Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thanks, Senator Byrd. Thanks very much.
Conventional media outlets adore scandals involving easily punned-upon names. Recall the delight of CNN when Trent Lott's "wish we'd been segregated" comments came back to haunt him, in the form of such gems as "Lott of Trouble," "Lott to Lose," and the like. I resist that urge here as I annunciate my disappointment in Sen. Robert Byrd, (D-WV). You'll get no "Byrd Brain," "Byrd's of a Feather," or "Byrd Flies Right" commentary from me, no sir.

For all of his posturing and rhetoric about the sanctity of the filibuster and the right of the minority to have its views aired, Byrd dutifully voted to confirm Judge Samuel Alito to the post that he'll likely hold until long after Byrd has gone to dust.

According to Byrd, he was responding to the concerns of his constituency. He refuse[s] to toe the party line," he "hail[s] from a conservative state," and he's just obeying the will of his constituents who (like Byrd himself) prefer Conservative judges.

Actually, Byrd prefers to protect Byrd. John Raese has announced his intent to challenge the venerable Senator in the upcoming election, so it's little surprise that Byrd would hunker down and stand up for his principles of reelection-at-all costs.

Thanks also to Senators Conrad (D-ND), Johnson (D-SD), and Nelson (D-NE). I hope that, when your future Republican opponents rake you over the coals, you look back on this vote of principle with pride and self-assurance. I'm irritated at each of these enablers, but I'm particularly annoyed with the gentleman from West Virginia.

Byrd famously brandishes a copy of the US Constitution while holding forth on the Senate floor, as if to show that he's intimately acquainted with it. It's a great shame, then, that he voted to hand unchecked executive power to the President, since the confirmation hearings made it clear that Alito believes that the Prez can do what the Prez wants. Byrd claims to believe Alito's assurances to the contrary, but if he really believes that then he's a very poor judge of character. Sure, he voted against Gonzales, but he voted in favor of Ashcroft. Of course, so did a lot of other Democratic Senators, but Byrd distinguished himself by praising Ashcroft as a "man of God" rather than as a partisan hack who couldn't defeat a dead man in his bid for a Senate position of his own.

I should mention that Byrd has made a remarkable turnaround during his career, from a former KKK member to an admirable defender of civil rights, so much so that the NAACP gives him a 100% rating on its Congressional score card. It would therefore be easier to accept Byrd's role in the destruction of the Supreme Court if he'd been an anti-democratic jerk all along, but instead he's often risen to the defense of some of the Constitution's key principles. Why, then, did he abandon such a big principle now?

Again, ask John Raese.

A Note About Blogging Motivation
I blog not out of narcissism but out of a desire to share my great wisdom and scintillating prose with the invisible masses. I employ a chorus of eager sycophants to offer me praise, so internet-based narcissistic validation would simply be redundant.

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