View Full Version : Robert Byrd, Longest-Serving U.S. Senator, Dies at 92

06-28-2010, 06:47 AM

Robert Byrd, Longest-Serving U.S. Senator, Dies at 92

Published June 28, 2010

| FOXNews.com

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the longest-serving senator in American history, died Monday at the age of 92.

Byrd, a Democrat who served in the U.S. Senate since 1959, had been plagued by health problems in recent years and was confined to a wheelchair. He had skipped several votes in Congress in the past months.

He was the oldest member of the 111th Congress.

http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0wNdCaWbihM2FoB6K7QtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTEzMWhnaWY 0BHBvcwMxBHNlYwNzcgRjb2xvA2FjNAR2dGlkA1VTQzAwNl8x/SIG=138ngdngs/EXP=1277804566/**http%3a//www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/28/robert-byrd-longest-serving-senator-dies/

Rest in peace, beyond that, I'll bite my tongue out of respect.

06-28-2010, 08:04 AM

06-28-2010, 08:45 AM
http://d.yimg.com/a/p/rids/20100627/i/r3966515575.jpg?x=253&y=345&q=85&sig=qnJlQ2tLExkkk.Iar2w2jA--Rest in peace, beyond that, I'll bite my tongue out of respect.

That alone puts you on higher moral ground than the grave-dancers "over there".

Sorry to disappoint the DU trolls. I hope Mr. Byrd is at peace.

06-28-2010, 09:02 AM
Whatever you thought of his politics, he represented an amazing amount of Senate history.

06-28-2010, 10:12 AM
Whatever you thought of his politics, he represented an amazing amount of Senate history.

Yes, he did. He had a long and illustrious career, unfortunately marred by some virulent racism (or as the DUmmies would refer to it, "youthful indiscretions"), and while it may not be in the best of taste to bring that up, it's still something that needs to be said, especially when Obama eulogizes him and demands that the senate pass cap and trade in his memory. He wasn't simply a KKK member, he was a recruiting officer, a Kleagle, who drew members into the Klan. He was also on the record repeatedly and forcefully opposing integration, and even as late as 2001, was still using the most virulent ethic slur in public:

when asked by Fox News Sunday morning talk show host Tony Snow about the state of race relations in America. Sen. Byrd warned: "There are white ******s. I've seen a lot of white ******s in my time. I'm going to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much."

Byrd's racism was not a minor flirtation but a longstanding commitment, which culminated in his filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It will be interesting to watch Democrats skirt his history on race (not to mention the Black Congression Caucus) as they tell us about his career.

Just for the record, Wikipedia's entry on Byrd contains the following:

Byrd joined the Ku Klux Klan when he was 24 in 1942. His local chapter unanimously elected him the top officer of their unit.[8]

According to Byrd, a Klan official told him, "You have a talent for leadership, Bob... The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd later recalled, "suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities! I was only 23 or 24 years old, and the thought of a political career had never really hit me. But strike me that night, it did."[8] Byrd held the titles Kleagle (recruiter) and Exalted Cyclops.[8]

In 1944, Byrd wrote to segregationist Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo:[15]

“ 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, [8][16]

When running for the United States House of Representatives in 1952, he announced "After about a year, I became disinterested, quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan." He said he had joined the Klan because he felt it offered excitement and was anti-communist.[8] However, in 1946 or 1947 he wrote a letter to a Grand Wizard stating, "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation." [17]

In 1997, he told an interviewer he would encourage young people to become involved in politics, but to "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." [18] In his latest autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a member because he "was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision—a jejune and immature outlook—seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions."[19] Byrd also said, 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. ”
— Robert C. Byrd, [8]

He deserves to be remembered as someone who gave his constituents what they wanted, and who they rewarded with the longest congressional tenure in American history, but if there's any justice, his eternal flame ought to be in the shape of a burning cross.

06-28-2010, 10:22 AM
A few of his lifetime highlights, from Fox News:

*Nov. 8, 2009 -- Byrd became the longest serving member in Congress in history.
*June 12, 2006 -- Byrd became the longest serving senator in history.
*Nov. 2006 -- Byrd was elected to his 9TH FULL TERM. (So - Byrd was closing in on his 58th year in the Congress).

*Byrd was President pro tempore, which is the highest ranking member of the Senate & the 2nd highest ranking member of Congress after the Speaker.
*That made Byrd technically the 3rd person in the line of succession to the President, but Democratic sources quietly said on background that Byrd would sign those powers away in the event of an opening.
*In mid-2008, Democratic leaders pushed Byrd from his chairmanship of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, due to his failing health and frequent absences from work.
*On Dec. 24, 2009, an emotional Byrd yelled to the chair during the critical cloture vote on health care, "Mr. President, this is for my friend, Ted Kennedy! AYE!"
*Supported BOTH Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts & Justice Samuel Alito.
*Byrd was a member of the "Gang of 14" - which averted a judicial crisis in the Senate.
*Sole Democrat to vote for the CENSURE of President Bill Clinton -- BUT voted against impeachment.

>>Byrd was elected to more positions by colleagues than any other senator in Senate history:
*Democratic leader: 1977-80 (Majority); 1981-86 (Minority); 1987-88 (Majority)
*Democratic Whip: 1971-77
*Secretary, Democratic conference: 1967-71
*There was perhaps no greater opponent of President George W. Bush than Byrd. He wrote: Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Dangerous Presidency. The senator gave numerous speeches on the Senate floor in opposition to the war in Iraq; to signing statements; to anything the senator perceived as an infringement on Congresional powers.
*1964 --- Byrd conducted one of the longest true filibusters in Senate history -- against civil rights legislation.
*1958 -- first elected to Senate.
*1952 --- started in Congress when elected to the House.
*Served in the W.VA House and Senate.
*Joined the KKK at age 24 -- liked that it was anti-Communist. It's a membership for which Byrd has repeatedly apologized.
*Attended GWU Law School & graduated w/ his law degree from American University.
*In 2007 to AP, Byrd issued the following statement: "It isn't a news flash that I'm getting older or that I walk with canes...Age really is not the issue it may appear to be. When it comes to political office, what really matters are things like drive, determination and the desire to serve. The ability to look to the future with an eye toward the possibilities and how to make them reality is much more important than a number that denotes one's years on this earth."
*Also to AP, though it's unclear where it falls in this above statement: "I'm told that 90 is the new 80...I am proud of my white mane, but I still long for the black hair of my youth."
*According to Cumberland Times-News, 6/26/10: Sen. Robert C. Byrd's name appears the most on bridges and highways among individuals - at least eight times. They include the Robert C. Byrd Expressway and Robert C. Byrd Bridge in Ohio County; Robert C. Byrd Highway (Corridor H); Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System (also Corridor H); Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System (Corridor G/U.S. 119); Robert C. Byrd Bridge in Huntington; Robert C. Byrd Interchange at Birch River; Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System (Corridor L/I-77).

*Hospitalized three times in 2009 --- left him frail, weak, and wheelchair-bound. Nevertheless, he voted fairly regularly -- wheeled in by a staffer into the chamber.
*Feb. 2008 -- Byrd fell at his home & was taken to the hospital after being at work for a time; the Senate doctor sent him to the hospital. No broken bones. Just days later, Byrd came down with a urinary tract infection & was rushed to the hospital; he then had a reaction to the antibiotics. AFTER ALL THAT -- he contracted a staph infection - and would be hospitalized for a time to deal with that. Byrd would have to undergo physical therapy to recuperate. The staph infection would return in 2009.
*Jan. 20, 2009 -- Byrd was at the same table with Sen. Ted Kennedy when the late senator had a seizure. Byrd was reportedly VERY emotional, but his staff would later say he was fine. Byrd gave an emotional tribute to his friend when Kennedy died. I remember him yelling, "Ted! Ted!" while crying.

*Perhaps no greater milestone in his life came when in March 2006 his childhood sweetheart, Erma Ora Byrd(born Erma Ora James), died (they met in high school). Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.VA has a nursing facility named for Erma. Also at the school, a science center is named for the senator, a master at bringing home the bacon to his state.
*Avid fiddle player. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Grand Ole Opry, and HEE HAW! He has recorded a number of records/CD's.
*He has appeared in a number of movies, including Gods & Generals, with former Sen. George Allen.
*West Virginia's legislature was so grateful to Byrd they named him "West Virginian of the 20th century."
*Born Cornelius Calvin Sale in NC -- but his mom died of pneumonia when he was one year old. Her children were divided among relatives; the baby was raised by Titus and Vlurma Byrd, who changed the baby's name and raised him in coal country in southern West Virginia.
*Another major milestone -- the passing of his beloved dog, Billy Byrd. He kept a picture of the dog on his mantle in his office. Byrd always talked about his dog, a Maltese, and when Billy Byrd died in 2002, Byrd said, "I lost one of my best friends today." Byrd, a major dog lover, soon got another pooch, a Shih Tzu this time -- naming it Trouble.
*An avid dog lover, Byrd was enraged by the revelations of a brutal dog-fighting ring run by Atlanta Falcons' quarterback Michael Vick. In a July 19, 2007 speech, Byrd condemned Vick and even called for the death penalty for anyone found guilty of such brutality to animals, calling the guilty parties "sadistic."
*And he said: "I am confident that the hottest places in Hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt!
*Byrd is referred to as the "historian of the Senate," having written a massive series

*Byrd loved members of the 4th estate. He would often come to the print gallery for pen & pad sessions with us -- holding court in his formal 3-piece suits. Byrd was quite the dresser! He would always greet you with a big smile and ask how you're doing.
*He would often sing when coming into work. Byrd truly loved the Senate. On a number of occasions, even in his wheelchair, I'd hear him sing, "Oh when the saints..."
*Byrd was a staunch defender of all-things-coal. He vehemently opposed any infringement on the industry that has been the lifeline of his tiny state -- strongly opposing any cap & trade effort.

06-28-2010, 03:54 PM
RIP, Senator Byrd.

I don't hold his KKK membership against him. It was a long time ago, and people often do things they later regret.

Occasionally, I'd see him on C-Span in years past. I actually enjoyed listening to him. Compared to some of the characters sitting in the Senate today or who recently occupied a seat, he was a master at speaking. Byrd was about the last of the old time political orators. When he spoke, he was truly a voice from the past, reminding me in a small way of Dirksen and others.

I knew he was failing better than a year ago, just from watching him.

06-28-2010, 04:07 PM
So, when's the special election?

06-28-2010, 04:15 PM
Bryd was one of the old boys that although I dissagreed with his positions on most items when he got into an oratory they were almost homilies in nature. Never failed no matter the subject matter he could sneak in a bit about his beloved dog Billy Byrd.

06-28-2010, 06:33 PM
RIP, Senator Byrd.

I don't hold his KKK membership against him. It was a long time ago, and people often do things they later regret.

Joining the KKK when you're young and stupid is one thing. Becoming a recruiter and officer in the KKK and fighting for segregation for over twenty years is not exactly a youthful indiscretion, it's a longstanding pattern. If liberals can hold George W. Bush accountable for things that didn't happen in 1970, why can't we hold Robert Byrd accountable for things that did happen in 1964?

06-28-2010, 06:51 PM
So long Sheets.

I'm sure many Black Americans are sleeping better tonight...oh wait, what am I thinking?

06-28-2010, 07:34 PM
So, when's the special election?

There will be none. The Dem Gov. appoints his replacement.

06-28-2010, 07:40 PM
There will be none. The Dem Gov. appoints his replacement.

Shit. I was afraid of that. Thanks, you bastard.

06-28-2010, 07:50 PM
There will be none. The Dem Gov. appoints his replacement.

How long will the replacement hold the seat?

06-28-2010, 07:51 PM
How long will the replacement hold the seat?

Till November?

06-28-2010, 07:52 PM
Till November?

Is that correct?

06-28-2010, 08:53 PM
Is that correct?

Yeppers, If Bryd would have made it about a week longer the Gov would have named a replacement to fill the remainder of Bryds term as it is the replacement fills in until a special election in Nov.

06-28-2010, 09:00 PM
Yeppers, If Bryd would have made it about a week longer the Gov would have named a replacement to fill the remainder of Bryds term as it is the replacement fills in until a special election in Nov.

Zeus, you made my day. You should be a god or something.

06-28-2010, 09:05 PM
Saw him once go onstage with Charlie Daniels. He had a suit on, American Flag tie, about 2 1/2 sheets to the wind. He had a fiddle and played and sang a couple of songs.


06-28-2010, 09:16 PM
...about 2 1/2 sheets to the wind.


Calypso Jones
06-28-2010, 09:30 PM
Apparently the only way we're gonna get rid of these fools is if they die off.

06-28-2010, 10:10 PM
I couldn't stand that guy and his grandstanding. He was all about partisan politics. Both sides have the partisans, and he was one who got under my last nerve.

06-28-2010, 11:14 PM
I couldn't stand that guy and his grandstanding. He was all about partisan politics. Both sides have the partisans, and he was one who got under my last nerve.
With all due respect for the deceased, I honestly believe that on any given day he didn't know what day of the week it was for at least 10 years now... Probably longer.

06-29-2010, 12:17 AM
WV law gives Gov. Joe Manchin (D) the power to appoint Byrd's replacement. If a vacancy occurs within 2 and a half years of the beginning of the next term, the governor appoints a replacement until that next election. But state law says an election must be called if a vacancy occurs more than 2 and a half years before a term expires. Byrd's term would have had 2 and a half years left as of next week -- July 3.

But remember Kennedy's seat and the tricks the dims tried to pull and rewrite the law to fit what they wanted. Expect it here.

06-29-2010, 12:23 AM
But remember Kennedy's seat and the tricks the dims tried to pull and rewrite the law to fit what they wanted. Expect it here.

And in the news today.

What Will Happen to Byrdís Senate Seat?


June 28, 2010

Ö Mr. Byrd, a Democrat who died early Monday at age 92, was the longest serving United States senator, having spent 51 years there. Now, in a competitive midterm election year, as Republicans work to win control of the House and Senate, do they suddenly have a fresh opportunity to pick up another seat?

The duty of selecting an interim successor to Mr. Byrd falls to Gov. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat. No announcements are expected on Monday or even this week, Democrats say, out of respect for Mr. Byrd and his familyÖ

While the governor will appoint a fellow Democrat to serve as the next senator from West Virginia, it remains an open question how many months the appointed senator would serve.

Democrats believe that the filing deadline for November has passed and an interim senator should remain in office through the remainder of Mr. Byrdís term, which ends on Jan. 3, 2013. But some Republicans believe that West Virginia law provides for a special election to be held in November because more than two and a half years of Mr. Byrdís Senate term remains.


06-29-2010, 12:37 AM
The Dems are still trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic apparently.

06-29-2010, 12:53 AM
I hope their ship really is sinking. so far i see one detrimental accomplishment after another.

06-29-2010, 02:56 AM
I don't hold his KKK membership against him. It was a long time ago, and people often do things they later regret.
Interesting comment considering that Trent Lott lost his job as Senate Majority Leader because he said that when Strom Thurmond(a stern segregationist in his earlier career) was running for President, he and his family were proud of him. So, if Trent Lott can have something he felt as a child held against him, Byrd's membership in the Klan can be held against him. While I'm sorry for his family and my Christian values prohibit me in saying how I really feel, I hope he met his maker with a load in his celestial pants. And I ask you, do you think a Republican would be given the same respect?

06-29-2010, 05:49 AM
So he was the last ex-Klan member in the Senate?

06-29-2010, 12:46 PM
GOP'ers would be raked over the coals. This fact alone should tell us which party still (temporarily?) holds the moral high ground.

06-30-2010, 10:12 AM
Did anyone mention that he was an egomaniac?
From National Review Online (http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/230369/perhaps-west-virginia-could-remember-byrd-naming-something-after-him):

Perhaps West Virginia Could Remember Byrd by Naming Something After Him

June 28, 2010 10:17 AM By Jim Geraghty
How do you measure the legacy of the departed West Virginia senator? I look at this . . .

Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd addition to the lodge at Oglebay Park, Wheeling
Byrd Aerospace Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd Bridge between Huntington and Chesapeake, Ohio
Robert C. Byrd Cancer Research Center
Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition to the veteransí hospital in Huntington
Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Pine Grove
Robert C. Byrd Community Center in the naval [communications] station, Sugar Grove
Robert C. Byrd Drive, from Beckley to Sophia (Byrdís hometown)
Robert C. Byrd Expressway, U.S. 22 near Weirton Robert C. Byrd Federal Building
Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse
Robert C. Byrd Freeway
Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope
Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center, near Princeton
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia
Robert C. Byrd High school in Bridgeport
Robert C. Byrd Highway
Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex, Mineral County
Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships
Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park, Hardy County
Robert C. Byrd Institute in Charleston
Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing
Robert C. Byrd Library and Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center
Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center
Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam
Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center
Robert C. Byrd Rural Health Center
Robert C. Byrd Scholastic Recognition Award
Byrd Science Center, Shepherd University
Robert C. Byrd Technology Center at Alderson-Broaddus College
Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center
Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

. . . and think of one word: modesty.

07-10-2010, 08:45 PM

He'd have wanted it this way.