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June 18, 2005

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BumperStickerist

Thankfully, the article's author uses the phrase 'youthful indiscretion' - Byrd uses a less Bushian, more solon-esque turn of phrase: "My only explanation for the entire episode is that I was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision -- a jejune and immature outlook -- seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions,"

'Youthful indiscretion' causes me to remember that Bush was a coke head (allegedly), but Byrd can say 'Jejune' without pausing for two seconds between syllables like Bush would - if he said 'jejune' which he won't, because he, Bush, is dum. Too dumb to even remember to spell it with a 'b', because it's silent.

So, Bush's youthful indiscretions are evoked while Byrd's youthful jejuneity shows a talent and ambition for getting 150 people who don't like Blacks, Catholics, or people unlike themselves to pay $10 for memberships and $3 for robes and organize, hold meetings (presumably) and otherwise mutually reinforce each others predispostions. With the added benefit that the Grand Dragon himself came to town to give the group a pep-talk!! How political! How wonderful!! Alert the Chamber of Commerce!!!

What's gone unreported is whether Crab Orchard and vicinity show an up tick in police reports or newspaper accounts of violence in the area from 1942 to, say, 1950.

Also, it would be telling to see what the school board minutes show. Given Byrd's characterization of the people he recruited and took money from to join, chances are members of the school board were members of the newly constituted Klan as well.

Too bad none of the billions in pork he brought to West Virginia was used to put his hometown newpaper archives online.

TNM

I see Matt Drudge is linking to a Newsweek posting of this, so I guess the cat is out of the bag.

Harry Arthur

The real story here - the one that won't be covered (at least very thoroughly) - is Byrd's Senatorial experience with that time honored tradition - the filibuster. You know, the filibuster that the "gang of 14" protected when they saved the republic. Of course what we didn't discuss then was how this time honored tradition also prevented the Senate from passing anti-lynching legislation several times and how it was used to delay effective civil rights legislation for years. And Byrd's part in all of that was not on the "good guys" side of those debates. Seems Byrd's "jejune and immature outlook" carried with him into the Senate for a good number of years. I wonder, is use of the "N word" "jejune and immature"?

ed

Hmmmm.

Actually the real story is the willingness for the Black Caucus to apologise for serious infractions by Democrats. Byrd talked about "white n*****s". Cruse Bustamente, Lt. Gov. of California talked about "n*****s" in front of a couple hundred african-Americans. Ralph Nader just used the term "n****r" to describe how the Democratic Party treated him.

Note I didn't write "accept apologies" because it's a rare time when the Black Caucus hasn't already accepted an apology, before it's even made.

I shudder to think what would happen to a Republican in similar circumstances.

Lurking Observer

One thing that is striking about SEN Byrd's KKK background is his precise role.

There were lots of folks who were members of the Klan (not that that excuses it, of course).

But what kind of person would qualify as a recruiter for the Klan? Do we really think this was someone who simply did it on a lark? Do you think that would make someone an effective recruiter? Or do you think a true believer is more likely to be made a recruiter?

More to the point, how many people did Byrd sign up? How many poor (or maybe not so poor) white folks did Robert Byrd talk to, and persuade them to part w/ hard-earned money in order to help lynch blacks, to keep them down, to prevent them from voting or meeting or even defending themselves?

In short, how many people did Robert Byrd, as a "Patient Zero" (Racist Zero?) infect?

TexasToast

Tom

My great-grandfather was a founding member of the KKK in Pulaski, Tennessee. I've got the medal to prove it. Good thing we don't have "corruption of the blood" or anything like that in this country! :)

richard mcenroe

Byrd's KKK days? Which ones? Last Thursday through Sunday?

If there really is such a thing as an ex-Klansman, will the Democrats now embrace David Duke in the next presidential primary?

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