Bill Clinton said WHAT?

Posted by: ST on July 2, 2010 at 6:34 pm

The late Senator Robert Byrd’s (D-WV) memorial service was today. Several prominent politicos, including O’Biden, spoke and paid their respects, as did former President Bill Clinton – but he said one thing during his speech that has left a lot of people scratching their heads:

There are a lot of people who wrote these eulogies for Senator Byrd, and the newspapers, and I read a bunch of them. And they mentioned that he once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan. And what does that mean?

I’ll tell what you it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollers of West Virginia. He was trying to get elected. And maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does.

There are no perfect people. There are certainly no perfect politicians.

TPM has the video clip of Clinton’s remarks.

Um … Ok. I try to not to be disrespectful of the recently departed, and I won’t do that now but Bill Clinton is just flat out wrong. In fact, he’s attempting to whitewash (no pun intended) Byrd’s KKK past just as Byrd himself did in a 2005 memoir. Byrd didn’t join the KKK “to get elected.” He joined the KKK because, well, he hated black people. He wasn’t just as a “mere member” who was relunctantly part of the KKK in order to get elected and re-elected: He was a Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops of his local KKK chapter. In fact – and I know this is will be painful for the left to hear but – the KKK was started by Democrats, the party Byrd started as a member of and stayed a member of until his passing.

Bill Clinton is right about one thing, though: Sometimes we do things, are a part of things in our lives that we end up later regretting and trying to make up for. For example, I was once a liberal who was a staunch supporter of the horrid practice of abortion. I live with that guilt, but I will not whitewash it when talking to people about who I am and where I used to be on the political scale. In fact, if I’m ever elected and serve for the rest of my life in public office, when I pass away I hope whichever politicos speak at my funeral won’t gloss over the fact that I was a liberal who used to support abortion. Feel free to mention it. And don’t forget to tell the other people there to pay their respects about the social and political awakening that soon followed for me. I consider it part of my “maturing” process and while I’m not proud of how I started out on political and social issues, I’m very proud that I found it within myself to have a change of heart on a multitude of issues, especially on abortion. I want people to know that.

I didn’t follow Byrd’s time in the Senate closely but I’m guessing he made the proper amends with voters in his state, including black voters who continued to vote for him and that’s fine. Senator Strom Thurmond tried to do similarly, but of course he was given little to no credit by The Usual Suspects, and – unlike Byrd’s tributes in various papers around the country this week – one of the first things mentioned about Thurmond in his obits was his racist past. If that’s the way the mediots and politicos wanted to treat Thurmond, fine, but they shouldn’t treat Byrd differently just because he was a liberal.

No, if we live mostly decent lives we shouldn’t be defined by the things we’ve done wrong; but we shouldn’t ignore our histories, either, not for political correctness nor any other reason. Our histories tell the stories of where we were and our present tells us how far we’ve come, and in some cases have overcome. In the middle of all the sandpaper smoothing out of Robert Byrd’s legacy, that’s something that we should never, ever forget.

May the Byrd family be comforted by the love, support, and prayers of the many people who are holding them in their thoughts and prayers today.

Cross-posted to Right Wing News.

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19 Responses to “Bill Clinton said WHAT?”


  1. Some of the best conservatives are reformed liberals.

  2. It’s O’BiteMe. Feel free to use it. He might your next Prez after we impeach Barry.
    [For a light hearted take on our present peril]

  3. Xrlq says:

    I’m not sure Byrd deserves credit for having made proper amends. Wasn’t it just five years ago, if that, that he gratuitously employed the n-word several times in a broadcast interview? If that didn’t make him an unrepentant racist, it certainly made him an unrepentant jerk.

  4. Sefton says:

    He was trying to get elected.

    So part of the whitewash is excusing the ‘any means to an end’ just to get elected to office?
    Coming from Clinton, I can understand where his corrupt, liberal brain didn’t snap to what he just said.

    And was this about Byrd’s past, or his? :-?

  5. Tom TB says:

    My understanding is that Robert Byrd didn’t join a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan; he formed one with a charter he applied for, and recruited members in his home area. He apparently brought a racist organization to a place where it had not existed before; successful “Community Organizing”?

  6. Old Goat says:

    I can accept that people will make errors in judgment in their lifetimes. What bothers me about the revisionist history that the left over indulges in is that if this were a Republican/Conservative, it would be the major story, not the simple little oops, he only joined the KKK to be elected.

    Notice that Byrd took till this freakin’ decade to renounce it. And his involvement in the organization was a bit more than “fleeting”.

    I also doubt very much that Byrd joined the KKK because he was feeling so lovingly toward the African American race. Its not like the KKK was viewed at any time as just a simple fraternity that would help you get elected. It has always been known for what it was. You don’t join it with blinders on.

  7. NC Cop says:

    Consider the jackass that said the words. That says it all.

  8. Carlos says:

    Man, with the likes of Byrd organizing his local chapter and getting it up and running, I’d be sure to want to join! He was such an upstanding, honest, wise and humble person, who wouldn’t want to be associated with him?


    As a side note, I wonder how long it’s gonna be before we get a personal history of the man that mentions his use of the “n” word behind closed doors to close friends only?

    Just askin’.

  9. Marshall Art says:

    As I understand it, he recruited about 150 people into the Klan.

    Talk about double standards, not only did libs go nuts over Strom Thurmond, they crucified Trent Lott over innocuous birthday wishes at a party celebrating Thurmond turning 100. Lott ended up backing out of the public eye over that so as not to hurt the party (something Dems never do for any reason).

    Worse than that is the entirely opposite sentiments expressed at the passing of Jesse Helms. If you’ll pardon a bit of self-promotion, I did a post at my blog that demonstrates just how goofy the left was over forgiving a real racist like Byrd compared to how they demonize somone they suspected of racism who wasn’t a racist, like Helms. Take a peek. The double standard is exposed in the comments.

  10. Kilian says:

    Okay dude his statement was a eulogy for his loved ones, not public service announcement. Let him tell Byrd’s family he isn’t an outright racist, this is his day of memory and it’s good to see they all want to think of him as non-racist.(presumably bcos his fam is nonracist and values such)

  11. Tango says:

    Ole Bubba’s comments are disgraceful. Try to imagine the media feeding frenzy if old KluKKer Byrd had been a Republican instead of a liberal Dem.

  12. Valerie says:

    I’ve read and reread Clinton’s comments, and as far as I can see, there’s one truth in there…”There are certainly no perfect politicians.”

  13. Carlos says:

    To a corruptocrat like Clinton, he certainly has to know what the meaning of “is” is (or in this case, “was”) before he can make a judgment about whether to crucify or excuse a person for their past.

    Except when the person is a Democrat.

    And Valerie, does that mean that there are some that are almost perfect, like Mr. Byrd maybe? I think not, and the further from the right a politician goes the more likely he/she is to be not only wrong but pig-headedly so.

    Democrats like Clinton and Obama say they want to start a conversation. Fine, we’re willing any time they are, but it has to be a dialogue, not a lecture, and the free flow of ideas cannot be compromised by ideologues/racists like them.

  14. Brontefan says:

    It always depends on which party was connected to the KKK. And let us not forget which party originated the group. Pelosi can call Tea Party folks Nazis when her own Prez has something important in common with Hitler. Both were terrific speakers. Liked your comment, Carlos.

  15. Carlos says:

    They both were/are into National Socialism, too, Brontefan. And apparently Duh-1 feels he’s just as entitled to force it upon “his” small people as much as Adolf was.

    I don’t get Nazi Pelousy, even as stupid as she is. She has to recognize this. Maybe she’s just trying to get the TEA partiers into their (the real Nazis) camp?

    I’m waiting for this administration’s version of “krtystalnacht.” I’m sure it will be before the elections later this year.


  16. Lorica says:

    Seriously…. I think Bill’s STDs have gotten to his brain. He is sooo incredibly stupid. It will not be a sad day when he goes on to judgement. – Lorica

  17. omapian says:

    It could be a big mistake to consider the Clinton team (Bill & Hillary) stupid. Outrageous comments keep them in the public eye and remind Democrats of better times, without directly attacking the POTUS.

  18. Lorica says:

    Very True Omapian, but his outrageous comments remind me of the fact that he is a convicted liar. – Lorica

  19. Kate says:

    IF this was supposed to be just for the family, Kilian, why do we have a videotaped presentation of it? Do they do that at funerals and memorial services? It may have been open only to the family, but obviously the press was invited. And does that make lying okay?

    According to Glen Beck he was a “young” man of 29 when he recruited and formed his KKK chapter and was elevated to Grand Cyclops…..and he was 47 when he voted against the voting rights act? Pretty twisted.