January 25, 2005

Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WVa)

If you drive through the cities and small towns here in West Virginia you cannot help but see the name Byrd wherever you look. Schools, roads, government offices, industrial parks, the good senator has been bringing home the bacon for more than 30 years.

However, in recent years we have been seeing a new side of the old man. First he spoke out against the war, then he wrote a book that called the president "reckless and arrogant" right in the title, now he's opposing the confirmation of Condi, accusing her of being "responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the administration used to scare the American people". As a liberal in a state that went for the prez I approve of Byrd's upholding traditional Democratic values. I appreciate his defiance, even if it is only because he is trying to protect his own power.

What I find interesting is that two civil rights groups are accusing Byrd of opposing "Dr." Rice just because she's black. You see, Byrd joined the Klan back in the 40's and, although he'd renounced it by 1952 when he started his political career, it keeps coming up. I'm not sure if he is still prejudiced against blacks; I've heard he's still a bit of a sexist pig. Regardless of any of that, I doubt he's as bothered by her being a black woman as he is of her being a Bushie. He's really pissed at the Bush administration for appropriating the powers of the Congress. His powers. Checks and balances. It's all in the Constitution. Byrd loves the Constitution. He probably has it memorized. This racisim talk is all bullshit.

The statewide alternative newspaper named him 'Eer (mountaineer) of the year. In the article they quote extensively from Jessie Jackson. “He’s the product of a culture that had a distorted view of the American promise,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson. “But some people are blessed to be able to grow beyond the limits of their culture, and he speaks now with a broader vision.”

Whatever the reasons, however it happened, I'm just glad to have such a learned and influential man on my side.

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