Sen. Robert Byrd, RIP

Sen. Byrd has passed away:

Robert C. Byrd, who used his record tenure as a United States senator to fight for the primacy of the legislative branch of government and to build a modern West Virginia with vast amounts of federal money, died at about 3 a.m. Monday, his office said. He was 92. He had been in failing health for several years.

Mr. Byrdís death comes as Senate Democrats are working to pass the final version of the financial overhaul bill and win other procedural battles in the week before the Independence Day recess. In the polarized atmosphere of Washington, President Obamaís agenda seemed to hinge on Mr. Byrdís health. Earlier this year, in the final days of the health care debate, the ailing senator was pushed onto the Senate floor in his plaid wheelchair so he could cast his votes.

Mr. Byrd served 51 years in the Senate, longer than anyone in American history, and with his six years in the House, he was the longest-serving member of Congress. He held a number of Senate offices, including majority and minority leader and president pro tem.

< Sen. Byrd Hospitalized, In Serious Condition | The Third Depression >
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    He'll be missed. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Romberry on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 07:08:39 AM EST
    Robert Byrd's was a life well lived. He was a man who had the intellect to as an adult put behind him the racism he was raised with(1) and in most respects was a great champion of the people, especially his constituents in West Virginia that he served more than well. Byrd also, to his great credit, had the good sense to oppose the Iraq War(2), keeping his head while those around him were losing theirs.  

    Robert Byrd will be missed. May he rest in peace.

      (1)"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."
      (2)"We cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason. This in not a war of necessity, but a war of choice."

    But the terminology apparently lingered (none / 0) (#8)
    by prittfumes on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 10:40:25 AM EST
    somewhere in the hidden recesses of that "intellect" that allowed him to "put behind him the racism he was raised with".

    As late as 2001, Byrd used the phrase "white n***ers" in a nationally televised interview. He later apologized and said, "The phrase dates back to my boyhood and has no place in today's society."

    RIP Senator Byrd.


    Introducing (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 03:00:01 PM EST
    Your next Senate President Pro Tempore, 4th in line of succession, and the highest ever ranking Asian-American - Sen. Daniel Inoyue of Hawaii.

    Where is Donald when you need him?

    And the questions (none / 0) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 08:14:43 AM EST
    immediately pop up as to a successor and when the next election will be held. Expect this to cause plenty of stir as to whether the rule kicks in when the Senator died or when a replacement is named by the Governor.

    The importance of each based on WV law: if the clock starts to tick when the Senator died there will be a special election this November. If it starts when a replacement is named (likely not until after July 3), then the replacement will serve out the remainder of the term through January 2013.

    The clock begins ticking... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Romberry on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 08:39:54 AM EST
    So the fact that the Senator is (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 09:12:45 AM EST
    dead does not become real until the governor declares he is dead?

    I don't think that dog will hunt.


    That's not what the law says. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Romberry on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 09:19:49 AM EST
    Try following the links to the Code of West Virginia (from the story at the link link to FiveThirtyEight I posted previously) and read it for yourself.

    The Senator being dead (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 01:13:51 PM EST
    is probably not to be confused with the office being vacant. The Demo Guv will most likely have someone come and explain that to us.

    Special Election in 2012 (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 05:07:58 PM EST
    But oddly there will be two elections for the same Senate seat...

    West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) announced this afternoon that a special election to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D) will be held in 2012, not this fall as some had speculated.

    Calling the state election code an "interesting" document, Tennant said that because the filing deadline for this election had long passed that the "next" election for a special to be held was not November 2010 but November 2012.

    Democrats had predicted Tennant's decision, insisting the law was clear and citing a 1994 case decided by the state Supreme Court that affirmed the idea of a delayed special.
    It's not immediately clear whether Republicans -- either at the state or national level -- will challenge Tennant's ruling.

    What Tennant's ruling means is that there will be two election for the Senate in November 2012. One will be a special election for the five week (or so) unexpired term of Byrd while the other will be for a full six year term since Byrd was due to stand for re-election in 2012 anyway.

    Crooks are US strikes again. (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 10:53:06 PM EST
    I like that! (none / 0) (#10)
    by Untold Story on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 12:44:54 PM EST
    Never heard that one before - dog won't hunt :)

    Well. being an (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 01:15:57 PM EST
    American by birth and a Southerner by the grace of God I am source of cliches and such... like "the hit dog always hollers..."

    Better tell the governor (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 09:49:02 AM EST
    Manchin told The Associated Press there is no timetable for him to consider a replacement for Congress' longest-serving member.

    Manchin says his decision will be an important one because of the effects climate change and mining debates in Congress and at the federal level will have on the state.



    Sad news (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 09:36:29 AM EST
    Rest well Senator Byrd and thank you.  Wish your side would have won the Iraq War insanity, but means everything to me that you did what you could.

    Interesting stories on NPR this AM re Byrd. (none / 0) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jun 28, 2010 at 11:53:20 AM EST
    One of which was that apparently the W Virginians fondly referred to the hundreds (thousands's?) of federally-funded projects he delivered to the state as "Byrd droppings."