians to forget if he votes to repeal DADT.

    His vote was not against DADT repeal, it was against cloture, or allowing a vote Yea or Nay for repeal. So, Joe is showing that he, too, is an obstructionist, who opposes allowing an "up or down" vote on issues, especially national security and civil rights issues.

    The GOP has been courting Manchin since his election and I wouldn't be shocked that when 2012 rolls around, he'll run as a Republican this time, for that's pretty much what he really is. WV hates Obama, by the way.

    I live across the river from WV. Do a lot of shopping and dining out at local restaurants there. That has changed as a result of Joe's cowardly blunder. I'll keep my money in Ohio. I suggest others do the same.

    Posted by: Bob R | Dec 11, 2010 6:28:04 PM

  14. First of all, if you're "not sure", you abstain. Secondly, if that's your excuse, you better vote "no" on everything till you feel you've caught up on the issues.

    And lastly, repealing DADT isn't "deciding" anything except to get the Congress' nose out of military business. You know, respecting the military, etc., etc.

    Manchin's a jerk.

    Posted by: BobN | Dec 11, 2010 7:01:01 PM

  15. Let's do what we can to ruin Joe Manchin's career and his constituents. Let's make sure that he gets no committee assignment and that none of our tax money goes to West Virginia. Let the bastards and their children starve.

    Posted by: Frank | Dec 11, 2010 7:53:22 PM

  16. Using his own thinking, he shouldn't be voting on anything for quite some time! What a fool ignorant wimp.

    Posted by: Peter Haan | Dec 11, 2010 10:20:49 PM

  17. Obviously Joe Manchin sucks. I went to the FB page, and you have to click "like" before posting, so I clicked "like," then posted, the un-liked it.

    Posted by: me | Dec 12, 2010 1:14:33 AM

  18. Traitor Joe's a bigot.

    Posted by: TruthSeeker_Too | Dec 12, 2010 2:45:16 AM

  19. I wish the courts would just end it.

    Posted by: X | Dec 12, 2010 4:09:34 AM

  20. Another closeted Republican is right. When are we going to get tired of being thrown under the bus?

    Posted by: Island Girly | Dec 12, 2010 9:46:57 AM

  21. Manchin = Baptist.

    That's much more important than his being a Democrat.

    Posted by: AndrewW | Dec 12, 2010 3:08:05 PM

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