June 28, 2010

Robert Byrd has died.

Here's the long obituary for him in the New York Times. It's worth reading the whole thing, and I'll just excerpt a few things that happened to strike me for one reason or another:
[He called West Virginia] “one of the rock bottomest of states.”...
Mr. Byrd was the valedictorian of his high school class but was unable to afford college. It was not until he was in his 30s and 40s that he took college courses. But he was profoundly self-educated and well read. His Senate speeches sparkled with citations from Shakespeare, the King James version of the Bible and the histories of England, Greece and Rome....
Referring to the Line-Item Veto Act, he said:
“Gaius Julius Caesar did not seize power in Rome,” he said. Rather, he said, “the Roman Senate thrust power on Caesar deliberately, with forethought, with surrender, with intent to escape from responsibility.”
The Supreme Court later found the act unconstitutional, a violation of Separation of Powers, though not in the first case it considered on the subject. The first case, which bore Senator Byrd's name — Raines v. Byrd — was rejected for lack of standing. The members of Congress who brought suit were held not to have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the bill Congress had passed because it caused "no injury to themselves as individuals." The obituary doesn't mention this case.

Back to the obituary:
In 2007, at the unveiling of a portrait of Mr. Byrd in the Old Senate Chamber, former Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, a colleague of 30 years, recalled that Mr. Byrd had taught him how to answer when a constituent asked, “How many presidents have you served under?”

“None,” was Mr. Byrd’s reply, Mr. Sarbanes said. “I have served with presidents, not under them.”
I hope every member of Congress would answer that way.
In the early 1940s, he organized a 150-member klavern, or chapter, of the Klan in Sophia, W.Va., and was chosen its leader at a meeting. After the meeting, Joel L. Baskin, the Klan’s grand dragon for the region, suggested that Mr. Byrd use his “talents for leadership” by going into politics.

“Suddenly, lights flashed in my mind!” Mr. Byrd later wrote. “Someone important had recognized my abilities.”...

His opponents used his Klan membership against him during his first run for the House of Representatives in 1952; Democratic leaders urged him to drop out of the race. But he stayed in and won, then spent decades apologizing for what he called a “sad mistake.”

He went on to vote for civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960, but when the more sweeping Civil Rights Act was before Congress in 1964, he filibustered for an entire night against it, saying the measure was an infringement on states’ rights. He backed civil rights legislation consistently only after becoming a party leader in the Senate....

Mr. Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr. on Nov. 20, 1917, in North Wilkesboro, N.C. His mother died the next year in the influenza epidemic, but before she did, she asked his father to give him to a sister and brother-in-law. They adopted him and renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd, then moved to rural West Virginia.
So old that his mother died in the flu epidemic of 1917.
As a boy, living on a small farm, he helped slaughter hogs, learned to play the fiddle and became a prize-winning Sunday school student after the manager of the local coal company store gave him two pairs of socks so he could attend without embarrassment.

In 1937, Mr. Byrd married Erma Ora James, his high school sweetheart. She died in 2006, after 68 years of marriage....

He was never a particularly partisan Democrat. President Richard M. Nixon briefly considered him for a Supreme Court appointment. Mr. Dole recalled an occasion when Mr. Byrd gave him advice on a difficult parliamentary question; the help enabled Mr. Dole to overcome Mr. Byrd on a particular bill....

Mr. Byrd always carried a copy of the Constitution. He said his second-proudest accomplishment was legislation requiring every educational institution receiving federal aid to observe the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17 by teaching students about it.
I don't think Congress monkeying with the curriculum of public schools is very respectful of the Constitution. Ironically. That's especially bad coming from someone who presented his opposition to the Civil Rights Act as a matter of states rights.
When the Senate was struggling to agree on rules for the impeachment trial of Mr. Clinton in 1999, Mr. Byrd warned that the Senate itself was also on trial.

“The White House has sullied itself,” he said, “and the House has fallen into a black pit of partisanship and self-indulgence. The Senate is teetering on the brink of that same black pit.”

When, in 2005, Republicans considered banning the filibuster on judicial nominations, he warned that such an action would change the “nature of the Senate by destroying the right of free speech it has enjoyed since its creation.”

In “Losing America,” he wrote that the Senate without the filibuster “will no longer be a body of equals.”

“It will, instead, have become a body of toads,” he wrote, “hopping up and down and over one another to please the imperious countenance of an all-powerful president.”
A body of toads, hopping up and down and over one another to please the imperious countenance of an all-powerful president.

***

Now, how will his seat be filled? It appears that, under West Virginia law, because the vacancy has occurred before July 3rd, there will be an election this year. If Byrd had survived until this Saturday, the Governor would have appointed his replacement, and that person would have continued in office until 2012.

101 comments:

ricpic said...

He was never a particularly partisan Democrat.

Bunk. He was one of the main architects of the "compassionate" legislation that enslaves us all.

AllenS said...

There ain't a lick of difference between the KKK and the Congressional Black Caucus.

HDHouse said...

Well thank you you shits for your first two comments.

A public servant - who you may or may not agree with - died. A man is dead who served his country and his state for half a century or thereabouts...and you dance on his grave?

I didn't agree with him much but his consituency did and that is where your political interest ends - where their vote begins....

or is all this bullshit you spout all the time about states rights and the will of the people..well the people of West Virginia spoke for a long time and fellas, you don't get to open your mouth.

Pogo said...

Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, as is well known, died on July 4th. Ever the politico, I'm sure it rankled Byrd's instincts to shuffle off this mortal coil before then, not merely for the advantage, but for the connection.

But that demand lay beyond even his famous control; there's the respect that makes calamity of so long life.

rhhardin said...

It's the official obit-in-a-can genre.

A true obit is written after the guy can no longer respond:

Louis [Marin] knew what I thought of him, he was aware of my admiration and my gratitude; he had countless indications of this in everything that was woven between our gestures, our various itineraries, our respective works as well, and in everything that went unspoken, which did not fail, as always, alas, to resound and resonate in all of this. But while he was aware of this admiration, I never really declared it to him to the extent that I am this evening. I am not saying this only, not only, to confess a mistake, a regret, or an inconsolable sadness. This situation is, in the end, rather common; it is what links me to more than one friend, no doubt to all those one calls ``best friends.''

But then why? Why wait for death? Tell me why we wait for death? Marin's last book will have again helped me to think this, to think that which in fact regards each of us so singularly, namely, the law of what does not return or come back, of what comes back to us only there where it can no longer come back to us, and so all comes down to, like mastery, that is, like the fiction of force, to the incontestable authority of death, to the very inexistence of the image, to its fantastic power, to the impresence of a trace.

- Derrida

Comrade X said...

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

your boy's words house.

Comrade X said...

Byrd kept to his word and never did fight in the armed forces. while real men were fighting WW2, the 24 year old Byrd was community organizing a klavern.

Clyde said...

"This Byrd has flown."

I think that this is another example of the need for term limits in Congress, as well as a mandatory retirement age for the Supreme Court.

And if we can't term limit people like Sen. Byrd, Sen. Kennedy or Chief Justice Rehnquist, well, the Grim Reaper can -- and will.

Sixty Grit said...

HDHouse loves Bobby Byrd. What a surprise. Two senile old Depends users, united in their hatred of non-whites, who never met a tax they didn't want to impose on others, who salivate at the chance to worship socialism and central control of our lives - why of course HDH will express his love for Bobby - they are two peas in a pod, to loaves in an adult diaper. The clock is ticking, HDH...

And dancing is not what I would do on KKK Byrd's grave, trust me.

HDHouse said...

Nevertheless, a public servant, elected by his State, died.

I said I don't agree with him and many didn't but a majority did.

People change and we hope and pray for it. Unfortunately, it appears that some on this board are cast in stone and no praying to any god/God will make a difference.

Bob Ellison said...

I'm generally with those who are dancing a bit. Byrd was a bad public servant.

"It appears that, under West Virginia, because the vacancy has occurred before July 3rd, there will be an election this year."

It seems unlikely in the extreme that even a conservative Democratic governor will rush to declare Byrd's seat vacant quickly enough to trigger the special election. He'll just wait a few days.

ricpic said...

Maybe if Derrida had ever curbed his logorrhea he might have written something comprehensible. Maybe.

HDHouse said...

@ sixtygrit

you sir, 1. can't read 2. are insane.

vet66 said...

Typical of those who fail to take into account the accomplishments of a fine southern gentleman who evolved with history. Admitting he had made mistakes, he learned from them and continued with humility.

What always struck me as indicative of his character was his being self-taught. Born right after WWI he witnessed and participated in the technological advances of the twentieth century. It is easy to imagine him reading by coal light to the advent of the computer and putting man on the moon. Truly amazing lifetime to which he adapted.

Those who can find nothing good to say about Senator Byrd and his life have no appreciation for history and life of an extraordinary example of growing up in this exceptional country. It appears that the naysayers are particularly exercised by his humility based on a fine systems of values, morality and ethics.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! Not casting the stone is the true measure of the man.

RIP, Senator Byrd.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

Him, not he.

ElcubanitoKC said...

I would like to have read HDHouse's reaction to Strom Thurmond's death. Did he give the other late white supremacist the same respect? Did he ask for others to extend the deceased the same consideration?

WV: niptifor

LarsPorsena said...

The King of Pork is dead.
Long live the King.

SuWEEEEE!!!!!!!!

Sixty Grit said...

Vet66 - that may be the funniest send-up of Bobby Byrd's pathetic life I have ever read. Comedy gold, buddy.

David said...

Byrd probably wasn't actually evil, so we shouldn't rejoice in his death. He's just a man who realized that his lack of real conviction, which in many ways could have been a liability, would make in politics be a strength.

He's probably as responsible as anyone for the continued poverty of West Virginia, soon to be renamed Byrdia.

Also, the influenza epidemic was in 1918.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Poor conservatives. Now they have no one to point to when one of their own does something patently racist. No more helpful cries of "but Bobby Byrd was in the Klan!" They are on their own now.

AJ Lynch said...

My father was born in 1917 in a coal town. It was common for people to be self-educated. In fact, schools taught the basics and the classics. Town and school library books were well worn. As a result, people from that era may have had a more well-rounded base of knowledge than later generations.

So, Byrd's self-education was not uncommon nor extraordianry IMO.

rick said...

Conservatives should pass the hat to pay for this gentleman's funeral. The taxpayer money he has squandered reaches epic proportions. Everything in the state is named after Byrd....from roads to bridges to parks.

When traveling through the state, I got the impression the state flower was a sign with Byrd's name on it. Public servant my a#%.

To HD, this is considered public service.

GMay said...

"He went on to vote for civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960, but when the more sweeping Civil Rights Act was before Congress in 1964, he filibustered for an entire night against it, saying the measure was an infringement on states’ rights."

Well golly, I wonder where all of Rand Paul's detractors are on this one.

rick said...

Like airline pilots, there should a mandatory retirement age in the US for our royalty...er congress critters.

Watching this guy operate in the Senate during his latter years was a painful spectacle.

HDHouse said...

rhhardin said...
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! Him, not he."

another idiot steps forth...

Quayle said...

"Now they have no one to point to when one of their own does something patently racist. "

Here on Althouse we'll just point to you, MM.

Anyone like you who can't get race off their minds is clearly a racist themselves.

HDHouse said...

ElcubanitoKC said...
"..reaction to Strom Thurmond's death. Did he give the other late white supremacist the same respect? Did he ask for others to extend the deceased the same consideration?"

My parents retired to his hometown area and I met him on several occaions while visiting them.

No. I didn't care much at all for his politics and his stands. He was, however a father and a family member to others and it does no good to speak ill of the dead. EVER.

So why do you ask?

Peano said...

"A man is dead who served his country and his state for half a century or thereabouts..."

He set records serving West Virginians huge helpings of money taken from taxpayers in other states. Robert Byrd, like Ted Kennedy, embodied some of the very worst traits of modern politicians.

GMay said...

MontyMonty hoped: "Poor conservatives. Now they have no one to point to when one of their own does something patently racist. No more helpful cries of "but Bobby Byrd was in the Klan!" They are on their own now."

Heh. If only you should be so lucky. You fucksticks lionized a communist sympathizer for decades, so you deserve to be reminded of your failures for years.

Republicans tend to disown their trash. Democrats tend to promote theirs. Byrd just lengthens an overlong list of criminals and bigots that Democrats admired or gave leadership positions to.

Own it.

LarsPorsena said...

Byrd operated under the delusion that he was a modern Cicero while in fact has was always Incitatus' hindquarters.

Scott M said...

Another "lyin'" of the Senate shuffles off the mortal coil. Another great opportunity to discuss both term limits and Democratic filibusters of civil rights.

A.W. said...

Byrd, RIF.

(Rest in flames.)

Sorry, he was an unapologetic racist and only formally quit the racist terrorist organization known as the Klan. Somewhere along the way, he should have at least formally denounced both actions. Only those who seek repentance should be granted aboslution. RIF, indeed.

Original Mike said...

"It seems unlikely in the extreme that even a conservative Democratic governor will rush to declare Byrd's seat vacant quickly enough to trigger the special election. He'll just wait a few days."

Surely he can't do that (he says, knowing it's not true).

Scott M said...

He was, however a father and a family member to others and it does no good to speak ill of the dead. EVER.

I will sincerely try to remember that the next time you make comments about Reagan if you'll do the same.

MadisonMan said...

So old that his mother died in the flu epidemic of 1917.

I have a relative in town who remembers that flu epidemic.

I appreciate his service to the country. I think he was there too long -- way too long -- he entered the Senate before I was born! -- but apparently his constituents did not. Then again, they are West Virginians, and the native Pennsylvanian in me knows that West Virginians don't think.

EnigmatiCore said...

"It seems unlikely in the extreme that even a conservative Democratic governor will rush to declare Byrd's seat vacant quickly enough to trigger the special election. He'll just wait a few days."

On things such as resignations and the like, there is wiggle room.

On deaths, not so much.

Scott M said...

Then again, they are West Virginians, and the native Pennsylvanian in me knows that West Virginians don't think.

tsk, tsk

I'll ask you not to tread on a commonly held Missourian belief about those in Illinois, please :)

Mick said...

HDHouse said... "
"Nevertheless, a public servant, elected by his State, died."


Please, he wasn't a servant. He did the backstroke in the public trough, and is a symbol of everything wrong w/ government. Good Riddance.

rick said...

Speaking of re-writing history, I am waiting for HD to claim Byrd was a the initiator of the 1964 civil rights bill; and later championed shutting down the coal industry in the name of AGW.

Come on HD, surely you buy "white-out" by the gallon (no racist pun intended).

Big Mike said...

A public servant - who you may or may not agree with - died. A man is dead who served his country and his state for half a century or thereabouts...and you dance on his grave?

You stop dancing on the graves of Republicans, we'll stop dancing on the graves of Democrats. Even an atheist such as I recognizes the value of the Golden Rule. What's wrong with you?

rhhardin said...

I'd imagine the seat will go vacent July 4th and the WV governor will appoint himself to the Senate.

He's a public servant, after all.

damikesc said...

I won't celebrate the passing of Byrd. I feel he was wrong on a lot of issues and liked to celebrate himself way too much...but he did seem sincere.

SteveR said...

Longevity is not a virtue

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

One thing I did like about Byrd: He wanted a stronger Legislature. Given how the Executive Branch has rolled over the Legislative Branch of late, I admire that stand and wish more Legislators held it.

It was odd to read in Byrd's obit that LBJ gave him his spot on the Appropriations Committee. What a throwback to history!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

He was a man of his times. A child during the Great Depression. A young adult during WWII.

That he was adamantly anti Negro (and yes I used that word because that was probably the polite term he learned as a child) is no surprise. That attitude was the norm when he grew up and in the area that he lived in.

That he changed, or claimed to change, that attitude shows that was still was a man of his time. This time the Civil Rights era. Was it an expedient change? Probably so.

I do know that is is not possible to judge the people of the past by our current standards. We cannot view the Founding Fathers in the light of 21st century morals. Byrd's past, which spreads over the time span of many generations, needs to be viewed in light of the times he lived in and morality of those times.

I have no opinion on whether he was a good man or a bad man. That isn't for me to judge. Way above MY pay grade.

Roger J. said...

Seems a simple RIP is in order, and then let future historians debate his role, his life and his politics. And it is possible for people to change--again, a question for historians, I thnk.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Also, the influenza epidemic was in 1918.

What? No one died of the flu before January 1st of 1918? An epidemic doesn't have a definitive start and end date. In fact we really don't know that it IS an epidemic unitl we are well past the peak event.

And YES, there really needs to be term limits for public office. You shouldn't be allowed to "term out" as a Representative and then move on to the Senate either. All that does is just move the crud from one tank to another.

The original intention of the Founding Fathers was that citizens would do some 'time' in office and then return to their private lives. It was not to create a permanent ruling class of professional politicians.

Scott M said...

@MM
One thing I did like about Byrd: He wanted a stronger Legislature. Given how the Executive Branch has rolled over the Legislative Branch of late, I admire that stand and wish more Legislators held it..

"Howard Johnson is RIGHT!" Here, here.

@DBQ

It's one thing to not judge someone because they were a "man of their time". It was a commonly held prejudice, no doubt. However, it's quite another to actively seek extremely high office within an organization responsible for the terrorism and murder of those he was prejudiced against.

MadisonMan said...

"Howard Johnson is RIGHT!"

I love that movie.

rhhardin said...

"Old senile racist finally dead" is how Armstrong and Getty cover it (hour 1).

HDHouse said...

Big Mike said...
"You stop dancing on the graves of Republicans, we'll stop dancing on the graves of Democrats."

Hi Big...and what republicans are you referring to? Seems like GOP SOBs live for an eternity.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's one thing to not judge someone because they were a "man of their time". It was a commonly held prejudice, no doubt. However, it's quite another to actively seek extremely high office within an organization responsible for the terrorism and murder of those he was prejudiced against.


Look. I'm not defending Byrd OR the KKK. What we need to understand is the times that created such an organization. Fortunately we, as a society, have mostly rid ourselves of those antiquated and evil attitutes.

MOSTLY. However, I'm not all that sure that we have, given the rise of anti semitism as represented by the tacit acceptance of those ideas as spewed by the likes of Helen Thomas.

I don't think we all need to be so smug about casting stones at Byrd, when it appears that our society is about to descend into the same cesspool of hate and discrimination, yet again.

This is why I say we NEED to understand the history of people like Byrd or we are going to be doomed to repeat it.

John said...

Damikesk,

Lenin was "sincere". Mao was "sincere" so were Pol pot, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and all the other great socialist murderers of the past century.

Do you give them a pass because they were sincere? One can be sincerely wrong. One can even be sincerely evil (though I do not think Byrd was)

As others have said, Byrd represented everything that is wrong with the Senate. That some people would consider what he (and pretty much all pols who serve more than a single term)"public service" boggles my imagination. If they really wanted to be public servants, they would go into the private sector and actually contribute to society.

For the past 5, 10, 15 (depending on who you listen to) Byrd has been incapacitated. His seat has effectively been held by a bunch of un-elected Senatorial aides. How is that any kind of service to the people of West Virginia?

I am not going to rejoice in anyone's death. I do rejoice that he is finally gone at last. I lament that death was the only way to get him out.

John Henry

Big Mike said...

...and what republicans are you referring to? Seems like GOP SOBs live for an eternity.

I rest my case.

John said...

DBQ,

Ahhhh.... yes.

We must "understand the times" and give a racist organizer of a racist murdering organization a pass. Even if he did not participate in any murders, by his membership he condoned them.

His later saying he was sorry (if he really did) does not excuse his actions of the time.

Hw many people "of the times" did NOT join the Klan? How many people "Of the times" were appalled by the Klan even if they were too intimidated to say so publicly. How many people "of the times" did risk approbation, injury and even death and did speak out against the Klan?

No, your trying to excuse him by asking us to understand "the times" is the lamest of lame excuses.

Byrd has a lot to be ashamed of. You have a lot to be ashamed of for trying to excuse what he did in this way.

John Henry

PS-In my previous note, I did not mean to imply that Byrd was a murderer when I mentioned all those socialists. I did mean to imply that he was sincerely wrong and that sincerity is no excuse.

Flexo said...

May he rest in peace.

--------------

A man is dead who served his country and his state for half a century or thereabouts...and you dance on his grave?

"Service" for "half a century or thereabouts" is not service, it is despotism.

On a personal level, we do well to offer up prayers for him and his family.

On a national level, we do well to rejoice that yet another Senate seat is no longer to be treated as someone's personal property.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We must "understand the times" and give a racist organizer of a racist murdering organization a pass

Byrd has a lot to be ashamed of. You have a lot to be ashamed of for trying to excuse what he did in this way.


You need to get some reading comprehension, bucko.

I'm not giving him "a pass" or trying to excuse him.

I'm saying we need to understand that he was a product of his times and learn from that. A time which, hopefully, has passed.

I doubt, however, that the racial predjudice, anti Semitic, anti Catholic attitudes of the past are really gone.

If you want to pretend that the past never happened or that it can't happen again.....go ahead and stick your head into the sand....or some other place where the sun doesn't shine.

Joe said...

For someone so fond of the constitution, his ignorance of the enumerated powers of Congress was astounding.

Chip Ahoy said...

What took so long?

former law student said...

A man named Joel Baskin was a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan? Oy gevalt!

There ain't a lick of difference between the KKK and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Except for the absence of lynching, cross-burning, disguises, and, generally, establishment of a reign of terror.

Fred4Pres said...

We need a West Virginia Scott Brown now.

Pogo said...

Byrd and his fellow Democrats have been dancing on the grave of the Constitution for several years now.

I feel bad for his family, but his departure from the Senate was long past due.

If they could, his aides would prop up his corpse and press the Aye button for him.

edutcher said...

First and foremost, the hypocrisy is so thick in here Hercules would have to do the Augean Stables thing all over again. The faux civility from House and Montagne comes from the knowledge that any hope of a filibuster-proof Senate has gone a-glimmering.

Mr. Byrd was an arrant and unrepentant racist and the king of porkers. He feathered his own nest above all else. Yet, I can't work up the same outrage for him as I can the worst hypocrite and demagogue to soil Capitol Hill - Teddy Kennedy. Like Teddy Kennedy, his life screams validation for the cause of term limits for Congress. The man was in DC for 58 years!

The loss of these two means the US Senate will probably be returned to the American people before November, so his death, if not his life, is not without its redeeming graces.

For whatever good he may have done in his life, I can only hope justice may be tempered with mercy for him.

Jim said...

"Service" for "half a century or thereabouts" is not service, it is despotism.

Putting your name on the ballot to be reelected by the citizens of your state is despotism??

John said...

One further thought occurs to me. I mentioned that some folks were not intimidated by social pressure to join the Klan. In some areas that social pressure was very real. As I noted, it ranged all the way up to violence against one's property and one's self.

I could sympathize with someone who joined the Klan out of fear from what might happen if they did not. Could any of us guarantee that we might not do the same? I don't know that I could.

It might be legitimate to say that "the times" forced those people into the Klan. Hopefully they would have the decency to be ashamed of themselves.

But Byrd can't be excused on those grounds. There was no pressure on him to join the Klan. There was not even a Klan in his area.

No, he looked around and thought that a local branch would be a good thing and started one. He managed to get 150 of his neighbors to join. He was not a victim of social pressure to join. He was the source of the social pressure to join.

And yet there are some (even here) that would excuse him.

Fuck him. Let God deal with him. I am just glad he is gone.

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

"another idiot steps forth..."

Let he go.

Original Mike said...

"No, he looked around and thought that a local branch would be a good thing and started one. He managed to get 150 of his neighbors to join. He was not a victim of social pressure to join. He was the source of the social pressure to join."

I didn't know this aspect of his Klan affiliation. Really makes you wonder how he was given a "pass" all these many years.

Joe said...

I didn't know this aspect of his Klan affiliation. Really makes you wonder how he was given a "pass" all these many years.


Uh the DEMOCRAT after his state designator????

And he dropped the "N-Bomb", IIRC, within the last 10 years....

Look at the trouble Lott, rightfully, got into for praising Thurmond's Dixiecrat 1948 POTUS run, and then ask "Where's the outrage" at Bob Byrd talking about white and black N*ggers on TV, within the last decade.

Blue@9 said...

Fuck this guy. How many here would sing the praises of a "reformed Nazi"? "Oh, sure, he supported Hitler and called for the death of Jews, but he came around later in life. He quoted Shakespeare and stuff, you know."

Fuck that noise. Nazis belong in the ground, and the KKK is no different. Oh, he recanted? BFD. He was the fucking middle-management in a terrorist group that called for the murder of blacks and any white people who dared to help blacks.

I'm supposed to forgive that because he learned Latin? What, did he only join for the chance at personal advancement? Is that supposed to be any better? Great, so he opportunistically joined a racist terrorist organization so he could network. Fuck him.

Blue@9 said...

@DBQ

What we need to understand is the times that created such an organization.

The times didn't create anything. People like Byrd created and propped up these hateful organizations. And it's not like these people were unaware that they were committing evil. They fucking wore hoods and kept their memberships secret for a reason.

@vet66
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

That's a lovely platitude, but utterly useless in the real world. I've committed sins, but I've never joined a terrorist organization. Let me ask you, do you refrain from "casting stones" at other terrorists, or does the rule lapse once you get past Byrd?

former law student said...

How many here would sing the praises of a "reformed Nazi"?

Any who are Christian. The concept of forgiving those who erred and now repent of their error was so important to Christian thinking that Jesus used three separate parables to explain it:

-- So he told them this parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

-- "what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

-- "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'

"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."

edutcher said...

Blue has a point about Klan membership. The Klan controlled a huge part of the eastern half of the country after WWI, particularly the lower Midwest and some parts of the Middle Atlantic (it still has a foothold in Bucks County outside Philadelphia) to the point that Klan membership was almost a requirement to run for public office in some places.

Yet people stood up to them and eventually brought them down. It would appear Mr. Byrd took the easy way out.

WV "diautee" What Crazy Horse said.

former law student said...

The Klan controlled a huge part of the eastern half of the country after WWI, particularly the lower Midwest

Indeed. A friend who grew up in Ohio was rather shocked to find a Klan robe at his grandfather's house, decades after the Klan had ceased to be active.

Blue@9 said...

How many here would sing the praises of a "reformed Nazi"?

Any who are Christian.


Well, it's a good thing I'm an atheist.

Some things are unforgiveable in my book, and joining the KKK/Nazis/Comintern/Al Qaeda are right near the top of that list.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Putting your name on the ballot to be reelected by the citizens of your state is despotism??

Why did they pass the 22nd Amendment?

Trooper York said...

As the balding drunken sybarite from Syosset has often warbled: “Only the Good Die Young.”

An insidious evil has passed from the scene. Senator Byrd a contemporary and co-conspirator of many of the most famous racists in American History has finally shuffled off from this mortal coil. He joins his friends such as George Wallace, Orval Faubus and Bull Conner in what a just God would only provide as his eternal reward. The fiery pits of Hell.

You will see a spirited defense of the indefensible by the mainstream media, the Journolist cabal and the foaming at the mouth purely partisan purveyors of liberal cant who visit us here everyday to set us straight with the talking points that have been delivered fresh from Rahn Emanuel’s anus. You see a long and storied career of racist behavior is no cause for the slightest bit of opprobrium when the full attention of the investigative media can be turned to such despicable behavior as declining to abort a handicapped child or mere plebeians asking impertinent questions to the ruling elite. That is what deserves scorn and derision and a full fledged all out attack with all guns blazing. Serial adultery, rank hypocrisy, masseuse molestation and impaling interns on tobacco products are private matters best not discussed in polite company. A rapacious pirate who raided the Treasury as though it was a crippled Spanish Galleon and who was the last vestige of a racist heritage of shame is to be celebrated and cosseted as he was a reliable vote for the further destruction of our sacred Union by the socialist regime currently in power.

But even the pure essence of concentrated evil can become weary after so many decades of rapine and deceit. His desiccated corpse like countenance can now finally be laid to molder in his grave to rot. However I do not recommend anyone visit it to dance or frolic. The heat from his direct passage to the fiery depths is too recent to allow such an activity.

We can just take comfort that a great evil has finally left the world. Our country, our congress and our community is now a better place.

John Lynch said...

I've always seen Byrd as a 19th century throwback. That's not all bad- some things were better then. Congress was more willing to stand up to the executive and more concerned about the Constitution. You get the sense that he could have hung with Webster and Calhoun.

However, he should have retired 20 years ago. Geriatric senators are a bad thing for the republic. Every time I saw him giving a speech it was painfully obvious that he was not all there.

Trooper York said...

Yes he would have loved to hang out with John C Calhoun. They had a lot in common.

Trooper York said...

Daniel Webster not so much.

Trooper York said...

Daniel Webster sparred with Lucifer.

Byrd was his minion.

John Lynch said...

Oh, and until he died Senator Byrd was third in line for the Presidency under the 25th Amendment.

Think about that one for a while. Yes, if something happened to Obama, Biden, and Pelosi, Byrd would have been President. That's not too far fetched.

Maybe we need to revise that part of our presidential succession act.

Ralph L said...

What's odd is there were very few blacks in WV back then (maybe they wanted to keep it that way). There were probably more of Cfud's Progressive Jews trying to do good in deepest Appalachia.

former law student said...

Why did they pass the 22nd Amendment?

Republicans were shit-scared of another Dem President-for-Life like FDR, and they seized their opportunity when they had it.

Which is too bad, because had Ike served a third term, we wouldn't have had the Cuban Missile Crisis, because Khrushchev knew how tough Ike was. Likely our role in SE Asia would have been vastly different as well, because Ike would not have had to establish his military cred against the ChiComs. Further, the Civil Rights movement would have been equally successful, because, as has been frequently pointed out in the comments, the GOP did not have the same blatant commitment to segregation that the Dixiecrats had.

But, we'll never know.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Oh, and until he died Senator Byrd was third in line for the Presidency under the 25th Amendment.

Think about that one for a while


Yikes!

The times didn't create anything. People like Byrd created and propped up these hateful organizations

Bullshit. People don't live in a vacuum. They are a product of their cultures and of the times they live in.

It doesn't make it right. It doesn't make it NOT evil. It doesn't excuse it.

BUT it is true. If we are ever to change as a society, we must try to put things into context and applaud those who make the change and understand those who don't have the will or ability to change. However if we refuse to see the whole context we can't understand what is happening to us today.

My contention is that we are (culturally and world wide) slip sliding into something similar to the mindset of pre Nazi Germany and if we don't try to understand how and why things like the KKK come to be we or how someone like Byrd can have such influence, we cannot be aware of what is happening now.

c3 said...

The usual rantings of the partisans as one "from the other side" dies. I expect the same when Dick Cheney dies.

If you don't like the ill words spoken against someone on "your side" who has died then don't do it when some one on "their side" dies.

Not speaking ill of the dead (at least the just recently passed) is a worthwhile social custom, even for the internet. (not that I expect it to happen.)

Blue@9 said...

The times didn't create anything. People like Byrd created and propped up these hateful organizations

Bullshit. People don't live in a vacuum. They are a product of their cultures and of the times they live in.


Yes, and there were plenty of people who refused to join or who fought against the KKK. Amazingly, and despite being a product of their cultures and of the times, there were people opposed to racist terrorism even back then.

Maybe we should salute those brave and upstanding people instead of the opportunistic douchebags who joined a terrorist organzation for a decade in order to advance their political careers. Because the good guys too were a product of their times, and we don't need to feel dirty and shameful when singing their praises.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Maybe we should salute those brave and upstanding people instead of the opportunistic douchebags who joined a terrorist organzation for a decade in order to advance their political careers.

Maybe you should learn to fucking read instead.

I have nowhere said we should salute Byrd or even anything positive about him.

I say we need to try to understand the social dynamics that create a person like Byrd and movements like the KKK or we will be doomed to see them recreated.

How you can twist that into praise for the KKK or for Byrd is beyond me.

Fucking lying douchebag....yes...I mean you Blue.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Re: the not speaking ill of the dead rule- I agree that we should not be nasty or disrespectful, and that we should be sensitive to the deceased's loved ones, and so forth.

However, I don't think that that precludes us from discussing the actual implications of that person's actions in life and legacy. If not shortly after death, then when, if it matters? When Ted Kennedy died, it was important to see him for what he was, and looking at the wrongs that the privilege of being a Kennedy allowed to happen, so that maybe we can be more cautious of it in the future. The same for Sen. Byrd- we should not call names or be rude, but we should still discuss the acceptability of having allowed a former Klansman to hold such power, the ramifications of allowing such power for such a long time, and the legacy of his pork barrel spending.

The same would be true for Dick Cheney; although I highly doubt that the Cheney opponents will even be able to speak two coherent words about his actual legacy, so blinded will they be by their hate.

- Lyssa

Blue@9 said...

@DBQ

Fuck off and go eat a bag of dicks.

You want to understand what gave rise to Byrd's abominable actions? Why didn't you ask him when he was alive? He had six decades to explain it and the best he could come up with is that he was young and dumb.

You want to understand the KKK? Hasn't it been around long enough? Its history is no mystery, nor is the mindset of those who joined it. And it's not as if the KKK weren't aware that they were acting evilly. You don't fucking don hoods in secret organizations if you think you're on the up and up.

Personally, I could give a shit if Byrd's mommy didn't love him enough or if some black person was mean to him as a child. The fact is that he was 24 at the time, which made him a grown adult. He was 24 and chose to join a racist terrorist organization at a time when millions of his fellow Americans were joining up to risk their lives to fight fascist and racist regimes around the globe.

You know who else was born in the same year as Byrd? JFK. Also a product of his times, JFK was a rich kid who risked his life fighting a racist, nationalist Japanese empire. At the same time that JFK was literally clinging to life, Byrd was proudly proclaiming that he would never serve next to a black man.

And millions of other Americans, despite being the product of their times, never donned a hood for racist terror.

As for your oh-so-concerned concern that we not see that experience recreated, here's a solution: Disparage the KKK and other racist groups at every opportunity. Don't fucking go on thinly-veiled apologias as if KKK volunteers weren't fully accountable for their actions. Finally, don't elect such bastards to the Senate. You'll note that we don't walk around worrying about a second coming of Naziism. Why? Because we don't fucking make excuses for the last set and we don't elect them to political office.

Peano said...

rhhardin said... 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!' Him, not he.

And Blogger HDHouse retorted... another idiot steps forth.

Have either of you towering exegetes looked up John 8:7? "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Because we don't fucking make excuses for the last set and we don't elect them to political office.

Really?

http://www.thetreeofliberty.com/vb/showthread.php?t=32799

Probably a fake letter but the core is very true.

In Germany, when Hitler came to power, it was a time of terrible financial depression. Money was worth nothing. In Germany people lost homes and jobs, just like in the American Depression in the 1930s, which we have read about in Thoene’s Shiloh books.
In th ose days, in my homeland, Adolph Hitler was elected to power by promising “Change.”
He blamed the “Zionists” around the world for all our problems. He told everyone it was greedy Zionist Bankers who had caused every problem we had. He promised when he was leader, the greedy Zionist bankers would be punished. The Zionists, he promised, would be wiped off the face of the earth.
So Hitler was elected to power by only 1/3 the popular vote. A coalition of other political parties in parliament made him supreme leader. Then, when he was leader, he disgraced and expelled everyone in parliament who did not go along with him.
Yes. Change came to my homeland as the new leader promised it would.
The teachers in German schools began to teach the children to sing songs in praise of Hitler/Obama. This was the beginning of the Hitler Youth movement. It began with praise of the Fuhrer’s programs on the lips of innocent children. Hymns in praise of Hitler and his programs were being sung in the schoolrooms and in the playyard. Little girls and boys joined hands and sang these songs as they walked home from school.
My brother came home and told Papa what was happening at school. The political hymns of children proclaimed Change was coming to our homeland and the Fuhrer was a leader we could trust.
I will never forget my father’s face. Grief and fear. He knew that the best propaganda of the Nazis was song on the lips of little children.


Nope nothing to see here...move along.... as our freedoms are eroded every day and the current administration is moving faster than past ones to crush private industry and individual choices.
I have an elderly relative who was a teenager during WWII in Germany. She swears that it is history repeating itself and lterally cries for this country.

If you want to go "LALALALA I can't hear you" and stick your fingers in ears and refuse to look at the past, I guess that is your choice.

William said...

Of death and double standards: Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd were more alike than dissimilar. They both had a history of bigotry and both stayed on in public life long after a decent man would have taken his bows and made his exit. There's something vain and grasping about these old birds lapping up every last moment of deference and respect that their younger selves had earned. Thurmond was a war hero and any number of NBA stars could take lessons from him in the proper way to raise and support an illegitimate child. But for all that I saw no great need to mourn his death, and I feel no sadness at the passing of Robert Byrd....What bothers me is that among the left Robert Byrd's leadership of the Democratic Party will count as some kind of redemptive act for past misdeeds. Ditto with Republicans and Strom Thurmond. Can't we all on this sad day join hands and say that both these men were old, addled, and greedy for the trappings of power? In recognition of their long service, Congress should pass the Byrd-Thurmond Memorial Act which makes 80 the mandatory retirement age for all federal employees and representatives.

mccullough said...

Interesting that WV's two Senators, Byrd and Rockefellar, have such different upbringings.

former law student said...

and say that both these men were old, addled, and greedy for the trappings of power?

At most you can say that old people are old, which tautology is not terribly informative. Competence, like health and agility, varies widely across the older set. Is enough oxygen getting to the brain?
Finally, a man who has been successful in his job for a number of years, whose bosses have kept him on the job year after year, rightly might see no reason to quit.

Imposing age limits on Congress would likely require a Constitutional Amendment, for the reasons that the Presidential term limit did.

Kev said...

And YES, there really needs to be term limits for public office. You shouldn't be allowed to "term out" as a Representative and then move on to the Senate either. All that does is just move the crud from one tank to another.

The original intention of the Founding Fathers was that citizens would do some 'time' in office and then return to their private lives. It was not to create a permanent ruling class of professional politicians.


I agree 100%, and I think we should also institute term limits for bureaucrats as well; nobody should suckle at the federal teat for more than ten or twelve years. Ideally, government would not be an entry-level position, either; having people there who had spent some time in the productive class beforehand would be quite beneficial.

newton said...

"a public servant, elected by his State, died."

Yes. A "public servant" who gave new and fresh meaning to the phrase, "Pork: The Other White Meat."

I'm sure any West Virginian can name the many "public works" named after this man... perhaps too many to count... right up there with Kim Jong-Il in number...

Never forget how "outraged" he reacted when ABC News confronted him with all the millions upon millions in pork he secured for his state in their long-forgotten series, "Waste in Washington." He called the ABC News journalists "Vultures" on the floor of the U.S. Senate... as if they were the guilty party instead of him.

If there were a "lechonera" near my house right now, I'd go there and order the biggest roasted pork family plate I could order in his name. Because that's how he kept his state happy: by stuffing pork down their throats even though the taxpayer went starving.

Methadras said...

HDHouse is dead? Fucking great.

Methadras said...

HDHouse said...

Well thank you you shits for your first two comments.

A public servant - who you may or may not agree with - died. A man is dead who served his country and his state for half a century or thereabouts...and you dance on his grave?

I didn't agree with him much but his consituency did and that is where your political interest ends - where their vote begins....

or is all this bullshit you spout all the time about states rights and the will of the people..well the people of West Virginia spoke for a long time and fellas, you don't get to open your mouth.


I thought you were dead. Oh well.

Pat said...

Byrd and Thurmond, and even Kennedy represent a Congress that helped to make the bloated government we have, just as they may have helped to do many things considered outstanding.

In fact, the older they got, the more able they were to dictate the terms and costs of government, and that resounds in every taxpayer's level of taxes required now to keep government running.

Glorifying the good without recognizing the flaws of such lengthy terms doesn't help to solve U.S. Government problems now. It merely recognizes Congressional sentimentality fostered by incumbents in their fondness for the self indulgence shown while in Congress.

Public servants know when to leave; most of Congress doesn't, or is too addicted to the power trip to follow the principles of the founding fathers who served voluntarily and received no income or perks beyond their own self esteem for having served.

Public servants receive gratification from serving, not from power or perks.

Byrd may have been an excellent Senator, an admirable orator, and possessed of the common sense needed in Congress, but how long does it take to prove those attributes?