“If I’m going to take my job seriously, which I do, I had to leave,” he says. “I’m not going to do anything half-assed.”
Still, his imminent departure has him feeling nostalgic. Sitting in the ornate Senate reception room, Manley recalls the Kennedy years, being on the floor for the historic health care vote, the honor of speaking for the Senate Majority Leader.
“I was Sen. Kennedy’s pooper-scooper,” he says, referring to cleaning up after Splash and Sunny, the late Senator’s Portuguese water dogs. “I’ve met prime ministers and presidents and rock stars and movie stars. ... I’ve watched legislation being made.”
He is uncharacteristically Zen about his job prospects.
“I’m keeping an open mind. I’m listening to everything. I’m trying to think outside the box, and I want to think big.”
Manley still has yet to set the date of his departure. Perhaps he’s avoiding the bittersweet reality that his days as a Senate employee really are over. But mostly, it’s a logistical problem. There is a tax cut bill to finalize, reporters’ calls to take, messages to craft.
“I’m going out swinging,” he says, checking his BlackBerry reflexively. “I’m working so hard, I don’t have time to look for a job.”
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.