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Farewell Robert Byrd (You Old Windbag)

Thomas F. Roeser 30 June 2010 2 Comments

All this stentorian rhetoric about “the soul of the Senate has died” causes any objective student of that body to wretch. U. S. Senator Robert Byrd had only one accomplishment: one. He knew the arcane Senate procedure well enough to bring so many federal installations paid for by taxpayers that the whole state is in danger of sinking into the ground. Everything else…his legendary astuteness, his encyclopedic knowledge of Senate procedure which antedates to Rome, is baloney. He postured as a constitutionalist and always carried in his breast pocket a copy of the Constitution. How sensitive of him! Guardian of the Constitution, my eye. What he did for the Constitution aside from rasping its virtues is unclear.

Early in his career, he applied the maxim of George Washington Plunkett, the old faker who was a legend in the New York state Senate: “I seen my opportunities and I took `em.” He saw himself standing like the oracle Cato against the line-item veto, the old crustacean saying “I will stand back here and let my bones crumble under me until I no longer have breath in me. Such a process is a lethal…lethal…lethal aggrandizement of the chief executive’s role in the legislative process. Lethal. Deadly. It is a gross…gross…colossal distortion of the congressional power of the purse. It is a dangerous proposition, a wolf in the sheep’s clothing of fiscal responsibility!” The line-item veto would have enabled a president to block the old charlatan from hustling more money for his state which he carefully supervised would be dedicated to his name.

He made a pledge once that he would deliver $1 billion in federal grants in five years: he made it a reality in three years. So in West Virginia there is the Robert C. Byrd Highway…two Robert C. Byrd federal buildings…the Robert C. Byrd Freeway…the Robert C. Byrd Center for Hospitality and Tourism…the Robert C. Byrd Drive…and the Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center.

So, it can be asked: What did that old faker know of fiscal responsibility? He never saw an appropriation he didn’t inflate. The first day he entered the Senate he made a beeline like a flat-nosed hog to the trough under the sponsorship of Lyndon Johnson. Careful not to antagonize his old racist roots, he led a filibuster against the 1964 civil rights bill. He also voted against the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall, the first black nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.
As a young hustler running for the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1944, he sent this letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-Miss.), the ranking black-hater in the Senate who was opposing integration of the military services.

“I shall never fight in the armed services 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.”

Shortly after writing that letter, he was named Grand Wizard of the West Virginia Ku Klux Klan.

He was spectacularly wrong on most issues…but was okay on pro-life, okay on increasing missile defense. Opposed tax cuts because he couldn’t believe they would stimulate economic growth. Opposed the Iraq War because he couldn’t recognize that it was the first and only time in our battles with the Muslims that we struck back tellingly rather than taking it on the chin. He led a crusade that probably contributed to the Democrats’ loss of the Senate in 2002. One was his opposition to the bill setting up the Department of Homeland Security. That and his opposition to Iraq was used by Republicans to snare the Senate. He never used the word filibuster but that’s what he did on Homeland Security until Joe Lieberman broke it. He stalled the Iraq War resolution insisting on a clause-by-clause debate until Tom Daschle made a wording change that caused Byrd’s motion to be ruled out of order.

The Old ex-Klansman tried a final time to cleanse his august senatorial robes by coming out for Barack Obama for president. He called the man who almost unarguably is the worst president whose very patriotism and lack of support of exceptionalism for America is suspect this: “He is a shining young statesman who possesses the personal temperament and courage to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq and to lead our nation at this challenging time in history.”

Byrd’s opposition to the Iraq War caused him to be glorified by the liberal media. You can always trust The New York Times to revere its own. Two old Senate segregationists died in advanced age—Strom Thurmond, at 100 and Byrd at 92. The headline on the Thurmond (who had campaigned against the Ku Klux Klan) story said “Thurmond Dies, Foe of Desegregation”. The headline on Byrd’s (a member of the Ku Klux Klan) was laudatory…”Robert C. Byrd a Pillar of the Senate”.

**
Tom Roeser is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Daily Observer

2 Comments »

  • Jim Ridings said:

    Great column. The best columns are the ones that strip away the whitewash and get to the basic truth. The eulogies given to Byrd only shows that no matter how big a reprobate or scoundrel, he can be rehabilitated in the eyes of the media if he panders to their liberal agenda. Both Tom Roeser and Daniel Kelley write excellent columns reminding us of the historical facts and the truth behind the whitewash. For an even better example, read Tom’s column of June 28 at tomroeser.com on Mayor Daley’s shenanigans in electing JFK and the real reasons for it.

  • Dan Kelley said:

    A few nights ago, I was watching the DVD of the film “Gods and Generals.” The film is about the American Civil War and several public figures appeared in cameo roles. Robert Byrd had a brief speaking part in the film as a Confederate general attending conference with Robert E. Lee.

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