From Project 21 member Kevin Martin:
No matter how progressives may seek to spin the truth, Robert Byrd will be forever tarred with the dishonor that comes from being associated with the Ku Klux Klan.
Furthermore, and contradicting the assertion of Bill Clinton at Byrd’s memorial, Byrd’s allegiance to the Klan mindset is not something he appeared to have jettisoned once gaining elected office.
This is a man who, approximately five years before first getting elected to Congress, wrote to the Grand Wizard of the Klan: “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.”
In his mid-twenties, he wrote to U.S. Senator Theodore Bilbo (D-MS): “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.”
Clinton and others — including the NAACP — want to dismiss Byrd’s membership as a “Kleagle” and “Exalted Cyclops” in the KKK and comments such as these as, in Clinton’s words, a “fleeting association” to “get elected” in West Virginia. Fleeting? Really?
Let’s accept Clinton’s assertion that those comments, and his recruiting for the Klan, were youthful indiscretions. As a senator, and well into the prime of his very long life, Byrd personally filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for over 14 hours. He voted against both black nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. He used the “n-word” on the Fox News Channel as late as 2001. In short, he didn’t seem to change all that much.
Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) lost his leadership post years ago for much less. At the time of his death, Senator Byrd was third in the line of presidential succession. Clearly, liberals maintain a double-standard for one of their own.
Attempts by former President Clinton and others to whitewash the history of Senator Byrd is a slap in the face to all those who have fought and died for civil rights over the years.