Sen. Joe Manchin gained a reputation in West Virginia of working hard for compromise. Manchin, D-W.Va., tried that in Washington last week - and learned a lesson about politics.
Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., collaborated to offer an amendment to gun control legislation. They suggested expanded background checks of people wishing to buy firearms at gun shows and online. They made it clear transfers between friends and family members were not included.
On Wednesday the Senate refused to accept the compromise - a good one that might have kept some mentally unbalanced people from buying guns.
Later Manchin, clearly frustrated, slammed the National Rifle Association - which has supported him staunchly in the past. The NRA lied about the proposal he and Toomey made, Manchin said.
Such strong criticism probably was not politically smart. Neither was taking any kind of lead on gun control.
But Manchin was right. He deserves credit, not condemnation, for his attempt.