The memorials for Byrd are proliferating. My favorite—and in my estimate—the only one worth reading, comes from Andrew Sullivan, who simply notes:
Speak no ill of the dead? Well, let me simply say that the racist, populist, larcenous bigot of a Senator – a man who robbed the American tax-payer to pave his state with baubles and bribes – is not going to be much mourned in these parts.
While Mr. Sullivan is both succinct and accurate, the “Conscience of the Senate” is nonetheless being mourned, one suspects, because of his opposition to the Bush administration.
Witness the DailyKos:
With a career that spanned more than half a century, there is much to be said about Byrd’s actions and accomplishments—both good and bad—but what many most appreciate about him was his fierce opposition to the war in Iraq
Yes…I recall some “bad” in there somewhere. What might it have been?
As one might expect, other memorials begin with Byrd’s youthful indiscretions (ah yes, when he rose to be a recruiter in the WV KKK…an “Exalted Cyclops”) but then quickly make the case for redemption.
Paul Begala at the Daily Beast not only dismisses the early indiscretions but finds an opportunity to take a shot at Reagan:
Yes, there was the one-year flirtation with the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940’s—a stain that marked him for life—and his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Critics on the right properly excoriate him for those historic mistakes. But they ignore Ronald Reagan’s youthful support of one-world government and the Gipper’s strong opposition to the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act, too.
Just checking, but I don’t remember the Gipper as framing his opposition with terms like “race mongrels” and referring (post-youthful indiscretion) to African Americans as being “a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”
In the end, I fear I should have ended with the quote from Andrew Sullivan. What more can be said?