Feast of Saints Peter and Paul*
All this stentorian rhetoric about “the soul of the Senate has died” causes any objective student of that body to wretch. U. S. Senator Robert Byrd had only one accomplishment: one. He knew the arcane Senate procedure well enough to bring so many federal installations paid for by taxpayers that the whole state is in danger of sinking into the ground. Everything else…his legendary astuteness, his encyclopedic knowledge of Senate procedure which antedates to Rome, is baloney. He postured as a constitutionalist and always carried in his breast pocket a copy of the Constitution. How sensitive of him! Guardian of the Constitution, my eye. What he did for the Constitution aside from rasping its virtues is unclear.
Early in his career, he applied the maxim of George Washington Plunkett, the old faker who was a legend in the New York state Senate: “I seen my opportunities and I took `em.” He saw himself standing like the oracle Cato against the line-item veto, the old crustacean saying “I will stand back here and let my bones crumble under me until I no longer have breath in me. Such a process is a lethal…lethal…lethal aggrandizement of the chief executive’s role in the legislative process. Lethal. Deadly. It is a gross…gross…colossal distortion of the congressional power of the purse. It is a dangerous proposition, a wolf in the sheep’s clothing of fiscal responsibility!” The line-item veto would have enabled a president to block the old charlatan from hustling more money for his state which he carefully supervised would be dedicated to his name.
He made a pledge once that he would deliver $1 billion in federal grants in five years: he made it a reality in three years. So in West Virginia there is the Robert C. Byrd Highway…two Robert C. Byrd federal buildings…the Robert C. Byrd Freeway…the Robert C. Byrd Center for Hospitality and Tourism…the Robert C. Byrd Drive…and the Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center.
So, it can be asked: What did that old faker know of fiscal responsibility? He never saw an appropriation he didn’t inflate. The first day he entered the Senate he made a beeline like a flat-nosed hog to the trough under the sponsorship of Lyndon Johnson. Careful not to antagonize his old racist roots, he led a filibuster against the 1964 civil rights bill. He also voted against the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall, the first black nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.
As a young hustler running for the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1944, he sent this letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-Miss.), the ranking black-hater in the Senate who was opposing integration of the military services.
“I shall never fight in the armed services 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.”
Shortly after writing that letter, he was named Grand Wizard of the West Virginia Ku Klux Klan.
He was spectacularly wrong on most issues…but was okay on pro-life, okay on increasing missile defense. Opposed tax cuts because he couldn’t believe they would stimulate economic growth. Opposed the Iraq War because he couldn’t recognize that it was the first and only time in our battles with the Muslims that we struck back tellingly rather than taking it on the chin. He led a crusade that probably contributed to the Democrats’ loss of the Senate in 2002. One was his opposition to the bill setting up the Department of Homeland Security. That and his opposition to Iraq was used by Republicans to snare the Senate. He never used the word filibuster but that’s what he did on Homeland Security until Joe Lieberman broke it. He stalled the Iraq War resolution insisting on a clause-by-clause debate until Tom Daschle made a wording change that caused Byrd’s motion to be ruled out of order.
The Old ex-Klansman tried a final time to cleanse his august senatorial robes by coming out for Barack Obama for president. He called the man who almost unarguably is the worst president whose very patriotism and lack of support of exceptionalism for America is suspect this: “He is a shining young statesman who possesses the personal temperament and courage to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq and to lead our nation at this challenging time in history.”
Byrd’s opposition to the Iraq War caused him to be glorified by the liberal media. You can always trust The New York Times to revere its own. Two old Senate segregationists died in advanced age—Strom Thurmond at 100 and Byrd at 92. The headline on the Thurmond story saidThurmond Dies, Foe of Desegregation. The headline on Byrd’s was laudatory…in fact there wasn’t a mention in the obit of his Klansman days—just his fervent support of Obama for president.
The Younger Windbag.
Immediately after the Supreme Court decision yesterday ratifying the 2nd Amendment, the Younger Windbag…a man who cleaves to myth of gun control that ingratiates him to the Left…said the City Council will introduce legislation that will make it onerous and cumbersome to own a gun in Chicago. Thus Richard M. Daley who knows as well as anyone that gun control doesn’t work is groveling around for Left adulation heedless of whether his attempt to tie gun ownership in red tape will help people defend itself in a city where Daley’s own police department seems powerless to affect it.
Ah, gun control. That will gain him further kudos from Apassionata van Leftward aka the one-woman news monopolist (Sun-Times…Channel 5…Channel 11) Carol Marin whose passion burns unremittingly for all liberal causes and WTTW’s ring-bearer for same-sex marriage.
Biden’s “Gaffes” Are More than That.
The liberal media of course don’t make much of the recurring statements from Joe Biden that are downright odd. The latest is that he called a Wisconsin grocer “a smart ass.” The media, always keen on protecting Old Joe, keep on saying aw that’s Joe…rather profane. But he’s refreshing, don’t you think? As when he embraced Obama on the passage of Health Care and whispered to him “This is a big f----- deal!”
No it’s not a case of Good Old Joe sounding off inappropriately. This guy has had two severe brain aneurisms, a highly precarious health record to be second in line for the presidency.
*: Saints Peter and Paul. What more can be said about these two? Peter was the first Pope and leader of the Apostles. His original name was Cimon but Jesus gave him the name “Peter” which is Greek or “Cephas” which is the Aramaic equivalent. Peter and Cephas means Rock. What made Jesus’ choice of significant is that until then neither Peter nor “Cephas” was used as a man’s name. Peter was indeed a rock but not a paragon. He was rebuked by Jesus for misinterpreting the Messianic mission (John 18:10). His impetuosity was shown in the Garden where he attacked Malchus but cutting off his ear with his sword. He was humiliated when led by cowardice he denied Jesus in the courtyard. But none of these things reduce the assignment he received when Jesus said: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
Paul was the most dynamic of the Apostles even though he was not one of the original 12. His original name was Saul and his conversion on the road to Damascus is famous. When he began to preach Christianity, as a former persecutor of Christians, it was awkward. Barnabas eased his way, introducing him to groups who were wary of him at first. This was so effective that the Church in Antioch commissioned Barnabas as leader and Paul and Mark as assistants to take a missionary voyage through Cyprus, Pamphylia, Iconoium, Lystra and Derbe. It is hard to think of Paul as an assistant…but this back-seat role didn’t last long. There was the famous dramatic confrontation between Paul and Peter. In Jerusalem Paul urged a more flexible concept of Christianity than that of a circumcised Old Law Jew. All viewpoints were heard for Paul’s won the day.
The voyages of Paul are well known. Only the street smarts of his followers saved Paul’s neck time and time again. Especially venomous were the Jews in Jerusalem. Paul’s greatest epistles were written when he was under house arrest awaiting trial…and death came to him finally in Rome under Nero’s persecution by beheading.