A Pork Farmer's Palimpsest


Robert Byrd has a new autobiography out, and at 770 pages, it should make for some light and lazy summer reading. Say what you will of Byrd, he speaks the truth:

The Washington critics of 'pork' had a full-time job in trying to keep up with me.

On the other hand, Byrd's take on his youthful Klan indiscretion isn't quite so believable:

My only explanation for the entire episode is that I 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.

Even granting the benefit of the doubt to the 20-something year-old Byrd, he's had more than 60 years in which to revise his judgment that the Klan's membership included "many of the 'best' people."

Link via Rick Brookhiser, who wonders if Byrd might have misspelled his official Klan title of "Exalted Cyclops."