Robert Byrd

Monday, June 28th, 2010

So if I’m correctly reading the various tributes to Sen. Robert Byrd floating around the web this morning, I’m supposed to celebrate how the man atoned for his bigotry earlier in life by devoting the rest of his life to public service . . . where he used other people’s money to build monuments to himself.

That this could be considered a form of redemption says all you need to know about what the political class considers important.

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58 Responses to “Robert Byrd”

  1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    It is redemption for only the entitled political class, not for the rest of us.

  2. #2 |  Mattocracy | 

    If Byrd was a Republican, there would be no tributes. But he had the right letter after his name, so there you go.

    In my humble opinion, people should only get tributes for private sector accomplishments. I’d rather see a monument with Dave Thomas’s face and the Wendy’s logo in DC rather than any politician.

  3. #3 |  Mitch | 

    Redemption? In 1997 he told a reporter, “Be sure you avoid the Ku Klux Klan. Don’t get that albatross around your neck. Once you’ve made that mistake, you inhibit your operations in the political arena.” Yes, he sounds like he really regrets his former beliefs.

    “I shall never fight in the armed forces 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.”

    — Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944

    The level of apologetics for Byrd that I’m seeing on the web is mind boggling; only slightly less puzzling than the way he always managed to get elected despite (because of?) his past.

  4. #4 |  flukebucket | 

    If Byrd was a Republican, there would be no tributes.

    God damn man. Are you serious?

  5. #5 |  Matt | 

    @Mitch

    He regretted being associated with the KKK, likely not the beliefs that the KKK enshrined. All signs pointed to him being a racist throughout his life. But no only having unconscionable beliefs, he made a career of bilking the populace. I’m glad to see him out of Congress, too bad it had to be via his death.

  6. #6 |  Kristen | 

    Unbelieveably, I saw a tribute on the local Fox station (DC) that talked about all his pork, and not in a negative way.

    WTF?

  7. #7 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ 4,

    I should have been more specific, there would be no liberal apologists for Byrd. I’m sure the conservatives would come out like they did for Strom Thurmond. Hannity always loved the fact that he could point a Democrat and scream “Klansman!” and not have to defend Byrd had he been a Republican.

  8. #8 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Kristen,
    The majority of Americans love, enjoy, cheer for, embrace, and wax poetic about pork. It is precious to them.

    Look at the eco-summit going on that is pitting Keynes-lickers against some folks that are finally considering maybe just maybe cutting back on gov deficit spending a tiny bit for a short time. Since these are all democracies we’re talking about, the pork-loving debt increasers will “win”*. Foxes not just guarding the hen house, but managing the whole fucking farm.

    *Until the whole thing crashes again, but they still win because the response will be to increase government even more post-crash.

  9. #9 |  Matthew Peck | 

    As a friend of mine just said, “Murtha, Kennedy, Byrd… let’s keep that train rolling.”

  10. #10 |  Aresen | 

    OTOH, I understand that the Sabbat has just approved funding for the Robert Byrd Annex to the Eighth Bolgia.

  11. #11 |  MrMason | 

    #4 |  MrMason |  Your comment is awaiting moderation. June 28th, 2010 at 9:56 am
    Whelp, I was correct. After hearing about Mr. Byrd’s death, I knew I could come on over to Radley’s site for his shitty commentary. Do you feel the need to make comments about how you hate a public official even after they die? You did the same thing when Robert Kennedy passed, only you wrote an even longer article of blowhard proportions.
    Sometimes you take your libertarianism a bit too seriously. REASON must be a very, dark and lonely place to work for you to be taking pot shots at people post mortem.
    Stop being a douche. Someone died. Don’t join i

  12. #12 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The world is definitely a better place today than it was before Byrd became a U.S. Senator. And it would be better still if he had never become a Senator. Of course, that can probably be said for almost every member of Congress.

    Maybe the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Second Amendment will knock that prick off out of the lead story position in the news.

  13. #13 |  Stephen | 

    I’ll skip speaking evil of the dead. Plenty of living politicians to talk bad about.

    What I want to know is how does this change the political landscape. Does the governor appoint a new one? Special election? Elect a new one in November? Are we likely to see a change in party for his seat like we did with Kennedy?

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    MrMason —

    I inadvertently (honest!) hit the wrong button and deleted your comment while trying to approve it.

    If you repost, I’ll approve it in all its angry glory.

  15. #15 |  MrMason | 

    Whelp, I was correct. After hearing about Mr. Byrd’s death, I knew I could come on over to Radley’s site for his shitty commentary. Do you feel the need to make comments about how you hate a public official even after they die? You did the same thing when Robert Kennedy passed, only you wrote an even longer article of blowhard proportions.
    Sometimes you take your libertarianism a bit too seriously. REASON must be a very, dark and lonely place to work for you to be taking pot shots at people post mortem.

  16. #16 |  Waste93 | 

    I’d say that WV will name a monument after him. But is there anything left there that isn’t named for him already?

  17. #17 |  flukebucket | 

    #13

    Nate Silver discusses it

    John Cole also discusses it a little bit

  18. #18 |  tb | 

    Dave,

    Just the opposite. Unfortunately – though intentionally – Byrd’s death will overshadow what appears to be the court finally incorporating the 2nd Amendment.

  19. #19 |  Chris Mallory | 

    MrMason,
    Yeah, the prick is dead, but his “legacy” will live on long after. He thought nothing of piling debt on me and my children. Debt that will live on long after his death. So he deserves every bit of scorn heaped upon his rotting corpse.

  20. #20 |  Aresen | 

    Mr. Mason

    Perhaps you feel impelled by the old dictum not to speak ill of the dead.

    In Byrd’s case, we truly have a man whose evils will live long after he is gone.

  21. #21 |  Louis B. | 

    Why speak ill of the dead when you don’t have to?

  22. #22 |  Mattocracy | 

    Typical apologists.
    “You shouldn’t say anything bad about a guy who just died, no matter how many votes he casted that ignored the constitution and individal rights. Politicians should be shielded from any scrutiny when they die, because it’s mean. So I’m gonna say nasty things about you guys, so there. And cry a little bit. Cause I’m a baby. Wah.”

  23. #23 |  Joe McGuckin | 

    Back in the early ’90’s, the national debt was a third of it’s current 12 trillion dollars. Byrd bragged that he felt his crowning achievement was leading the defeat of the balanced budget amendment.

  24. #24 |  jppatter | 

    MrMason: “You did the same thing when Robert Kennedy passed, only you wrote an even longer article of blowhard proportions.”

    As I understand it, Radley was not even born yet when Robert Kennedy died. Your misguided rants would be slightly (if at all) more effective if you could at least remember which statist you are defending.

  25. #25 |  Stephen | 

    #17 | flukebucket |

    Thanks. Looks like July 3rd is an important date.

  26. #26 |  B | 

    You know who else died? Hitler! [/Godwin]

    Seriously though…everybody dies, and as far as I know, no one has ever become the more virtuous for having done so.

  27. #27 |  Cynical in CA | 

    I love it when statists die!!! It’s like an extra Christmas.

    One down, how many more to go?

  28. #28 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #18 tb

    Dave,

    Just the opposite. Unfortunately – though intentionally – Byrd’s death will overshadow what appears to be the court finally incorporating the 2nd Amendment.

    Yeah, you’re probably right. So now I’m really depressed.

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #15 MrMason

    Do you feel the need to make comments about how you hate a public official even after they die?

    Hahaha! As if dying could possibly even begin to undo the damage they do while they’re alive.

    Hell, the death of most politicians would be worth cheering about if it weren’t a near certainty that whoever succeeds them will probably be at least as bad.

    Death doesn’t redeem an asshole.

  30. #30 |  flukebucket | 

    #25 Stephen

    The politics of this will be fun to watch.

    My earliest memory of Byrd is during the blow job trials of Bill Clinton. Up until that point I was not very interested in politics but they were starting to grow on me. I had heard and heard and heard about Byrd being the lion of the Senate and the old wise man and all of that kind of shit.

    I was all excited to hear his much hyped speech and when the guy came on I thought “are you shittin’ me?”

    But the last stats I looked at had West Virginia getting back $1.76 for every $1.00 they threw into the Federal pot.

    Not bad.

  31. #31 |  Debra Dedmon | 

    I must be friends with all the right FB peeps because all Ive heard this morning in ‘ good riddance you hateful old bastard’ lol

  32. #32 |  flukebucket | 

    One down, how many more to go?

    In America? I would figure 306 million give or take a few of hundred thousand.

  33. #33 |  Joe | 

    Special Election? Maybe– but never underestimate the craveness and ability of the Democrats to cheat.

  34. #34 |  Brandon | 

    Ooh, I never get to be the first one to do this: MrMason, you’re an idiot and your post is pointlessly trying to take the moral high ground so that you don’t have to put any thought into any of the responses to it. But, if you want to at least be consistent: Hitler is dead, too. How do you feel about him?

  35. #35 |  t1 | 

    Byrd ended his membership in the Klan in 1943 – some five years before the U.S. armed forces were desegregated.

  36. #36 |  Whim | 

    Senator Harry Byrd is the type of career politician and careerist that has saddled us, our children and grandchildren with a crushing Federal debt load.
    When interest rates finally climb back to historical normal levels from their currently impossibly and implausibly artificial low levels, the debt service on the Federal debt will simply:

    EXPLODE.

  37. #37 |  Ira | 

    Byrd was a perfect Sen for WV.

    Friggin hillbillies killed my Pep Band with their thin-skinned whining.

    As for the dead guy, F him. At least now with a more junior Sen. maybe WV will be forced to pay its own damn way in the world.

    He was a good natured, hail-fellow-well-met, staunch supporter of Democratic policies and a first class bigot. I won’t weep for his bony ass one minute.

    The Democratic Party is better and stronger without him.

  38. #38 |  InMd | 

    I’m not going to defend the guy and I do agree with many of the posts made. I do feel though that before we completely wash our hands of the guy we should also consider the speech he made opposing the Iraq war in the run up to the invasion. It was prophetic to say the least.

  39. #39 |  flukebucket | 

    I wonder if a Republican Senator could get them more than $1.76 for every dollar spent in taxes.

    Not impossible. Mississippi does pretty damn well with a Republican Governor and two Republican senators.

    $2.02 for every $1.00 thrown into the pot.

  40. #40 |  Mattocracy | 

    In fairness to Byrd, he did oppose the 2003 invasion of Iraq and everything about the W administration. That might be the only good thing to say about him though. He might have amended his racist beliefs, but still hated gays till the day he died.

  41. #41 |  Kristen | 

    So, “Mr”Mason, we should never speak ill of the dead? ANY dead? As others pointed out, there’s Hitler. Pol Pot. Stalin. Ted Bundy.

    When Manson dies are you going to wax sentimental about him?

  42. #42 |  SJE | 

    What, Robert C. Byrd was a SENATOR. I thought it was the name of an architectural or construction firm, hence explaining the name appearing with no modesty all across W Va.

  43. #43 |  Federalist Paupers » Blog Archive » Truth > Propiety | 

    […] In terms of glorious viciousness in honesty, I think it’s hard to top Radley Balko’s post on the passing of Senator Robert Byrd: So if I’m correctly reading the various tributes to Sen. […]

  44. #44 |  Max | 

    On behalf of German & Polish immigrants harassed for yrs by the klan: may the racist SOB rot in hell.

  45. #45 |  ClubMedSux | 

    To MrMason and anybody else who might object to Radley’s in memoriam, you have to understand that in the view of folks like Radley, myself, and many other readers of this site, our liberty is constantly under assault by politicians who use us as pawns in their chess matches of personal glory. When a politician dies and we pay tribute to them by ignoring their trespasses and grossly distorting their supposed accomplishments, it sends a message that the “public service” of political office is so great that it eclipses any mortal sin. This is dangerous not only because it further elevates the status of the political class but also because it makes political office that much more attractive to those least inclined to actually serve the public interest: vainglorious, power-hungry hacks. As such, calling out Byrd for what he was isn’t about taking advantage of the newly-dead for political advantage; it’s about preventing statists from taking advantage of the newly-dead for their political advantage.

  46. #46 |  Aresen | 

    Tributes for the Late Senator Robert C Byrd are pouring in from all over the world:

    Another black chapter has been torn from the pages of history.” – Peter MacKay, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada

    Now he belongs to the pages. – Shri M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India

    He always stood up the little man. – Andrei Klepach, Deputy Minister, Ministry for Economic Development, Russia

  47. #47 |  croaker | 

    He has finally become a good politician.

  48. #48 |  André Kenji | 

    To me, Robert Byrd got his redemption when the voting for the Iraq War began. That´s enough to compensate a life of bigotry, pork and whatever.

  49. #49 |  Xenocles | 

    “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side…”

    Hollow words, seeing as he never seems to have fought in the armed forces with anyone by his side.

    I’m willing to donate to build the Robert C. Byrd Memorial Urinal. I ask only that the plaque goes right over the drain.

  50. #50 |  Dan Z | 

    When some people die, it’s time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or politicians, it’s time to celebrate.

  51. #51 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I hear these things happen in threes, so we have Kennedy, Murtha, and Byrd. I’m praying that we can get beyond three for this run.

  52. #52 |  JS | 

    Mr.Mason, I apologize for every bad thing I ever said about Hitler. You know, him being dead and all.

  53. #53 |  Z | 

    #6- The ultimate achievement in modern American life is to obtain government cheese. I am presently holding down two government funded jobs with a third on the horizon and thus consider myself thoroughly assimilated.

    Z who hasn’t had an independent thought in years…….

  54. #54 |  cApitalist | 

    Good riddance. Byrd was a disgrace to West Virginia.

    Ira says:
    “Byrd was a perfect Sen for WV.
    Friggin hillbillies…”

    What a classy and insightful comment. God knows only rural states elect jackasses. Am I seriously the only Mountaineer who’s going to call him out on this garbage? The irony is staggering. The pinnacle of Byrd’s vast jackassery centered on his unjustly characterizing a group of people. Clearly, Ira possesses no such predilections…

  55. #55 |  StevefromOhio | 

    And a new generation of self-serving ego suckers will step into his place to spend my money for their continued prosperity. Nothing will change.

    The problem is not the politician. The problem is the American voting populace.

  56. #56 |  Justthisguy | 

    Hell, he didn’t even belong to the _real_ Klan, the one disbanded in 1869. (He wasn’t quite THAT old.) He belonged to the Indiana, or Yankee Klan.

  57. #57 |  gs | 

    Well written, Radley: a civil appraisal but an honest one.

  58. #58 |  markm | 

    “Waste93 | June 28th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I’d say that WV will name a monument after him. But is there anything left there that isn’t named for him already?”

    Surely there’s an outhouse somewhere.

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