Robert Byrd, RIP (updated)

Senator Robert Byrd has died at the age of 92. The former Klu Klux Klan official was no favorite of mine, for he turned from racist politics to pork politics, of which he was a master, bringing billions of dollars of federal spending to his economically beleaguered state. Scott Johnson of Powerline followed Byrd's career, and reminds us of the following:

Byrd was 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 was 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 18 other Democrats -- in the name of the Constitution, of course.

As one would expect, many media are downplaying the disgraceful past of Byrd, solely because he is a Democrat. Adam Clymer of the New York Times wrote an obituary that took 18 paragraphs to get to a mention of the Klan. Andrew Taylor of AP took 23 paragraphs. Joe Holley of the WaPo took only five grafs, which is almost fair. But asks yourself if a leading Republican with a racist background had died, would it take multiple paragraphs before it was mentioned? Come to think of it, are there any leading Republicans with such a racist background?

On the plus side, Sen. Byrd liked to quote Cicero, and knew the Senate rules very well.

Update:

There is a question as to whether or not a special election will be held to replace Byrd in the Senate. Paul Kane of the Washington Post writes:
State law mandates that, if a Senate vacancy occurs more than 2 1/2 years before the term is up, a special election be held to fill the seat. There were exactly two years, six months and five days left in Byrd's term when he died.

However, the law states that the special election would only occur after a candidate "has been nominated at the primary election next following such timely filing and has thereafter been elected."

Because West Virginia held its 2010 primary almost two months ago, many election law experts read that provision to mean that the "next" primary would not be until spring 2012, before the general election in November, 2012. Some legal experts, speaking privately out of deference to Byrd's family, wondered whether this wording could open a legal challenge and force a special election this November, similar to those happening in Delaware and New York to fill the remainder of Senate terms vacated by Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Richard Baehr adds:

A few years back, I referred to the late Senator/Klansman Robert Byrd as a Cicero spouting gas bag. It is bad luck for the Democrats that he died before July 3rd. Had he died on July 3rd or later, the socially conservative and popular Democratic Governor Joe Manchin (pro-coal, pro-gun, pro-life) could have appointed a replacement to serve through 2012.  But due to the timing of Byrd's death, the appointee will only serve though January 2011, and a special election will be held to fill the seat for two years in November.

By far the strongest Democratic candidate is the Governor. Will he resign and be appointed by the Lt. Governor and run, giving him the advantage in November of incumbency, or will he name an interim Senator, and run in November? The strongest GOP candidate is Congresswoman Shelley Capito, but she may wait for Jay Rockefeller, who is only brain dead, to retire in 2012.  

West Virginia has a huge Democratic registration advantage but has voted with the GOP in the last three Presidential races, the last two by 13% margins.  The state loves government largesse, but is also very socially conservative.  One of the better lines about Senator Byrd came from former Senate Majority leader Bob Dole, who said that it was a good thing that Byrd never became commissioner of baseball, since all the franchises would have been forced to move to West Virginia. On the schedule tonight: the Elkins Indians versus the Beckley Tigers, and the Bluefield Dodgers versus the Parkersburg Pirates

Senator Robert Byrd has died at the age of 92. The former Klu Klux Klan official was no favorite of mine, for he turned from racist politics to pork politics, of which he was a master, bringing billions of dollars of federal spending to his economically beleaguered state. Scott Johnson of Powerline followed Byrd's career, and reminds us of the following:

Byrd was 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 was 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 18 other Democrats -- in the name of the Constitution, of course.

As one would expect, many media are downplaying the disgraceful past of Byrd, solely because he is a Democrat. Adam Clymer of the New York Times wrote an obituary that took 18 paragraphs to get to a mention of the Klan. Andrew Taylor of AP took 23 paragraphs. Joe Holley of the WaPo took only five grafs, which is almost fair. But asks yourself if a leading Republican with a racist background had died, would it take multiple paragraphs before it was mentioned? Come to think of it, are there any leading Republicans with such a racist background?

On the plus side, Sen. Byrd liked to quote Cicero, and knew the Senate rules very well.

Update:

There is a question as to whether or not a special election will be held to replace Byrd in the Senate. Paul Kane of the Washington Post writes:
State law mandates that, if a Senate vacancy occurs more than 2 1/2 years before the term is up, a special election be held to fill the seat. There were exactly two years, six months and five days left in Byrd's term when he died.

However, the law states that the special election would only occur after a candidate "has been nominated at the primary election next following such timely filing and has thereafter been elected."

Because West Virginia held its 2010 primary almost two months ago, many election law experts read that provision to mean that the "next" primary would not be until spring 2012, before the general election in November, 2012. Some legal experts, speaking privately out of deference to Byrd's family, wondered whether this wording could open a legal challenge and force a special election this November, similar to those happening in Delaware and New York to fill the remainder of Senate terms vacated by Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Richard Baehr adds:

A few years back, I referred to the late Senator/Klansman Robert Byrd as a Cicero spouting gas bag. It is bad luck for the Democrats that he died before July 3rd. Had he died on July 3rd or later, the socially conservative and popular Democratic Governor Joe Manchin (pro-coal, pro-gun, pro-life) could have appointed a replacement to serve through 2012.  But due to the timing of Byrd's death, the appointee will only serve though January 2011, and a special election will be held to fill the seat for two years in November.

By far the strongest Democratic candidate is the Governor. Will he resign and be appointed by the Lt. Governor and run, giving him the advantage in November of incumbency, or will he name an interim Senator, and run in November? The strongest GOP candidate is Congresswoman Shelley Capito, but she may wait for Jay Rockefeller, who is only brain dead, to retire in 2012.  

West Virginia has a huge Democratic registration advantage but has voted with the GOP in the last three Presidential races, the last two by 13% margins.  The state loves government largesse, but is also very socially conservative.  One of the better lines about Senator Byrd came from former Senate Majority leader Bob Dole, who said that it was a good thing that Byrd never became commissioner of baseball, since all the franchises would have been forced to move to West Virginia. On the schedule tonight: the Elkins Indians versus the Beckley Tigers, and the Bluefield Dodgers versus the Parkersburg Pirates

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