BEST BOOK SINCE THE STARR REPORT  4:46 pm September 14, 2009

Kennedy Memoir Explains Robert Byrd’s Opposition To Gays In The Military

by Jim Newell

Today is a great day, for today we have discovered this photoDid you dress as Professor Dumbledore or a sneering Bank Goblin for yesterday’s midnight release party of the “new” Ted Kennedy memoir? What? You went as Gandalf? HE’S NOT EVEN *IN* THIS BOOK YOU IDIOT. But yes: Ted Kennedy’s new book is out today, and every journalist and blogger is reading it in bed, looking for the hottest blockquotes. The best excerpt we’ve seen thus far is one involving Sen. Robert Byrd, who was invited, along with Kennedy and other powerful humans, to the White House early on in Clinton’s presidency for their first meeting about gays in the military. Robert Byrd had concerns, but only because he thought they were discussing whether blacks should be allowed in the military. No no no, that wasn’t why. It had something to do with… rape, in Ancient Rome?


But the meeting went on and on, for more than two hours – extraordinary by White House standards. Finally, my turn to speak came. I made a brief comment in support of allowing gays in the military, in which I mentioned that all the arguments against such a policy had already been made….Well, I was wrong about that. Almost all the arguments had been used before. The last senator to speak was Robert Byrd, and he came up with a new one on all of us…..He informed us, with many ornate flourishes, that there had been a terrible problem in ancient Rome with young military boys turned into sex slaves. I don’t remember the exact details, but I think the story involved Tiberius Julius Caesar being captured and abused and used as a sex slave. He escaped and then years later he sought vengeance and killed his captors. Anyway, it was something like that. The room fell silent. The senator continued. Then President Clinton stood up. His response was short and sweet. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘Moses went up to the mountain, and he came back with the tablets and there were ten commandments on those tablets. I’ve read those commandments. I know what they say, just like I know you do. And nowhere in those ten commandments will you find anything about homosexuality. Thank y’all for coming.’ He ended the meeting and walked out of the room.”

Oh, that Bill Clinton.

Isn’t it great how new, young, popular Democratic presidents always have such easy working relationships with their majorities in the Senate?

The strangest argument yet against gays in the military [Salon/War Room]

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ManchuCandidate September 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Go tell the Spartans, ex Grand Dragon Byrd.

RoscoePColtraine September 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I thought that Senators got all the young male ass they wanted.

JooJoo Bee September 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I’m thinking that “No Comments” is probably the best that can be sid about this amazing, um, revelation. But here I am, wrecking perfection again.

AbstinenceOnly Ed September 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Robert Byrd is just mad cos he always got picked last for the Roman Rape games.

dum librul September 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Has any piece of legislation ever been passed without first considering the Ten Commandments and ancient Rome rape?

Bruno September 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

As a professionally gay commenter, I too am against being in the military. Until I started thinking about young Roman soldiers. May god bless old man Byrd

Chickensmack September 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

too bad they didn’t talk about how dangerous and awesome those ass-bandit Greek warriors were. If you’re gonna bring up history, better talk about the good AND the bad.

queeraselvis v 2.0 September 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Of course Byrd could speak authoritatively about ye olde Roman times, seeing as he was a young whippersnapper in those days.

Come here a minute September 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I am Spartacus.

dum librul September 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm

And what’s that nice republican staffer/furry in the photo up to? The book implies the presence of children.

Canmon (the Inadequate) September 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm

The saddest thing is, this is the one and only time that citing a Bible passage failed to win the argument in Congress.

WBYeats September 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Great picture!

Suds McKenzie September 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Oh cool!, so today we “are all” Tiberius Julius Caesar’s.

Hooray For Anything September 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm

[re=410750]Come here a minute[/re]: I am Spartacus

AbstinenceOnly Ed September 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm

[re=410749]queeraselvis v 2.0[/re]: we do this a lot, do we not?

Extemporanus September 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm

[re=410742]AbstinenceOnly Ed[/re]: [re=410749]queeraselvis v 2.0[/re]: Byrd tossed Caesar’s salad?!

Guppy06 September 14, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I think he’s confusing the Roman army with fraternity hazing rituals.

Extemporanus September 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm

[re=410750]Come here a minute[/re]: [re=410761]Hooray For Anything[/re]: I am Old Farticus!

WestEdEd September 14, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I’m Spartacus!

jetjaguar September 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Byrd: Teddy, do you like movies about gladiators?

AbstinenceOnly Ed September 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm

[re=410764]Extemporanus[/re]: Byrd enjoyed the occasional frothy Orange Julius.

dum librul September 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm

[re=410750]Come here a minute[/re]: [re=410761]Hooray For Anything[/re]: [re=410767]Extemporanus[/re]: Today we are all Spartacus.

Lascauxcaveman September 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm

[re=410750]Come here a minute[/re]: “I am Spartacus’ butt boy.


magic titty September 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I’m currently reading I, Claudius.

Does this mean I have teh ghey?

shadowMark September 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm

[re=410759]Suds McKenzie[/re]: Oh cool!, so today we “are all” Tiberius Julius Caesar’s — Steven Seagal in Above the Law: “Are we the fucking Romans?”

PlanetWingnuta September 14, 2009 at 5:12 pm

We are all ass raping sex orgy of young millitary studs today…then why arent i smiling as is my wont.

Flanders September 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm

[re=410768]WestEdEd[/re]: I am Spartacus!

nmmagayar September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm

[re=410775]magic titty[/re]: yes

La Cieca September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm

To which Sen. Byrd replied, “Well, that’s all as maybe, Mr. President, but Moses was a mite before my time.”

Suds McKenzie September 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm

[re=410776]shadowMark[/re]: ahh, someone else who worships at the cinematic alter of Seagal.

Hooray For Anything September 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Byrd’s a historian enough to know that the Spartans ran around dressed like dancers at a club in the Castro and encouraged their soldiers to sleep with each other yet none of that prevented them from winning wars against armies from the Middle East by using a dazzling array of slow motion techniques.

Holy Cow!! September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm

So gays are the most powerful weapon on Earth? Or possibly the Borg…

Someone should tell Robert Byrd that he isn’t in Rome.

bopumofu September 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Actually Gaius Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates for ransom. He partied with them for a month and then happily paid more than they demanded. As soon as he was released he hired a couple of ships and came back and crucified them all (and got his money back).

Tiberius was a famous pedophile (and excellent general) who resigned as emperor and withdrew to an island to enjoy himself in private.

I wonder who muddled up the story — Kennedy or Byrd? I also wonder why every single historical refernce to Rome that pops ups in American politics is total crap.

bureaucrap September 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm

FIT training boy at left is spartacus.

SayItWithWookies September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm

It’s a little-known fact, but Senator Byrd also advocated selling your daughters to foreigners so they don’t end up getting you drunk and fornicating with you, as happened to poor Lot.

Extemporanus September 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm

[re=410770]AbstinenceOnly Ed[/re]: I got one at the Venalicium Santorum once. It was deee-lish!

Extemporanus September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm

[re=410772]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: I am Shartacus!

bitchincamaro September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm

And then he mispronounced “orgy”, with a hard-G (as in “Porgy”), like my mom does.

Tundra Grifter September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Who knew Jessica Cutler was a Roman?

kingofmeh September 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm

everybody knows there’s no problem with hazing/rape of young people in the military.

only in the paramilitary forces serving as dept. of state security contractors.

slappypaddy September 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm

[re=410771]dum librul[/re]: i’m just a fucking old cuss.

bopumofu September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm

BTW both of those stories and much much more are in Larry Gonick’s awesome “Comic History of the Universe”

which I strongly recommend.

Disclaimer: I am not Larry Gonick.

slowuncle September 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm

[re=410789]bopumofu[/re]: I just saw “300″ and in between making snarky remarks about Athenians being homos, several of the Spartan characters kept having butt-secks with the same girl, who happened to be the queen. The end.

user-of-owls September 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm

He informed us, with many ornate flourishes, that there had been a terrible problem in ancient Rome with young military boys turned into sex slaves.

Am I the only one rather disturbed by Ted’s apparently euphemistic use of the phrase “many ornate flourishes”?

user-of-owls September 14, 2009 at 5:32 pm

[re=410809]bopumofu[/re]: Today, we are all not Larry Gonick.

problemwithcaring September 14, 2009 at 5:32 pm

This rings true. A sinner like Bill Clinton would have absolutely no understanding of higher Christian concepts such as Gog and Magog.

Naked Bunny with a Whip September 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I can understand why Cleo would not want to kill Byrd and risk getting Byrd bits in her mouth, but I can’t really forgive her.

bopumofu September 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm

[re=410811]slowuncle[/re]: Reminds me of a famous line from Herodotus:

Now it happened that this Candaules was in love with his own wife; and not only so, but thought her the fairest woman in the whole world. This fancy had strange consequences.

The Cold Sea September 14, 2009 at 5:42 pm

So, Senator Byrd saw Felini’s Satyricon and simply didn’t care for it. I guess Salo would be out of the question, too.

Too bad Bill didn’t keep that attitude when D.O.M.A. came across his desk. Just sayin’.

dogscantlookup September 14, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Byrd just remembers when Biggus Dickus creamed racism all over him in the Forum Romanum

Snarkalicious September 14, 2009 at 5:46 pm

[re=410750]Come here a minute[/re]: Is that a gladius in your pocket, or are you just on a crusade to secure your own rights to take 10 year-old male sex slaves?

Josh Fruhlinger September 14, 2009 at 5:52 pm

[re=410789]bopumofu[/re]: Well, technically, Tiberius didn’t retire as emperor; he just hated Rome (the city) abd discovered that he could run the empire pretty effectively from his Island Of Little Boys. Diocletian was the one who retired, to his enormous Adriatic palace (where he did gardening).

I also assumed Byrd was making some garbled recollection of the Caesar piracy episode. I hadn’t heard that sodomy was involved with his partying with those guys, but it wouldn’t be surprising, as Caesar liked the gentlemen and the ladies (his troops affectionately called him “every woman’s husband and every man’s wife”).

And yes, Larry Gonick is the greatest thing that has happened to both cartoons and history.

wheelie September 14, 2009 at 5:57 pm
TGY September 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm

[re=410775]magic titty[/re]: No, but you should also consider getting the ‘Annals of Tacitus’ ’cause R. Graves stole lots of it from him. He was big on annal, you see.

(And Plutarch and Suetonius. They’re recommend reading in gigolo school.)

Holden Caulfield September 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm

This is yet another area where the United States lags behind the Russian military:

Close the male prostitution gap with the Russkis, I say!

magic titty September 14, 2009 at 6:07 pm

[re=410866]TGY[/re]: Very interesting. Thanks.

[re=410784]nmmagayar[/re]: dammit.

Bebe Loves You September 14, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I understand the thing about the sex slaves, but what exactly was the problem?

madtowngooner September 14, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Seems old Bob Byrd is really a Biggus Dickus

AnnieGetYourFun September 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm

I’m not sure what is wrong with me, other than that I am female, but for some reason, I keep thinking that I am so fucking SICK of Bill Clinton, and then some anecdote comes along and verifies that I kind of like the guy. Not in a way that would necessarily cause me to blow him, but enough to understand why everyone else seemed to want to.

Helefink September 14, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Q: What do Robert Byrd and any republican senator’s cock have in common?

A: They’re both stuck up assholes.

Snarkalicious September 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm

[re=410874]Bebe Loves You[/re]: Let me break it down. You see, back in the day, Roman Senators were allowed to take and keep young boys as sex partners. They were of the elite in the Republic, so that was okay. Now, the common soldier saw this and decided that it looked like a fine idea and started to bork small children, as well. This was quashed, but not before the damage was done. Hence, the Visigoths. No big deal yet, right? Well, after moving through and mucking things up in and around Rome, the VG moved on to settle on the Ibearean peninsula, where they eventually got taken out by armies of the Umayyad Caliphate. Hence, we must not allow anything, regardless of how vague or unfounded the threat is, to violate the sanctity of Senators’ exclusive rights to fuck little boy ass with impunity, otherwise we will not be able to defend Spain from Muslin Turrists.

shadowMark September 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm

[re=410874]Bebe Loves You[/re]: It’s possible Byrd wasn’t speaking out against sex slaves per se, but rather the Tiberius Julius Caesar vengeance reference was his way of lobbying for some mechanism that would prevent the young sex slaves from growing up and going all Andrew Cunanan on their former sexy time old friends.

GreatOldOnesParty September 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Kind of a disappointing Clinton reply.
I’d have just listened to Byrd let an uncomfortable pause pass over the room and then say:
“So, gays in the military then? Yes? Yes? Okay, done. Thanks for coming!”

Whiskeybaby September 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm

[re=410888]AnnieGetYourFun[/re]: I hear you. I normally feel pretty meh about Bill these days, but when I found out that he and Barry had lunch together in my neighborhood today, I was all atingle! Imagine being on that little man-date…

dijetlo September 14, 2009 at 6:46 pm

It’s the 10th commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass

Bill Clinton-Bible Fail.

El Pinche September 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm

Bryd: “Hey Kennedy, you like the taste of liquor when it’s filter through the crack of my ass? …Just askin!!”

Extemporanus September 14, 2009 at 6:56 pm

[re=410789]bopumofu[/re]: I also wonder why every single historical refernce to Rome that pops ups in American politics is total crap.

When I’m looking for meaningful historical references to Rome, I turn to American music.

norbizness September 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm

And that’s why his campaign song is “Ain’t No Mountaintop Removed Enough.”

WIDTAP September 14, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Please, please! Listen to Senator bird. If we let gays into the military, the Lyndie England would be out of a job.

lawrenceofthedesert September 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm

You must remember that Sen. Byrd will always be “Fiddlin’ Bob” and thus intensely aware of all things Roman because of the most famous fiddlin’ gig ever going down there, with lucky Nero getting the plum leader/contractor slot, making him Ancient Rome’s Andre Rieu. Bob was just a young boy when Nero did the Firestock Festival and was enchanted by it. He bought 27 Peter Nero albums, even, and cocktail music wasn’t even popular in Bob’s neck of the woods. The arch over the Fiddlin’ Bob Memorial is slated to read, “Nero my God to Thee.”

Snarkalicious September 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm

[re=410902]dijetlo[/re]: So that’s why Republicans do that shit in airports or on vay-cay, eh? Huh. Believe locally, bork globally. For Jebus.

Darkness September 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm

[re=410855]Josh Fruhlinger[/re]: I’ve seen his palace; it’s still there. Since the teabaggers were holding signs begging to be thrown to the lions, maybe we should reanimate ol’ Diocletian.

[re=410914]WIDTAP[/re]: No worries, old lyndie could pull a Monstrous Regiment.

greg September 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Just goes to show the advantages of having someone who’s lived so long and experienced so much in the Senate. I can only imagine the rapes Strom Thurmond had in his youth

Bruno September 14, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Eh, if the gayz can’t get into the militaryz, then contracting in Afganistan looks pretty good by my standards, as long as we all don’t have to get tattoos. You get all the ass you want, night vision goggles, plus $1000 a day,

Norbert September 14, 2009 at 7:47 pm

If Kennedy’s whole book was like that, it might be worth reading. Attention remaining senators: if you can’t manage to do anything positive in terms of legislation, at least start writing memoirs to record scenes like this for posterity and amusement.

Zorg September 14, 2009 at 7:57 pm

I bet if Clinton had just told Byrd that he would always get to be the top whenever he visited military installations, Byrd would have all, like, you know, totally all over it and everything!

dijetlo September 14, 2009 at 7:59 pm

[re=410924]Snarkalicious[/re]: If I could comprehend why Republicans do what they do, I’d be able to open that poisonous snake farm in Paduka KY I’ve always dreamed of.

groove September 14, 2009 at 8:07 pm

The only raping I remember in “300″ was the ass-raping the Persian army took at the point of motherfuckin’ Praetorian spears.

Tundra Grifter September 14, 2009 at 8:34 pm

[re=410811]slowuncle[/re]: Out here in San Francisco, if its the buttsex its generally with a queen. Not necessarily a woman, of course…

Long Form Def Certificate September 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm

It’s a shame Clinton cut the meeting short, before Byrd could get to his narration of the story of Biggus Diccus.

gjdodger September 14, 2009 at 9:33 pm

That’s not actually what happened. In the middle of Byrd’s story, Clinton yelled, “You lie!” It’s kind of a tradition.

notwavingbutdrowning September 14, 2009 at 9:52 pm

But our model for military instruction is derived from the Romans and indeed is represented by the image of man-boy love:

(scroll down)

GreatOldOnesParty September 14, 2009 at 9:55 pm

[re=410954]groove[/re]: Fun fact: Praetorians were Roman. Spartans were Greek.

shadowMark September 14, 2009 at 10:02 pm

[re=410987]gjdodger[/re]: “You lie!” It’s kind of a tradition — I can’t imagine anyone interrupting Hillary with a “You lie!” shout, but I would very much like to see the aftermath.

jeff September 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Great post. I kinda stumbled upon your blog and now I’ve added it to my bookmarks. Interesting stuff.

Williamsville NY plastic surgeon

dogscantlookup September 14, 2009 at 10:22 pm

I just spit Summit, a lovely beer all over my typewriter with the TV on it from Byrd just could be or could have been a bigot excuse me while I go back to listing to PIG a real American old folksy band! good day to you!
oh and what did the Romans ever do for us? besides etc…

groove September 14, 2009 at 10:30 pm

[re=410997]GreatOldOnesParty[/re]: I could have sworn Leonidas’ wife addressed him as “Praetorian” right before he left…

dogscantlookup September 14, 2009 at 10:31 pm

I pray on the blood soaked Bannhammer of the gods smite not me! I will look to Wonkette 10 times a day for lets say a fort night

Links September 14, 2009 at 10:34 pm

That’s because Republicans wanted all the gays as staffers in the Congress for themselves, especially them young ones.

dogscantlookup September 14, 2009 at 10:38 pm

[re=411011]groove[/re]: Praetorian guard were kinda like Roman secret service, and if you look to 300 for historical info I have a two good civil war movie for you it’s called Birth Of A Nation and Gone With The Wind

MGBYG September 14, 2009 at 10:41 pm

[re=410888]AnnieGetYourFun[/re]: I’d want to chat will Bill. Guys ya blow are usually ones you don’t want to chat with. Or so I have heard.

WTF there Jeff?

groove September 14, 2009 at 10:50 pm

[re=411016]dogscantlookup[/re]: Thanks for the edification!

shadowMark September 14, 2009 at 10:52 pm

[re=411019]MGBYG[/re]: I think Jeff likes us and thinks we’re pretty and wants to have seks with us but he wants us to pay him to fix our nose, too. And maybe just lift up our foreheads a little bit.

dogscantlookup September 14, 2009 at 10:55 pm

[re=411019]MGBYG[/re]: I a second that ahaha ahah motion, where is jeff so much tardilific fun

dogscantlookup September 14, 2009 at 11:04 pm

[re=411022]groove[/re]: edificating is what i doo!
Not really, iz a dropout, but I did visit a pubic lieberry when I had to renew my driver license!

Johnny Zhivago September 14, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Byrd’s once again confusing the Imperial Roman Army with the US Navy…

AddHomonym September 14, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Also, let’s be honest, who DIDN’T “stumble on” this blog, hmmm? Also.

dogscantlookup September 14, 2009 at 11:32 pm

[re=411032]Johnny Zhivago[/re]: and the air force on women at least. I always love Churchill when he said of the navy “The real traditions of the British Navy are rum, buggery and the lash” sounds like fun join the navy! but no girls that would be gross!

aleks September 15, 2009 at 12:37 am

I for one welcome our old senile senatorial overloards.

dogscantlookup September 15, 2009 at 1:57 am

I want Pussy juice on my Helmet, makes me feel good!

LoweredPeninsula September 15, 2009 at 5:08 am

I love how Bill summed everything up in typical Clinton fashion by totally ignoring Byrd and cutting to the point. I miss Bill.

LoweredPeninsula September 15, 2009 at 5:10 am

[re=410935]greg[/re]: Surely, I am going to hell for laughing at that. Surely.

gurukalehuru September 15, 2009 at 5:48 am

So, I’m confused. Was Byrd arguing for or against gays in the military?

AKAM80TheWolf September 15, 2009 at 9:08 am

Byrd’s just pissed off because when all the other kiddies were suckling imperial peen, Tiberius kicked him off the island (Survivor: Capri!). 2000 years later and Byrd is still holding that grudge.

AKAM80TheWolf September 15, 2009 at 9:32 am


Caligula won Survivor: Capri. Also.

PlanetWingnuta September 15, 2009 at 9:40 am

[re=411095]AKAM80TheWolf[/re]: Byrd the original Susan Hawke from Survivor 1….remember that bitter mess? LOL.

And does this mean Roman Dayz the Original Senators Go Wild Video during Spring Break in Athens?

Mr Blifil September 15, 2009 at 9:49 am

You would have thought the gay porn scene in Caligula would have been enough for the old coot.

Min September 15, 2009 at 9:51 am

Bill may have read the Commandments, but he sure didn’t write them on his heart. At least, the ones about adultery and bearing false witness.

Darkness September 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

[re=411005]jeff[/re]: Hey, Jeff, things can’t be THAT hard up in the making pretty what is saggy business, can it? REALLY?

sezme September 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

So let me get this straight(!), Clinton trumped Byrd’s Roman Soldiers story by referring to his much more important imaginary friend in the sky (mountain). And he still didn’t figure out how to let teh gey serve proudly in the military. Insanity all around!

Snarkalicious September 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm

[re=410997]GreatOldOnesParty[/re]: Fun fact: Whatever, nerd.

Neilist September 15, 2009 at 10:06 pm

[re=410831]bopumofu[/re]: Tactius’s “Annals” has a better line: “From unseemly flatteries they passed by degrees to savage acts.”

Sort of like, say what?

Mr Blifil September 17, 2009 at 2:01 am

[re=411005]jeff[/re]: Jeff, interested in your experience with penile enlargement. IS IT REALZ?

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