Unlike the Gray Lady, Power Line looks at Senator Robert Byrd with a gimlet eye:
The New York Times features a predictably fawning profile of former Ku Klux Klan Kleagle and current West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd: “A master of Senate’s ways is still parrying in his twilight.” By contrast with its coverage of the Pope’s death, the Times had no problem finding quotes from supporters of Senator Byrd before press time.
Robert Byrd is indeed a valuable link not only to the Senate’s past, but also to the Democratic Party’s history as the party of slavery, segregation, and opposition to equal treatment of blacks. Times reporter Sheryl Stolberg obviously loves Byrd’s cornpone constitutional shitck in favor of filibustering a Republican president’s judicial appointees. It’s a shame that Stolberg exerted no effort to put Byrd’s shtick in the context it merits.
Byrd is old enough, for example, to have vowed memorably regarding the integration of the Armed Forces by President Truman that he would never fight “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.”
Even after his resignation from the Klan, Byrd continued to hold it in high esteem, writing to the Klan’s Imperial Wizard in 1946: “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia.”
And Byrd is old enough to have participated in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as to have voted against it after cloture along with 19 other Democrats — in the name of the Constitution, of course. Funny Stolberg didn’t invite Byrd to take a walk down memory lane on that subject. It would have been highly illuminating.
Byrd is also the only Senator to have voted against two black Supreme Court nominees: Byrd voted against a liberal Thurgood Marshall in 1967, and Clarence Thomas, a much more conservative judge, in 1991.
It’s truly fascinating how the Democratic Party has closed ranks behind him, to the point where even Barack Obama, the young black, “great liberal hope” (to borrow Rich Lowry’s phrase), along with left’s Internet collective, Moveon.org, is shilling reelection funds for him.
Byrd has become such an obvious punching bag for Republicans, and easy–seemingly weekly–target for Rush Limbaugh. Why on earth doesn’t the DNC cast him off? He’s 87. Give him a gold watch and send him home, rather than risking a potential Daschle-style upset in ’06.