Robert Byrd Dies


Unlike other prominent Senate Democrats such as 2004 presidential
nominee John Kerry of Massachusetts, who voted to authorize the war in
Iraq, Byrd stood firm in opposition — and felt gratified when public
opinion swung behind him.

“The people are becoming more and more aware that we were
hoodwinked, that the leaders of this country misrepresented or
exaggerated the necessity for invading Iraq,” Byrd said.

He cited Iraq when he endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama for the
Democratic presidential nomination in May 2008, calling Obama “a
shining young statesman, who possesses the personal temperament and
courage necessary to extricate our country from this costly

Byrd’s accomplishments followed a childhood of poverty in West
Virginia, and his success on the national stage came despite a
complicated history on racial matters. As a young man, we was a member
of the Ku Klux Klan for a brief period, and he joined Southern
Democrats in an unsuccessful filibuster against the landmark 1964 Civil
Rights Act.

He later apologized for both actions, saying intolerance has no
place in America. While supporting later civil rights bills, he opposed
busing to integrate schools.


4 thoughts on “Robert Byrd Dies

  1. What I’ve always found most interesting about Byrd was that it wasn’t easy to completely demonize him or to completely admire him, even though he did some things over his long career that were despicable and other things that were admirably progressive. Most Congresspeople now try their hardest to be easily categorizable products, as easy to market and sell as dish soap.

  2. Indeed, a good example of someone who belonged to a major party yet still acted as independently as is possible in that environment.

  3. good interview with him on fresh air. damn. he had a fine voice. i want his CD. if only i wasn’t peeved by his pale blue suit when i was a c-span junkie.
    i wonder if i could get my hands on his congressional memorial book. i sold my sen. taft? one when i got my fighting bob lafollett one.

  4. Did he ever apologize for backing Obama and his merry band of corporatists? I think not.

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