Byrd is my least favorite Democrat.
How can anyone dislike Byrd? I mean sure....I don't like his school prayer junk either....and his earmarks are quite excessive....but there's nobody in the Senate that I respect more as a person than Robert Byrd.
Well Franzl, the fact that you respect him definitely gives me pause. You're clearly not a Democrat who likes him just because he has a D next to his name...and you're not a Republican who likes the "old school" Robert Byrd.
My objections to him are as follows, but I stand to be corrected...
1. His speech on school prayer was nauseating. He sounded more in favor of mandatory Christian prayer than a voluntary, non-sectarian moment of silence. He also rambled on in that speech about the "good old days", "old time religion" and so on. That sort of nattering makes me think of people who remark about the good old days when children got whippings, women stayed in the kitchen and de colored folk knowed their place. I know he didn't say any of that but it was evocative. That could be on me, of course...
2. The pork issue really bothers me. If I am going to attack Senator Stevens for his bridge to nowhere, I need to be consistent and attack Democrats who spend on ridiculous projects. Now, I am a huge fan of government spending but I want to see money spent on things that make sense. I am concerned that Byrd has set a pattern of grabbing all he can -- regardless of where the money is spent. I do concede happily that Appalachia in West Virginia is better off than in eastern Kentucky...in no small part due to Byrd's intercession.
3. I know it's ancient history, but the Klan thing still bugs me. I realize Byrd has left that behind and anyone can change. (I am a good example of that.) But it gives Republicans fodder.
And finally, while I am not a fan of term limits, I do think there comes a point when one is so feeble, you have to question their ability to serve their constituents effectively. Byrd's speeches are really frightfully reminiscent of my late father's addled, rambling reminiscences...the man can't have many more years left. I'd like to see him spend a few of those years fly fishing or sitting in the sun. That's just personal.
But anyway...Byrd could certainly be worse. And on the whole, he's done very well for his state. But I think it's time to go. Just my 2 cents.
Yeah, I understand those concerns....they're legitimate....and I share them
Byrd for me is an amazing example of the ability to change. I know some people think differently....but I truly believe that Byrd is a 100% changed person, judging by some of the comments I've seen from him....and indeed from others. Obama writes in one book of his first encounter with Byrd.
Add to that his truly encyclopedic knowledge of Senate rules and procedure.....his amazing early opposition to the Iraq War (he has stated that his vote against authorization was the vote in his career that he was most proud of)....and his genuineness, that may be what I value more than anything. I guess I could just be a naive hack....but I admire his deeply held convictions....even concerning things that I disagree with, like school prayer and his opposition to gay marriage. As I once read....he claims he needs a Bible and the Constitution, and that's enough to help him make every decision.
Now that doesn't mean that he's my "favorite" senator politically....of course not. I regard Appalachian populism quite lowly, personally, and I certainly agree that Byrd is kind of in over his head these days with his age and health problems.
I dunno....just someone I tend to look up to