RIP, Senator Robert Byrd

Posted by: ST on June 28, 2010 at 7:27 am

The USA Today reports that the Senate’s longest serving member has passed away at the age of 92:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Robert Byrd, who rose from West Virginia’s impoverished hollows to aid, counsel and sometimes chastise presidents from the Senate seat he occupied for more than a half-century, died early Monday morning. He was 92 and had served in Congress longer than anyone in the nation’s history.

The veteran Democrat died at 3 a.m. at a suburban Washington hospital, Byrd’s office announced. He had been in failing health recently but in May appeared at a hearing on mine safety, a sign of his continuing dedication to the coal miners of his home state.

Though he was a fierce partisan, Byrd’s courtly manners and devotion to the Senate won him the bipartisan affection of his colleagues.

“We will remember him for his fighter’s spirit, his abiding faith, and for the many times he recalled the Senate to its purposes,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Byrd’s Democratic colleague from West Virginia, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, said: “He leaves a void that can simply never be filled.”

A master of the Senate’s arcane rules, and a prolific chronicler of its history, Byrd fiercely defended Congress’ prerogatives against those of the executive branch. “I have served with 11 presidents. I serve under no president,” Byrd liked to say.

Byrd’s death deprives President Obama of a staunch ally and could complicate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s efforts to push financial regulation legislation through this week.

I know Byrd had a decidedly checkered history both in Congress and out of it, but I’d like to think that as he got older he moved beyond his racist beliefs. My gut feeling tells me that he did, but then again, he doesn’t have to answer to me now on that or anything else, but instead to someone else, so that conversation will be between Byrd and Him.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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10 Responses to “RIP, Senator Robert Byrd”


  1. Kate says:

    I saw that he was hospitalized over the weekend or something to that effect. Condolences to the family.

    I saw an interesting footnote this morning on the a local FOX News ticker that said he carried a copy of the Constitution with him at all times while he served. My question….how often did he refer to it?

    The folks in WV have lost a big ticket pork barrel king….that’s why they loved him so~

  2. Tom TB says:

    My brother graduated from Bethany College in 1974, and Byrd was the commencement speaker. No one should be be returned to congress over and over, but we as voters have no one but ourselves to blame…

  3. Lorica says:

    Rest in Peace Sir. My prayers are with his family. – Lorica

  4. Carlos says:

    I would say R.I.P., too, but that would be simple jackass hypocrisy. It’s about time we got rid of the last vestiges of the KKK from what should be an honorable institution.

    Unfortunately, that still leaves in the neighborhood of 400 more scumbags in that chamber, and the chances of them all passing away suddenly just aren’t all that good.

    Oh, well, maybe the people will retire them early this year.

    Vote for term limits, not “Representative-for-Life”!

  5. Old Goat says:

    So they lost Teddy Kennedy and now Byrd. It sure doesn’t seem like its a good health bet to be a liberal who is aging these days. Kennedy’s death has lead to the super majority being taken away, and Byrd might make it tough for Tax and Trade.

    The timing is also significant, as it could mean a special election being required by state law to replace Byrd in November, rather than the Governor being able to replace him for rest of his term. This may still be fudged, as Democrats have been known to change the laws when it doesn’t appear to suit them, but it could make it very interesting.

    Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, but sometimes he shoots a warning shot right across the bow.

  6. puffpiece says:

    First Murtha now Byrd. Just a few more left. **==

  7. Conrad V says:

    Despite a man’s questionable political beliefs and actions, may he find solace in the afterlife.

  8. Somewhere in hell, a great big old cross is burning brightly.