In defense of Sen. Byrd

Mark T. writes:

I’ve met two senators personally. One was Sen. Byrd, and the other was Barbara Boxer. I met Sen. Boxer when I was volunteering at a phone bank in San Jose in the ’90s to campaign for a congressional race. Boxer gave us volunteers a pep talk in a huddle, which comprised of her asking us to find out what made people angry, and then appeal to that anger in the prospective voters. This appeal to negative emotion can only be done by somebody wholly cynical and a demagogue. I felt uncomfortable about this, but it still took over a decade for me to be cleansed of liberalism. Boxer is an immoral person.

I met Senator Byrd at a $25 fundraiser in West Virginia a couple of years ago. He read two poems—I believe they were his own compositions. One poem was about Jesus—I forget the message, but I remember the cadence and the refrain, which varied but referred to “the Master,” such as “as the Master speaks,” or “as the Master does,” or “as the Master wills.” The other poem, which message I remember, was a metaphor about building. That it is the easiest thing in the world to destroy something, but very difficult to create or to build. Both poems had undisputable positive moral messages. During his speech, Senator Byrd took two little documents from his pocket: a miniature Bible and a miniature US Constitution. He said that the former was the best document ever written for people to live their personal lives, and that the latter was the best document ever written to govern a people. He was convinced that God moved the hearts and pens of the framers. Senator Byrd’s pork-barrel politics is based in his belief that his people are poor and hard-working. They shouldn’t get hand outs from the government, but they should have honorable work. Senator Byrd was a moral man who loved God, our country and its people, and you gave him very short shrift.

LA replies:

That’s fine. I was not claiming to give a full accounting of the man, and my only criticisms of him were that he was a huge bloviator and that he had half his state named after him. The question I have is, can a person who bloviates as much as Byrd did, have any genuinely sincere emotions about anything? Or, if he does have sincerity at his core, is it not lost amid all the bloviating?

LA continues:

Also, did not Byrd vote for Obamacare? So this devotee of our Constitution, with its resonances of the ancient Roman republic and its checks and balances and its limits on power, supported the move to turn America into a nightmarish bureaucratic dictatorship. What does that say about the genuineness of his grandiose love of the Constitution? To me, he was an empty bloviator.

- end of initial entry -

July 2

Mark T. writes:

Thanks for posting and replying. As to your question about whether bloviation is inimical to sincerity. So what? Here a good man has died, from a bygone era where it was OK to be publicly religious and patriotic—who revered our constitution and government structure in its original form. But all for naught because of the made-up flaw described by the made-up word of “bloviation”? There’s no doubt that he was a talker—but the themes recurrent in his talks all came back to the importance of the constitution and what’s best for his country and constituents. So since the themes recurrent in his communication were authentic, it either means that he wasn’t bloviating, or that his bloviation didn’t preclude authenticity. He appealed to the good.

LA replies:

I don’t claim an extensive overall knowledge of Byrd’s record. But I don’t see how one could look at Byrd’s support for the modern Provider State and still believe that he was sincere in his professed love of the Constitution.

Spencer Warren writes:

I had an experience with Byrd’s office that confirmed for me once again what I think is the best description of politicians I have ever heard: “Righteous Frauds.”

When the Michael Vick dog atrocity case became public, Byrd made a speech on the Senate floor extolling the virtues of Man’s Best Friend. A good speech, I thought. At the time I was doing my own lobbying to try to persuade some prominent political figure to speak out against the annual holocaust of dogs and cats in China and South Korea, where more than an estimated one million are killed and tortured to death because those who devour the helpless creatures think they “taste” better the more they suffer and the longer they suffer in dying. Larry and I published an article about this horror with vivid links at FrontPageMag four years ago.

So, I think, since Sen. Byrd is such a dog-lover and has already spoken out against their abuse, maybe he would make another speech or publish an op-ed article relying on the facts in our FrontPageMag article. His counsel was surprisingly polite and sincere, highly unusual for Congressional staff (of which I was one years ago). Eventually she got him to consider my idea but she told me he declined. She said he had received a lot of complaints from his constituents about his dog speech and was reluctant to make another one so soon after.

This from a man who would be re-elected even now, from the grave. What was he afraid of? Was his love of dogs so thin, just more bloviating? Yes, another Righteous Fraud.

July 3

Mark T. replies to LA:

Oh, the health care bill was definitely a very bad thing. But let’s not characterize the entire range of its supporters the same way. Let me try to shift slightly from the particular bill in Obamacare and the particular person in Byrd—to Democrats in general. It’s true that Obama’s candidacy represents a take-over of the Democratic party by Marxists and anti-white ethnic nationalists. But that doesn’t mean that all Democrats noticed this, or that all Democrats are anti-American. I’m using anti-American as umbrella term for the Marxist, anti-white, militant gay, radical feminist, pro-open-borders-non-assimilation, contingent of the left. Anyway, that crowd, whose views the term “liberal” doesn’t even begin to encompass, are running the Democratic party. Their man is in the White House, and he is one of them. That is not all Democrats, either lay people or in positions of power. Senator Byrd was not in that category. Many Democrats are people who believe that government should try to help people out—it’s the road to perdition, but it is not full-blown anti-Americanism. Democrats in that category, such as Byrd, don’t see Obama for what he is, and for any number of reasons, such as white guilt, partisanship, three-monkeys syndrome, or any number of other reasons that are discussed here.

I have any number of anecdotes of conversations with friends and family members who can be characterized as conservative Democrats, or, perhaps, relatively conservative, as Democrats go. They don’t see Obama for what he is, but that doesn’t make them like him.

LA replies:

I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, but I never said that Byrd was anti-American. I said he voted for a bill that will, if it’s not repealed, turn America into a bureaucratic dictatorship.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 01, 2010 03:55 PM | Send

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