Byrd Rewrites History

It’s amazing how many Democrats’ memoirs have literally rewritten history. This week, we will be regaled with yet another revisionist’s memoirs. Senator Robert C. Byrd’s (D-WV) book, entitled ”Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields,” makes its debut.

Naturally, this ex-Ku Klux Klansman had to address the affiliation that has haunted him for many years. According to news reports concerning the book, he once again tries to tell the public that he disagrees what the Klan stands for and only belonged to the organization for a year. He claims he really didn’t understand the Klan preached racism against Catholics, Jews, Blacks, Asians, etc. — and believed it to be more a social club that encouraged his political aspirations. If he really believed that, he was the only naive white man in the country that did.

Even if we were to accept his time table (which we will deal with shortly), how does he explain that in this brief year he rose to the rank of Kleagle and was the top recruiter for his area. He enlisted 150 men into the organization. He was unanimously elected to the office of Grand Cyclops shortly afterwards. One must question how he managed to do that without a firm grasp of the organization’s beliefs and tenets, especially considering his Daddy was a Klansman before him.

One further must question why — if Byrd didn’t embrace the philosophy of the Klan — the Grand Dragon, himself, would be the one to encourage Byrd’s foray into politics.

Now, how accurate is Byrd’s contention that he only belonged to the Klan for about a year? He claims his affiliation lasted from approximately 1942 to 1943. In an age when if you repeat something often enough people start to believe it, this may work for Byrd. However, the facts tell a different story.

In 1945, controversy was raging over the idea of racially integrating the military. In his book When Jim Crow Met John Bull [1], Graham Smith referred to a letter written that year by Byrd to racist Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, in which Byrd vowed never to fight, “with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.” [2]–

In a 1946 letter, [Byrd] wrote, “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia.” However, when running for Congress in 1952, he announced, “After about a year, I became disinterested (sic), quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan.” —

Later in his political career, he still sounded like he believed in the racists precepts of the Klan. He set the 14-hour Senate record for filibustering the Civil Rights Act in 1964. He also opposed integration of the military. In 1967, he opposed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the US Supreme Court.

[Byrd] wrote to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, asking if there was information about Marshall’s ties to Communists. Byrd led the segregationist members of the Senate in opposition to Marshall’s nomination. —

When Byrd opposed President George H. Bush’s nomination of Clarence Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court, he became the only senator to oppose both black justices to sit on that bench. As a matter of record, Byrd also opposed some, although not all, of President George W. Bush’s black judicial and cabinet nominees, notably appeals court nominee Janice Rogers Brown and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Charges of racism have been leveled at Byrd for his actions regarding Rice.

The Congress of Racial Equality blasted Sen. Robert Byrd on Thursday for holding up full Senate confirmation for Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice, denouncing the former Ku Klux Klansman as an unreconstructed “racist.”

“It’s not surprising,” CORE spokesman Niger Innis told NewsMax. “Byrd was a racist 50 years ago under the guise of leading the Dixiecrats and he’s a non-reformed Dixiecrat today.”

Innis said the only difference between the Robert Byrd of the 1950s and now is “he’s got black colleagues in the House and the Senate who apologize for him.”– Jan. 20, 2005

Although this is a bit off topic, Byrd’s self-congratulatory treatment of his reputation as a big pork-barrel procurer is particularly galling. In his book, Byrd crows over his ability to obtain pork project funds for a state that ranks 37th in population for the nation.

According to Citizens Against Government Waste, he’s helped secure $1.6 billion for the state just since 1999. But any reader expecting an apology will be disappointed. Byrd is proud of supporting a state that suffered more than most through economic recessions – long exploited for its natural resources and slower than most to attain prosperity. — by Vicki Smith, AP via Seattle Post Intelligencer

Yes, West Virginians should be very proud of their favorite son. . . and, they certainly must be given his long political history. Byrd hasn’t formally announced his plans for the 2006 election. The citizens of West Virginia will likely send Byrd back to Washington if he wishes — although the state has shown recent signs of moving towards “red.” West Virginia, after all, gave GWB its electoral votes in the 2000 and 2004 elections.

Amazingly (or not), the MSM allows Byrd to get away with these claims. In the Associated Press (AP) article concerning Byrd’s book, there is no mention of the above historical data. The AP provided an uncritical forum for Byrd to play both the penitent and the maligned victim — a role embraced by many Dems these days.

Ironically, Byrd prides himself on his knowledge of history and makes historical references frequently during debates. He has been labeled “a walking encyclopedia” on American and political history by some of his colleagues. Somehow, he managed to have “forgotten” his own history regarding the KKK and racism.

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