Senator Robert Byrd (D-WVA) Dies Overnight

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 28, 2010 12:14 PM GMT
    I knew he was getting quite feeble in his 90's, but was very sorry to hear of his peaceful death overnight.

    Senator Byrd was one of the democrats I remember back in the early 80's when I first had enough understanding to pay attention. He had guts.. he spoke out and represented the democratic party as majority leader at a time there seemed to be few around. Some of his comments were legendary.
    I still like what (and how) he opposed the invasion of Iraq. Good man and he will be missed!

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    Jun 28, 2010 2:22 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidHe had quite a remarkable life, from his membership in the Ku Klux Klan (where he held the positions of Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops) to being, right up until his death, the 3rd in line to succeed Barack Obama to the Presidency (Biden and Pelosi are ahead of him).

    You no doubt much preferred when the 98-year-old Sen. Strom Thurmond, (R) South Carolina, held this same position. Shall we get into Thurmond's racist past? Which, unlike Byrd, he did little to repudiate before he died.

    In fact, Thurmond's segregationist history was so toxic that when Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi praised it in 2002, the uproar forced him to resign his Senate position, even with the Republicans in control. Whereas Byrd was admired on both side of the aisle as being the foremost authority on Senate history, rules, precedent & procedure, and was one of the few Senators who's been called its Dean during his tenure in office.
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    Jun 28, 2010 3:30 PM GMT
    Thanks, Wilton.

    The wingnuts love to point to Byrd's racist past while willfully ignoring Thurmond's.

    Shameful, but predictable.
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    Jun 28, 2010 3:59 PM GMT
    I always was annoyed when people derisively brought up his membership once in the Ku Klux Klan. He made a mistake and admitted it was the worst mistake of his life. And he spent years trying to atone for it. How many people, let alone politicians, are willing to do that.

    He was an interesting man, and knew Senate rules like no other, while giving great speeches. He will be missed here in DC

  • Jun 28, 2010 4:08 PM GMT
    Because the crazy liberals love praising someone who hated black people but later "felt sorry" for his actions.
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    Jun 28, 2010 4:13 PM GMT
    az_softball_guy saidBecause the crazy liberals love praising someone who hated black people but later "felt sorry" for his actions.


    Byrd repented. Repeatedly.

    Did Strom Thurmond?

    We "crazy liberals" believe in redemption.

    It's the Reich wingnuts who would rather burn people like you and me at the stake, az softball.
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    Jun 28, 2010 4:26 PM GMT
    OtterJoq saidThanks, Wilton.

    The wingnuts love to point to Byrd's racist past while willfully ignoring Thurmond's.

    Shameful, but predictable.


    I find it more troubling that there are those who keep trying to white wash his past. Not sure what Thurmond has to do with the death of this Senator - as if pointing him out cancels anything out. That being said, in fairness to the man, he both apologized and repudiated his affiliation as did Thurmond (mostly, though not his stance on state rights). Though from what I've read of Thurmond, in fairness to the man he didn't have the same affiliations with the Ku Klux Klan as Byrd did. Further, Thurmond fought for state rights - which I think while a legitimate position to have, was/is un-PC.

    What is less excusable (and no wonder that those who have a misguided believe in big government love Byrd), is his record as "Emperor Palpatine of Pork" spending hundreds of millions on monuments in homage to himself

    This is a man who pushed his state to build a statue for himself "in defiance of a rule that such honorees be dead for 50 years."

    A pulled quote from an article at Reason:
    http://reason.com/blog/2010/06/28/lets-not-forget-sen-byrds-nega
    In his over forty-eight years (!) in the United States Senate, Senator Byrd has achieved a pork record that is second to none. From the Robert C. Byrd Expressway to the Robert C. Byrd Freeway; the Robert C. Byrd Institute to the Robert C. Byrd Federal Building (both of them), Senator Byrd has truly left his mark on West Virginia --- and the federal budget. (And let us not overlook the proposed Robert C. Byrd rooms in the U.S. Capitol.) It would be appropriate to erect some kind of monument to his century-spanning resume --- except that he already did so himself.

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    Jun 28, 2010 5:06 PM GMT
    riddler78 said...Further, Thurmond fought for state rights - which I think while a legitimate position to have, was/is un-PC.

    State Rights was the legal prop for segregation, especially in the Deep South. As such it became a euphemism for prejudice, and opposition to Black civil rights. Not that the 2 issues are directly linked, but a parallel can be drawn in a tactical sense between the contemporary use of Family Values to suppress Gay civil rights.

    But as I noted above, Thurmond was so "respected" that praising him at his 100th birthday cost the Republican Senate Majority Leader his job, in a Republican Senate. So who's the one doing the "white-washing," and I do mean White.
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    Jun 28, 2010 5:22 PM GMT
    az_softball_guy saidBecause the crazy liberals love praising someone who hated black people but later "felt sorry" for his actions.

    There is no doubt that Byrd - like most people - was a product of his environment.
    An environment that back then was overtly racist.
    What is noteworthy is that he grew beyond his early prejudices.

    riddler78 said Not sure what Thurmond has to do with the death of this Senator - as if pointing him out cancels anything out.

    No one said they "cancel", but I for one would certainly give Thurmond the same leeway I gave Byrd above.

    To answer your question, the reason Thurmond's past was mentioned is to show the (potential) cynical hypocrisy of those who rush to discuss Byrd's past. It's as if they are more interested in muckracking (or dragging Byrd through the mud) than they are actually concerned about civil rights (today, let alone nearly 100 years ago).
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    Jun 28, 2010 5:23 PM GMT
    Wilton said
    riddler78 said...Further, Thurmond fought for state rights - which I think while a legitimate position to have, was/is un-PC.

    State Rights was the legal prop for segregation, especially in the Deep South. As such it became a euphemism for prejudice, and opposition to Black civil rights. Not that the 2 issues are directly linked, but a parallel can be drawn in a tactical sense between the contemporary use of Family Values to suppress Gay civil rights.

    But as I noted above, Thurmond was so "respected" that praising him at his 100th birthday cost the Republican Senate Majority Leader his job, in a Republican Senate. So who's the one doing the "white-washing," and I do mean White.


    You appear to be (conveniently?) imprecise about your recollection of history. Trent Lott resigned for more than just his praise of Thurmond. Just as a point of fact, praise for Thurmond is not/was not controversial. It was more specifically what he said and what he praised: "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either." What was very objectionable were the segregationist and plainly racist views that Thurmond had during that period.

    Of course, what really did Trent Lott in was his support for things like the $300M railway to nowhere, pork barrel spending and the appearance of conflicts of interest post Katrina. I don't find it terribly odd that those like you seem to forget these little tidbits when they criticize the Tea Party movement - and wonder where fiscal conservatives were under Bush. Well, many were there and active in the pork buster movement (http://www.pajamasmedia.com/instapundit-archive/archives/029532.php) which was the predecessor to the Tea Partiers who span the political spectrum.
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    Jun 28, 2010 5:33 PM GMT
    Wilton said
    riddler78 said...Further, Thurmond fought for state rights - which I think while a legitimate position to have, was/is un-PC.

    State Rights was the legal prop for segregation, especially in the Deep South. As such it became a euphemism for prejudice, and opposition to Black civil rights. Not that the 2 issues are directly linked, but a parallel can be drawn in a tactical sense between the contemporary use of Family Values to suppress Gay civil rights.

    But as I noted above, Thurmond was so "respected" that praising him at his 100th birthday cost the Republican Senate Majority Leader his job, in a Republican Senate. So who's the one doing the "white-washing," and I do mean White.


    State rights really just comes down to institutionalized bigotry and theocracy. The fact that people cant see this is just sad.
  • darkeyedresol...

    Posts: 171

    Jun 28, 2010 5:39 PM GMT
    I actually wonder what this means for the Senate from a working stand point and contributes to what has been a decline of leadership and experience in the Senate. With Kennedy and Byrd both passing, Bennett and Specter being knocked out in primaries; the Senate has lost four very experienced senators who know how to work out deals and get things done.

    The idea of the Senate as cool and collected, above the raucous fray of the House, is fading and it could accelerate now.

    As far as Byrd, I am not going to pronounce judgement on his soul or anything like that. He was a part of the KKK and then apologized for those actions and continued to do so. He did know how to open the gates of federal money and poured it into his state, which all Senators do. The fact he did it best draws both ire and should draw respect, he was truly a politician of an old school.

    I bet the residents of WV will miss him though, that money is not going to be flowing so easily anymore if ever again.
  • creature

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    Jun 28, 2010 5:47 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    OtterJoq saidThanks, Wilton.

    The wingnuts love to point to Byrd's racist past while willfully ignoring Thurmond's.

    Shameful, but predictable.

    Thurmond didn't just die. Had RJ been around (and I a member) at that time, I would have pointed it out as well.

    BUT.... I'm sure most on here had no idea Byrd was involved with the KKK... and in a leadership role no less.


    Even if he was in the leadership role, so what? That's in the past. He changed. Let's not assume a holier-than-thou approach to judging a man lest you are without sin and remorse.
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    Jun 28, 2010 5:49 PM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidState rights really just comes down to institutionalized bigotry and theocracy. The fact that people cant see this is just sad.


    Sorry, but that's just sad. I happen to believe that it's good to have competition for ideas and encourage ideas to be adopted at a local level rather than forcing unpopular laws on people. Clearly you disagree. The fact that you think this to be a bigoted point of view or theocratic is perhaps a little fascist. While we might agree on the end game - that discrimination is morally wrong (and I would also argue, bad for business), I also think that how they're implemented matters.
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    Jun 28, 2010 6:07 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca saidState rights really just comes down to institutionalized bigotry and theocracy. The fact that people cant see this is just sad.


    Sorry, but that's just sad. I happen to believe that it's good to have competition for ideas and encourage ideas to be adopted at a local level rather than forcing unpopular laws on people. Clearly you disagree. The fact that you think this to be a bigoted point of view or theocratic is perhaps a little fascist. While we might agree on the end game - that discrimination is morally wrong (and I would also argue, bad for business), I also think that how they're implemented matters.


    Uh huh, the majority of people and states who argue for states rights are the same people who want to impose THEIR religion on the rest of us, want to take away a womens right to choose, want to make being gay a crime, and would most likely eliminate the minimum wage.
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    Jun 28, 2010 6:20 PM GMT
    OtterJoq saidThanks, Wilton.

    The wingnuts love to point to Byrd's racist past while willfully ignoring Thurmond's.

    Shameful, but predictable.


    Isn't this thread about Byrd? The mention of his KKK past is relevant here.

    But you are correct, RJ Wingnuts certainly do enjoy derailing topics for their own political agendas.

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    Jun 28, 2010 6:35 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said

    State rights really just comes down to institutionalized bigotry and theocracy. The fact that people cant see this is just sad.


    DoomsDayAlpaca,

    Apparently you have a major problem with the Constitution then..... as state's rights play a central role in how our nation is governed.


    Nah, I have an issue with thinly veiled bigotry. Masquerading as "freedom". Its the same reason I dislike libertarianism.
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    Jun 28, 2010 6:47 PM GMT
    I give him credit for staying a Democrat and changing his racist ways, instead of what a lot of Southern Democrats did, which was become Republican like Strom Thurmond. The Republican party will be haunted by allowing these racists in, in order to get votes. Because they were once the Party of Lincoln and most African-Americans voted Republican until Civil Rights.

    I will remember Senator Byrd for standing up for the Constitution and voting against the War in Iraq. He knows Congress has the sole power to declare war, but since WWII, Congress has authorized the President to use force and if the President deems it necessary, which is against the Constitution.

    We need more people to follow the Constitution in Congress, he will be missed for that.

  • mke_bt

    Posts: 707

    Jun 28, 2010 7:07 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    OtterJoq saidThanks, Wilton.

    The wingnuts love to point to Byrd's racist past while willfully ignoring Thurmond's.

    Shameful, but predictable.

    Thurmond didn't just die. Had RJ been around (and I a member) at that time, I would have pointed it out as well.

    BUT.... I'm sure most on here had no idea Byrd was involved with the KKK... and in a leadership role no less.


    All the media outlets have been mentioning his involvement with the KKK early in his life. Hell, even that socialist radio station NPR went into detail.
    His atonement was no deathbed conversion. He put effort into righting his wrongs.
    His stand against the war in Iraq is a perfect example of his capacity for justice.
  • darkeyedresol...

    Posts: 171

    Jun 28, 2010 7:17 PM GMT
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    southbeach1500 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said

    State rights really just comes down to institutionalized bigotry and theocracy. The fact that people cant see this is just sad.


    DoomsDayAlpaca,

    Apparently you have a major problem with the Constitution then..... as state's rights play a central role in how our nation is governed.


    Nah, I have an issue with thinly veiled bigotry. Masquerading as "freedom". Its the same reason I dislike libertarianism.


    You might feel differently if it had been the Federal Government pushing for segregation and racist policies and states pushing for equality.
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    Jun 28, 2010 7:20 PM GMT
    darkeyedresolve said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said
    southbeach1500 said
    DoomsDayAlpaca said

    State rights really just comes down to institutionalized bigotry and theocracy. The fact that people cant see this is just sad.


    DoomsDayAlpaca,

    Apparently you have a major problem with the Constitution then..... as state's rights play a central role in how our nation is governed.


    Nah, I have an issue with thinly veiled bigotry. Masquerading as "freedom". Its the same reason I dislike libertarianism.


    You might feel differently if it had been the Federal Government pushing for segregation and racist policies and states pushing for equality.


    I would, but its not, so I dont.
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    Jun 28, 2010 8:35 PM GMT
    pouncer> Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944

    LOL. I guess we should ignore everything that he said and that happened in the last 66 years, eh?

    Recall that he was then in his 20s. As he later reflected in 2005:
    I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened.

    Wikipedia adds:
    In the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) Congressional Report Card for the 108th Congress (spanning the 2003–2004 congressional session), Byrd was awarded with an approval rating of 100 percent for favoring the NAACP's position in all 33 bills presented to the United States Senate regarding issues of their concern. Only 16 other senators received that approval rating in the session. In June 2005, Byrd proposed an additional $10 million in federal funding for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., remarking that "With the passage of time, we have come to learn that his Dream was the American Dream, and few ever expressed it more eloquently."
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    Jun 28, 2010 8:42 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidApparently you have a major problem with the Constitution then..... as state's rights play a central role in how our nation is governed.

    Who has the real problem here? I have an understanding of the US Constitution, whereas you haven't got a clue. The Federal constitution is superior to all State constitutions. And when the Federal constitution has spoken on human and civil rights, States cannot reverse or defy that.

    States do govern on certain mostly local issues. That is the Federal system. Civil rights are not a local issue, however much some regressive politicians would like that to be the case.

    And so they confuse the public with breast-beating pronouncements about the sacred nature of State Rights, when invariably they're really talking about usurping the rightful Constitutional role of the United States, and more specifically as a cover for an anti-minority, racist and bigoted agenda. In modern America, behind the facade of almost every person who preaches States Rights, hides a person who thinks anti-minority bigotry & repression.
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    Jun 28, 2010 9:02 PM GMT
    The founders were afraid of national government, but thought state government would better protect the rights of the people. Sadly, the state governments have been the abusive agent and it is the national government that had to step in to protect the rights of its citizens. Good thing we passed the 14th Amendment with "equal protection under the law" clause to help protect state citizens from use and abuse of their state government.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jun 28, 2010 9:39 PM GMT
    Wilton said
    southbeach1500 saidHe had quite a remarkable life, from his membership in the Ku Klux Klan (where he held the positions of Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops) to being, right up until his death, the 3rd in line to succeed Barack Obama to the Presidency (Biden and Pelosi are ahead of him).

    You no doubt much preferred when the 98-year-old Sen. Strom Thurmond, (R) South Carolina, held this same position. Shall we get into Thurmond's racist past? Which, unlike Byrd, he did little to repudiate before he died.

    In fact, Thurmond's segregationist history was so toxic that when Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi praised it in 2002, the uproar forced him to resign his Senate position, even with the Republicans in control. Whereas Byrd was admired on both side of the aisle as being the foremost authority on Senate history, rules, precedent & procedure, and was one of the few Senators who's been called its Dean during his tenure in office.



    Thanks for the excellent post, Wilton.
    Obviously, Southbeach 1500 thought he could slip this thread in here without seeming to be a rabid anti Democratic flame thrower.