Sen. Robert Byrd Dead at 92

Tom Coburn finally gets his wish.

Time has a short, early obit.

WaPo has much more history and context here.

NYTimes. ABC.

Twitter, the spit valve on the Sad Trombone of Humanity head shunt on the Hive-Brain of the Internet, collects the hate-filled discharge.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 06/28/10 at 05:24 AM • Permalink

Categories: NewsPolitics

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Byrd was an interesting, complex figure. He was rare in that he was capable of changing for the better, especially in his later years.

RIP, Mr. Byrd.

RIP, Senator.

Long ago I knew someone who was briefly a reporter in Wheeling.  She said Byrd was a fan of the Senate from the get-go, and even more so the Constitution, and he always had a somewhat lofty - maybe even romantic - view of his job.

It was WV citizens and newspaper op-ed writers who got after him to bring the bacon home.  For that reason, as noted on NPR today, he was always unapologetic about his nickname Prince of Pork (and maybe some variants of same) - just doing the job his constituents sent him to DC to do.  [Maybe the Fonz of Freedom (h/t Cole) can send a contingent of Reason writers to change the minds of the state citizens.  (Hey, Cole lives there! That could be entertaining!)]

And I ain’t even going to that Byrd-KKK link; knew that one was coming as soon as I heard he died.  Wingnut classiness is a very predictable thing.

I used to live in WV,Byrd was right on about some issues,dead wrong on others,but certainly more good than bad.  As far as his KKK/anti-civil rights stances go,at least Byrd apologized.  Strom Thurmond never did.

Strom Thurmond never did.

True enough, and you don’t even have to go back that far.  Take the case of known racist* Jeff Sessions, who’s not only in the Senate, but on the frickin’ Judiciary Committee.  His tweeking of Sotomayor regarding aspects of her Puerto Rican background - ‘wise Latina’, orgs she belonged to, etc. - must have played well with the old school crackers back home in Alabammy.  At the time, I had to turn the damn radio off, the hypocrisy was too much to take.

*Also, and too.

Comment by meepmeep09 on 06/28/10 at 08:59 AM

My family is from West Virginia and they all supported Senator Byrd. He was their voice, and going back fifty/sixty years or more, a good many of them were racists, too. I’m not excusing him for his Klan mentality, but he was a man of his time and surroundings, and that’s the way it was then.

He apologized and said he would continue to do so for the rest of his life. He spoke out against Mountain Top Removal and against the Massey mines, he was against the Iraq war and he spoke up in a vote in Ted Kennedy’s name. Byrd wasn’t perfect, but he dedicated his life to his people and admitted when he was wrong.  There are too many bigots today who won’t do it.

He was an extraordinary presence, and capable of learning well past the age where people dig into their chosen ideological fortresses.

There’s no getting around the ugliness of his white separatist past, including the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act, but the tweeted cries of of “Opportunist!” disclose more feelings of betrayal than the wingnut twits realize.

I wish I knew who to credit for the quote I’m about to butcher, but someone once said of Byrd something to the effect of “y’ever notice that the only guy whose racist past conservatives can’t forgive is the one who apologized?”

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