Senator Joe Manchin announced yesterday that:
. . . . he will oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.
Manchin says Tuesday the Iranian regime has shown no signs of changing its behavior and the deal involving world power does "nothing to guarantee that behavior changes."
For months Manchin had more-than-hinted that he would likely support the agreement but now that the president has enough votes to sustain his veto, Manchin gets to act tough on Iran and look good to all the conservatives back home. And this morning's Intelligencer editorial ignores why Manchin voted the way he did in order to praise him nonetheless. (He is, after all, one of their favorites.)
Yes, I realize that changing sides for political purposes once the outcome has been determined is not something that Manchin invented and he is, after all, the state's consummate politician. Still, from time-to-time the senator has impressed me with his likely-unpopular stands on foreign policy. Earlier this summer, Manchin was clearly in favor of the deal. Here is Manchin on Face the Nation:
"The only other option is go to war, and I'm not ready to send our people into harms way again until people in that part of the world want to clean up their own mess," he said. Manchin said he believes that military action is a viable option because "we've proved that we can drop a bomb anyplace, anytime, anywhere," but he wants to prevent the U.S. from getting bogged down in another Middle East conflict.
And again, a couple of days later on Morning Joe:
“The bottom line is, do we go it alone, or with other allies?”
But now Manchin is against the deal even though his justification hints at his earlier approval:
“To those who were upset by my deliberations, I would simply say that the decision to pursue diplomacy is every bit as consequential as the decision to pursue war. In many cases, possibly even this one, the choice to abandon the first path leads inevitably to the second," Manchin said.
"And I, like most Americans and West Virginians, have already seen too much American sacrifice in the Middle East to push us down the path toward war," he said.
"However, I don’t believe a vote against this deal forces us to abandon the diplomatic path. We must continue to pursue peace, but on terms that promise a lasting peace for the United States and our allies," he said.
(An interesting side note about the above Manchin quote is that, not surprisingly, the Intelligencer doesn't like even the suggestion that Manchin might be against going to war with Iran -- note how their coverage edited Manchin's message. The part in bold was edited out of the Intelligencer's front page story.)
It's possible that Manchin has come to believe that the Iran deal is not a good one. I doubt it and that's too bad -- Senator Joe had a chance to stand for something other than what was politically expedient and he passed.