Through their rhetoric over the past few years, Democrats have shown a childish tendency to change the rules of the game when they are losing.
Don’t like conservative Supreme Court justices blocking the progressive agenda, pack the court. Don’t like Republicans from rural states blocking laws, making new states out of Democratic strongholds Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
So in that vein, it makes sense that they are now calling on the Democratic majority in the Senate to change internal rules regarding voting so they can more easily bust the legislative logjam created by a Senate deadlocked at 50-50.
Yet it is surprising that the party of woke that never tires of ripping down monuments and images of the dead white men of American history – be they explorers, Confederate generals, or the Founding Fathers – would invoke an outright white supremacist to accomplish its mission.
The liberal website Axios reported on Wednesday that a “small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber’s rules.”
Axios noted that this matters partly because Manchin holds Byrd’s Senate seat. But he also “has often referenced his predecessor’s strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.”
Byrd was one of the “most ardent defenders of Senate decorum and procedure,” Axios noted. Despite that, these liberal lawmakers, including Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., are arguing to Manchin that Byrd “helped change the Senate rules in the face of obstruction.”
“Invoking Byrd’s legacy is one tack to convince Manchin to get on board,” Axios added. “While Manchin, to the chagrin of several of his Democratic colleagues, has repeatedly refused to eliminate the filibuster, he’s shown openness to changing Senate rules.”
But here’s the thing: if these Democrats succeed in this approach to jam through President Joe Biden’s socialist measures, they will have an outright racist to thank.
Byrd served in Congress for 51 years. He died in 2010. When he crossed over to the other side, then-President Barack Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton all delivered eulogies for Byrd.
That show of political prestige helped gloss over the fact that Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
In the 1940s, Byrd helped launch a KKK chapter in his home town, and recruited 150 people to join. He eventually became the group’s leader, known as the “Exalted Cyclops.” That activism actually proved to be Byrd’s springboard into national politics.
As WYNC recalled at the time of his death, Byrd in 1944 wrote a letter to Democratic Sen. Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, saying, “I shall never fight in the armed forces 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.”
In another letter in 1946, this time to the KKK’s national grand wizard, Byrd noted, “The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation.”
Once in the Senate, Byrd filibustered for 14 hours against the adoption of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and also opposed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He claimed he did so because the laws infringed on states’ rights – which, as liberals will quickly remind you, is code for racism or white supremacy.
Liberals claim Byrd recanted his youthful membership in the KKK.
Byrd, in his memoir, acknowledged that joining the Klan was a “mistake,” one that haunted and embarrassed him for much of his life. At the time, he also said, “I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times … and I don’t mind apologizing over and over again. I can’t erase what happened.”
Yet he said all of that in 2005, when he was 87.
While hypocritical Democrats now invoke Byrd in an effort to push through their radical policies, some still have found his legacy as a Klansman “problematic,” as liberals say.
In June 2020, a few weeks after the death of George Floyd, Bethany College, a small private college in West Virginia about 45 miles from Pittsburgh, scrubbed Byrd’s name from its healthcare center.
“We respect the Byrd family name, but we can no longer let it represent how we lead in today’s world,” President Tamara Rodenberg said in a statement, which oddly did not mention why Byrd’s name was erased.
If anyone bothers to raise this issue, Senate Democrats will undoubtedly extend to Byrd “grace” that they would never grant another white politician with his credentials, even if he or she had not been in the KKK.
Which, as the Axios report only illustrates, shows that for hollowed-souled Democrats, what matters most is not principle, but power.
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