it's morning in america

Robert Byrd Flies Away To Heaven Along With Financial Reform

Add to Flipboard Magazine.
  • Robert Byrd knew all the rules of the Senate and would often read them to friends from West Virginia.After 51 years in the Senate, Robert Byrd of West Virginia died this morning at the age of 92. Byrd was literally wheeled out to vote on Obama’s health-care reform bill and has been “in failing health” for about as long as anyone can remember. The Democrat is best known for being a Ku Klux Klansman, shoveling vast amounts of government money to impoverished West Virginia, and leaving behind a rich YouTube library of weird comments delivered in a folksy, impenetrable Appalachian drawl. Also, his Senate colleague Tom Coburn prayed for Byrd’s death, to prevent health care from passing. But God loves health care and hates Tom Coburn. Including Byrd’s six years in the House, he was the longest-serving member of Congress, ever. And what does it mean, to America and the White House and people hoping for another Scott Brown? West Virginia’s governor is expected to appoint a Democrat. But Financial Reform probably won’t happen, because Scott Brown now says he won’t support it. Why does Scott Brown have to put himself in the middle of everything? Doesn’t he see the flags flying at half mast at the White House and the Capitol? [New York Times]
  • Other political deaths of note: Martin Ginsburg, 78, the lawyer-professor husband of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died Sunday. Dolph Briscoe Jr., conservative Democratic governor of Texas from 1972 to 1978, died at 87. [USA Today]
  • Some smartass “custard shop manager” said something to Joe Biden during a photo-op and Joe Biden said, “”Why don’t you say something nice instead of being a smartass?” [New York Daily News]

About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne


Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • weejee

    At least ol’ Bob had the grace to croak before July 3rd.

    In the vagaries that are the Mountain State’s laws it appears non-minch Governor Manchin will have to appoint and interim desk filler until a special election this fall because Byrd died a few days before a 30-month before his term would have ended anyway, anyhow, anywhoalso.

    If the vacancy had occurred within 30 months of the end of Byrd’s term the Gov could appoint someone to fill the seat until 2012. But and however, and this is where those harpies of the vagaries come in, the law of W. Virginie is not clear on when the “vacancy” occurs. Is it when Byrd died? Is it when he became an official old fart 30 years ago? Is it when Manchin says it occurs, or maybe Manchin he takes a Sanford hike on the Appalachian Trail for a week and says he didn’t hear so there wasn’t a vacancy? Who knows?

    Well the shadow knows, and speaking of shadows do we Wonketteers lay on with the Grand Kleagle jokes about B’rer Byrd’s youthful misadventures with the KKK, or give him a pass ’cause he became more librul with age and he was with the helping with health care & such?

  • Serolf Divad

    Oh, fuck!

  • Limeylizzie

    Oh this makes me sad , and yet Dick Cheney still lives.

  • x111e7thst

    I once had hopes of eventually bettering myself though hard work and study and becoming a custard shop manager. Turns out that they had no paper hats which would fit my head so it was all in vain.

  • the problem child

    So, Cheney made a deal? Three souls got him off the hook, but the price will be higher next time. Fortunately, we are not yet short on “conservative Democrats.”

  • Surfeit O’Hubris

    This is a sad day for the talking point that, because Byrd was in the KKK 130 years ago, Obama-hating teabaggers can’t possibly be racist.

  • WarAndG

    Free Byrd! (you can shoot me for that)

  • weejee

    [re=607476]WarAndG[/re]: We’ll Lynyrd Skynyrd you instead!

  • Oblios Cap


    Who is freer than a dead man?

  • Geogre

    Byrd is also, I believe, the last New Dealer.

    I’m certain he is the last one to believe that the legislative branch made wars and laws. Oh, some one-term House members might believe that, but they get “taken care of” pretty quickly, and single term senators from Illinois who start off believing that get “educated” before long and find themselves hiring Xe for $100,000,000.00.

    Oh, right… and the U.S. Constitution, but nobody looks at that anymore.

  • MarieDeGournay

    Hopefully Byrd’s ghost will haunt Scott Brown, drawling him mad until he votes in favor of financial reform.

  • gurukalehuru

    [re=607470]weejee[/re]: I vote we give him a pass. After all, EVERYBODY was in the KKK, back in the day.

  • Pelagius

    One more white n****r earns his wings…

  • JackDempsey

    [re=607470]weejee[/re]: In WV and elsewhere, the point of “death” is marked by the kicking of bucket.
    News accounts of Senn Byrd’s “death,” including the exhaustive and moving narrative by Mr. Lane above, have been oddly bucket-free.
    I call for a “Rolling Stone” investigation pronto.

  • JMP

    Democrats are the REAL RACISTS because Robert Byrd was in the KKK, even though it was over half a century ago and he’d repudiated and apologized for his past many times; and because a lot of Dems voted against the Civil Rights Act of ’64, even though they were all conservative Southern Dems who all left the party because of it.

  • ManchuCandidate

    Well, who are the GOPers going to point to when the GOPers get caught being themselves on race relations? Did you think about that Robert Byrd?

  • Oldskool

    [re=607488]JMP[/re]: Even George Wallace came around in the middle of his career. Can’t think of any Republitards, though. Nope, they still dust off the Sounthern Strategy every four yeara.

  • Oldskool


  • actor212


    TO: Tom Coburn

    FROM: Yahweh

    Subject: Prayer

    God listens to your prayers. He just doesn’t pay attention right away. Sorry about your damned luck.

  • TGY

    51 years in the Senate would kill anybody, not to mention 92 years in this Vale of Tears. Life is the biggest cause of death.

  • The Toot

    [re=607504]actor212[/re]: Not true! Tom Coburn prayed, G-d listened, and now there are no lesbians in Oklahoma middle schools!

  • facehead


    (via HuffPo)

  • Katydid

    Ya know, I was really pissed when Obama picked Biden, but I’m getting to like the old bastard.

  • actor212

    [re=607509]The Toot[/re]: You mean like how Ahmadinejad played to Allah and now there are no homosexuals in Iran?

  • Long Form Def Certificate

    Why are all the custard-shoppe managers of Milwaukee complete & utter ungrateful scumbags? I recall the proprietor of Leon’s (the basis for Mel’s Diner, on Happy Days, on the tee-vee) having a smart-mouth with Clinton in ’95 or ’96, & the management (including — especially — the brother who did the cowardly thing & shot himself in the mouth) at Gilles’s being dyed-in-the-wool Dittoheads. Now, a Kopp’s manager proves to be a total dick.

    Almost makes me want to give up frozen butter.

  • TGY

    [re=607527]Katydid[/re]: Yeah.

    Today, we are all smart-assed custard shop owners.

  • libwakman

    And then Battlin’ Joe shoved a low-fat Vanilla Custard on a sugarless cone up the anal canal of said fuckfaced manager. Nobody, I mean nobody fucks with the Joeman.

  • Custersdeadhorse

    Does this mean that my 33 1/3 LP with Robert Byrd on the cover–I haven’t had the patience to listen to it–is now a collector’s item? Opening bid is $100 US or EU.

  • chascates

    And so there’s no more members of Congress who can play a reel on their fiddle.

  • Suds McKenzie

    shhhh, just cart him out for the financial reform bill; no one will know the difference.

  • Guppy06

    Why is Byrd getting a pass on being a Klansman? Are you going to wheel out the same “But everybody else was doing it!” excuse when it’s once again mentioned that the pope’s a former Nazi?

    Here, I’ll be the one to speak ill of the dead and get Denby’s panties in a bunch: the old bastard was the poster child of both gentrification and pork-barrel spending in the Senate, a barely-living symbol of everything that is wrong with Congress. Here’s hoping his replacement can’t hold the seat half as long.

    Funny how, after five decades of Senate earmark money, West Virginia really isn’t in that much better shape than when he first got elected.

  • GOPCrusher

    The thing with Byrd was that he owned the fact that he was a former Klansman and filibustered the 64 Civil Rights Act. And he apologized for both.
    Show me one, just one, Republiklan that would do the same thing. They would lie, deny, claim they were taken out of context, and then hold a tearful circle-jerk of a press conference proclaiming that they have turned their life over to the Jeebus. And then go right back to what they were doing before.
    And the same people that are getting pissy about people wishing death on Dick Cheney, are dancing over the fact that Robert Byrd did die.

  • ms_mcgee

    “I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry
    If the hard times don’t kill me, I’ll lay down and die.”
    – Senator Robert Byrd, Rye Whiskey

    (Cue theme song:

  • ms_mcgee

    [re=607625]chascates[/re]: And so it goes. The death of the ho-down.

  • yoko ono

    Hello Wonkettes! I’m an Australian interloper who has been visiting the American political scene for over 10 years via an American web board called Bagism. I come here often for relief, common sense talk, Barry love and a good hearty laugh..mostly to get away from the Ron Paul types and Palin zombies who have infiltrated a once fab John Lennon site I love to visit.. they swarmed in after the moderator demised.;( Most good people left or were hounded off the board. Those extreme right nutters seem to take over like a plague if there is no moderator on a board! They can to tell lies about the President so ugly I can’t imagine how you can bare living in the same country as them. So I’m happy to come here and be assured that not all Americans hate Barry, please tell me these loonies are a minority.;(..I’m not so savvy..just a semi retired gardener and nature lover. I’m looking forward to fitting in..somehow.:)
    Also I’ve just read up on poster on Bagism has mentioned him with respect for what he did for Virginia..the only comment he got was from a rabid right member who said ‘the Klan sends their condolences’. I can’t work these teabaggers and Palin supporters out..they’re all so nasty and filled with such hatred.

    Please explain.;)

  • villageatrois

    Dead at last… dead at last… Thank God Almighty, he’s dead at last!

  • Mr Blifil

    Oh man, now who’s going to be the Constitutional Scholar/Rules and Procedures Schoolmarm? Didn’t he realize the void his death would create? It’s very annoying.