Turn on C-Span 2

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And watch Robert Byrd give a long speech about the fact that he is old.

If this post doesn't make sense now, surely someone will upload a video later and I'll link to it. It's… beautiful. In response to articles about how old (88) he is, Byrd is lecturing senators on how age should be respected. There was a great section on how "we see white hair on TV but it is often made up" but I may have dreamt that in a haze of giddyness.

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  1. Too bad he’s not lying with Strom Thurmond.

  2. Too bad he’s not lying with Strom Thurmond.

    Biblically!

  3. Too bad he’s not lying with Strom Thurmond.

    He’s a democrat. Who cares that he used to be a Klan member?

  4. Why, then, he’s no better than the Commie, Whittaker Chambers!!!

  5. I wouldn’t have voted for Whittaker Chambers for the Senate, either.

  6. Is he insisting that the term fillibuster be changed to “doing a Byrd”? Or maybe to change the name of his state to West Byrdginia.

  7. I like Whittaker Chambers.

    Lots of people had conversion experiences from the CP to the far right, but his ability allow humanity and decency to moderate his convert-fanaticism back to a humane liberalism in his later years speaks very highly of his character and intellect.

  8. Byrd / McCain in 2008–You can’t beat 200 years of experience.

  9. Byrd looks like he stepped out of the grave to take a piss. The shortest straw in the intern pool gets to change his diaper, what?

  10. I used to live in WV. *Everything* is named after Robert Byrd. He is the king of bringing wasteful pork projects back to his state. For example, down the road from me was a federal facility which existed to research the reproductive habits of a particular species of fruit fly. I shit you not.

  11. Is he insisting that the term fillibuster be changed to “doing a Byrd”?

    I believe the correct expression is: “Flipping the Byrd.”

  12. Despite the fact hes the biggest pork pimp in the universe, he still gets a little more respect from me for the fact that during the “gung ho lets kill them ayrabs n take out motherfuckin saddam!” days in late 2002, he was a voice of sanity.

  13. he still gets a little more respect from me for the fact that during the “gung ho lets kill them ayrabs n take out motherfuckin saddam!” days in late 2002, he was a voice of sanity

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day…

  14. joe, there are a lot of people I like who I wouldn’t want to be a Senator. My favorite bartender, for instance. Somebody, no matter how young, who was willing to be a communist or a klansman fits the bill, no matter how much I like them now.

  15. Harry Truman was once in the Klan, and he turned out OK.

    Back in the 20s and 30s, being a Communist was a common phase that people went through. It’s not as though the people doing so in that era knew what we know about the Red Terror and whatnot.

  16. Hugo Black was in the Klan, too.

    West Virginia: Byrd, Byrd, Byrd, Byrd is the word.

  17. There was a great section on how “we see white hair on TV but it is often made up”

    Did he talk about snow on the roof and fire in the furnace?

  18. Harry Truman was once in the Klan
    Bullshit

    Back in the 20s and 30s, being a Communist was a common phase that people went through. It’s not as though the people doing so in that era knew what we know about the Red Terror and whatnot.
    So??????????????????????????????????
    They knew it was collectivism. Anyone that ever had a kind word for Communism is not fit to serve in Government, period.

  19. Well, joe, I wouldn’t have voted for Truman for Senate. Sure, he was far from our worst President, but I’m sure there were people who would have been no worse, and never joined the klan, just as there were people who could have been non-horrible politicians without ever demonstrating such bad judgement as buying the hogwash being peddled by the communists. No filtering mechanism is perfect, and bypassing ex klansmen and communists is not too bad.

  20. I just accepted joe’s characterization of Truman’s past at face value. It certainly wouldn’t shock me if it were true, but I apologize to the memory of ol’ Harry if it was not the case.

  21. PJ O’Rourke was a communist, but he certainly seems to have learned his lesson.

  22. The wikipedia version of Truman’s history with the Klan:

    Harry Truman
    In 1924, Harry Truman was a judge in Jackson County, Missouri, which includes Kansas City. Truman was up for reelection, and his friends Edgar Hinde and Spencer Salisbury advised him to join the Klan. The Klan was politically powerful in Jackson County, and two of Truman’s opponents in the Democratic primary had Klan support. Truman refused at first, but paid the Klan’s $10 membership fee, and a meeting with a Klan officer was arranged.[1] According to Salisbury’s version of the story, Truman was inducted, but afterward “was never active; he was just a member who wouldn’t do anything”. Salisbury, however, became Truman’s bitter enemy in later years, so this version is suspect.[2] According to Hinde and Truman’s accounts, the Klan officer demanded that Truman pledge not to hire any Catholics or Jews if he was reelected. Truman refused, and demanded the return of his $10 membership fee; most of the men he had commanded in World War I had been local Irish Catholics.[3] Truman had at least one other strong reason to object to the anti-Catholic requirement, which was that the Catholic Pendergast family, which operated a political machine in Jackson County, were his patrons; Pendergast family lore has it that Truman was originally accepted for patronage without even meeting him, on the basis of his family background plus the requirement that he was not a member of any anti-Catholic organization such as the Klan.[4] The Pendergast faction of the Democratic Party was known as the “Goats”, as opposed to the rival Shannon machine’s “Rabbits”. The battle lines were drawn when Truman put only Goats on the county payroll,[5] and the Klan began encouraging voters to support Protestant, “100% American” candidates, which was anathema to the Catholic Pendergasts. The Klan allied itself against Truman and with the Rabbits, and Shannon instructed his people to vote Republican in the election, which Truman lost.[6] Truman later claimed that the Klan “threatened to kill me, and I went out to one of their meetings and dared them to try”, speculating that if Truman’s armed friends had shown up earlier, violence might have resulted. However, biographer Alonzo Hamby believes that this story, which is not supported by any recorded facts, was a confabulation based on a meeting with a hostile and menacing group of Democrats that contained many Klansmen, showing Truman’s “Walter Mitty-like tendency [?] to rewrite his personal history”.[7] Sympathetic observers see Truman’s flirtation with the Klan as a momentary aberration and point out that his close friend and business partner Eddie Jacobson was Jewish, and assert that in later years, Truman’s presidency marked the first significant improvement in the federal government’s record on civil rights since the post-Reconstruction nadir marked by the Wilson administration.[8] It is also possible to interpret it as a young politician’s opportunistic attempt to get ahead. The incident was clearly entwined with the intricacies of machine politics, and may also be seen as an indication of Truman’s long evolution in his outlook on race relations.

    Bullshit yourself, Warren.

  23. Truman was a book member of the Klan, not “in the Klan”. He was a pandering politician and apparently not an active racist. Which fits about right for him anyway.

  24. joe,
    Don’t know what page you got that from, but here’s what Wikipedia has on the Harry S. Truman page:

    In 1922, Truman gave a friend $10 for an initiation fee for the Ku Klux Klan but later asked to get his money back; he was never initiated, never attended a meeting, and never claimed membership.[27] Though Truman at times expressed anger towards Jews in his diaries, his business partner and close friend Edward Jacobson was Jewish.[28] Truman’s attitudes toward blacks were typical of white Missourians of his era, and were expressed in his casual use of terms like “nigger”. Years later, another measure of his racial attitudes would come to the forefront: tales of the abuse, violence, and persecution suffered by many African-American veterans upon their return from World War II infuriated Truman, and were a major factor in his decision to back civil rights initiatives and desegregate the armed forces.

    Even if we take your version as true (and that is a major concession I make only for the sake of argument) it’s still bullshit to claim he ‘was in the Klan’ given his refusal to participate.

  25. I think joe’s right about Truman, Warren. That’s certainly my recollection. And Hugo Black (the very pro-free speech justice) was, too.

    I’d have trouble electing someone with that in his past, too, though I can’t say that anything too awful came from Black and Truman being in national office. Byrd is another story.

  26. Warren,

    I got it from the Klan page, which I found by typing “Harry Truman Klan” into google and clicking on the first wikipedia link.

    But be that as it may, I’m sure the “Byrd was in the Klan!” shots would continue in exactly the same manner from Republican trolls if his history had been exactly the same as Truman’s. Which I was right about. As my longer, more detailed link proves.

    I wouldn’t vote of a guy who had recently been in the Klan or the Communist Party, either. On the other hand, people convert. If he had a good number of years behind him and had renounced his former beliefs, I’d consider giving him a second chance.

  27. Which I was right about. As my longer, more detailed link proves.

    Did you even read what you posted? Or are you just demonstrating again that there’s nothing you won’t say in defense of some previously uttered stupidity?

  28. …in that era knew what we know about the Red Terror and whatnot.

    In his era, Sen. Byrd surely must have known what the KKK was about.

  29. I’m sure there are former armed robbers who have reformed themselves. I wouldn’t help elect one to the Senate, no matter how many years had passed, and no, joining the Klan or becoming a communist isn’t quite as bad as committing armed robbery (although it ain’t a whole lot better), but it shows about the same level of judgement. No, everybody didn’t become either a klansmen or communist.

  30. Dude dropped 2 nukes on civilians, killing over 100,000, but the issue is whether or not his former Klan association makes him electable?

  31. jf, if you had been on a transport in the Pacific at the time, you would have stood up and cheered upon hearing the news, and incinerating those hundred thousand probably save a couple million or more civilians.

    Pacifism is immoral, and if you weren’t willing to fight WWII, you are a pacifist. Once committed to fighting WWII leveling those two cities was the least violent course of action.

  32. Byrd is a contemptible POS for his actions in the Senate over many years and his claim to be “Mr. Constitution”–his copy must not include Article I, Section 8, evidently. It’s bad that he was a Klan official (not merely ‘in the Klan’), but his harm to the nation as a whole in the Senate is much greater.

  33. Yes, Warren, I read what I posted.

    You may now return to agonizing hairsplitting between the terms “joined the Klan” and “was in the Klan.”

  34. J sub D,

    Yes, he certainly did. Like Truman, he knew that it consisted of most of the leading figures in his social and political circle, and endorsed a racial ideology that was mainstream in the society he grew up in. When we’re talking about West Virginia around the middle of the century, Byrd’s (and Truman’s, and Black’s) actions take on the cast of is to Soviet citizens who joined the Party, or Iraqi citizens who joined the Ba’ath. I don’t think this excuses his actions, but it mitigates them enough that, combined with a genuine conversion and a record that demonstrates repentance, I can make judgements about Byrd beyond dismissing him as a “former Klansman.”

  35. joe – Short and not so sweet. Senator Byrd is a bigoted asshole. He’s always been a bigoted asshole. Likely, he’ll die a bigotted asshole.

    /rant

  36. I don’t know the man personally, J sub D. It is quite likely that a man from his time and place has some old-fashioned ideas – or maybe not “ideas” so much as “reflexes.” Even those who reject the ideology of racism can’t escape their upbringing.

  37. Pacifism is immoral, and if you weren’t willing to fight WWII, you are a pacifist.

    I think you are profoundly incorrect.

  38. HnR 2007…
    Joe: Harry Truman was once in the Klan
    Warren: Bullshit

    Repo Man 1984…
    Miller: John Wayne was a fag.
    All: The hell he was.
    Miller: He was, too, you boys. I installed two-way mirrors in his pad in Brentwood, and he come to the door in a dress.

  39. I’m sure you do, Jake. When you stop being wrong, and change your mind, you’ll no longer think that way.

  40. When we’re talking about West Virginia around the middle of the century…

    Wow, West Virginia in the middle of the century. 20th century, right? Oh, he was just a redneck hillbilly, who joined an organization that preached againsts, blacks, jews and catholics, while routinely murdering the troublesome/uppity ones. No, he gets no pass from me. Not now, not ever.

    joe, sometimes I think you’d support Charles Manson if he joined the democratic party.

  41. Will,

    I’ve never been called a pacifist before.

    You do know that we know now, and in fact Truman knew then, that Japan was already negotiating surrender due to the advance of the Soviet army. I have a suspicion that Truman dropped the bomb to show the Soviets who was boss, because that war was all but over. Noted fellow pacifist Dwight D. Eisenhower agrees with me

    In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.

  42. A bit more:

    “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan.” Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.[76]

    “The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.” Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.[76]

  43. “I got it from the Klan page, which I found by typing “Harry Truman Klan” into google and clicking on the first wikipedia link.”

    What??? Wikipedia contradicts itself??? Say it isn’t so!

  44. “Pacifism is immoral, and if you weren’t willing to fight WWII, you are a pacifist. Once committed to fighting WWII leveling those two cities was the least violent course of action.”

    So you’re okay with nuking Iran and N. Korea?

  45. So you’re okay with nuking Iran and N. Korea?

    Morally, no.

    As a practical matter, yes We have to live with the rest of the people on the planet after all.

  46. Make that “Mmrally yes. As a practical matter, no.” I plead artificially induced dyslexia.

  47. Pacifism is immoral, and if you weren’t willing to fight WWII, you are a pacifist.

    Hitler’s goals were so unrealistic that there’s no way Nazi Germany would’ve lasted. But they may have been strong enough to destroy a much more longer lasting, and I would argue worse, empire.

    WWII was fought because FDR and the rest of his friends felt solidarity with their socialist bretheren.

  48. J sub D, I’ve read those quotes before, and they have always struck me as simple unprovable second guessing. If the Japanese were so damned ready to surrender, they would have done it, and certainly so in the interim between Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They didn’t, and in the context of a war in which millions and millions of civilians were butchered before the U.S. entered the conflict, 100,000 more were slaughtered.

    Yeah, Chalupa, we should have sent emissaries demanding an explanation on December 8, 1941, and really, with the Japanese Empire busy slaughtering people by the millions throughout Asia, how could we have been so belligerant as to embargo them?

    Tippy, I have no idea of what you are talking about.

  49. Y’know, just because me and J sub D share the same name (which I found out in an earlier thread) doesn’t mean you can mistake one for the other.

  50. WWII was fought because FDR and the rest of his friends felt solidarity with their socialist bretheren[sic].

    Do tell! Go on.

  51. J sub D,

    I’m not sure you realize this, but Byrd QUIT and DENOUNCED the Klan.

    Some of us would consider those to be relevant facts.

    Grand Chalupa,

    FDR began taking belligerent acts, such as embargoing the Japanese and using the US Navy to hunt German subs, when the Soviet Union was still a Nazi ally.

    Read a book if you’re going to mouth off on the subject.

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