It looks like Glenn Beck is positioning himself as a right-wing racial policeman to rival the Sharpton and Jackson reign of terror. Today, Beck badmouthed the late Robert Byrd, one of the last principled, old-style Democrats, making sure that his listeners were aware of the old Byrd’s clan membership way back in the 1940s or 1950s.
Byrd was an old Southern gentleman after whom Republicans have always chased for his past peccadilloes. Intellectually honest souls that they are, Repbulicans would attack Byrd’s present policy positions by citing his distant-past indiscretions. Pretty much how Beck played it today.
Most recently, Byrd (D-W.Va.), “a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House,” warned about Obama’s executive-branch power grab.
According to Politico, “Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions ‘can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.’”
“I oppose using the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform and climate change legislation…. As one of the authors of the reconciliation process, I can tell you that the ironclad parliamentary procedures it authorizes were never intended for this purpose.”
The frail senator had taken to the floor of the United States Senate on October 14, 2009, “to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and voice his concerns over the possibility of a major increase in U.S. forces into Afghanistan”:
“General McChrystal, our current military commander in Afghanistan, has requested 30,000-40,000 additional American troops to bolster the more than 65,000 American troops already there. I am not clear as to his reasons and I have many, many questions. What does General McChrystal actually aim to achieve?” “So I am compelled to ask: does it really, really take 100,000 U.S. troops to find Osama bin Laden?”
Perhaps if Republicans adopted Byrd’s skepticism of war for the sake of war, and rediscovered authentic Taft Republicanism—they might even deserve to win the next election.
Here Sen. Byrd is at his finest:
RIP Robert Byrd, you were sui generis.
As for Beck: as if the nation does not already feed on fiction, Beck, aided by one David Barton, has been busily breathing life into—and developing—a fanciful idea: America had black Founding Fathers. A racist society and its schooling have stopped this truth from percolating down to your kids. Glenn to the rescue.
UPDATE: The footage is not yet online (or I haven’t been able to find it), but Beck also singled out Byrd for opposing the Civil Rights Act, the same tack Democrats took with Rand Paul recently.
I would not have expected anything less from Byrd. As I wrote when Rand was being lynched, “It has never occurred to me that for the reasoning advanced in these posts, I could be construed as a racist. Respectable scholars advance the same arguments: Richard A. Epstein, Forbidden Grounds: The Case Against Employment Discrimination Laws (Cambridge, Massachusetts & London, England, 1995), and Richard Pipes, Property and Freedom: The Story of How Through The Centuries Private Ownership has Promoted Liberty and the Rule of Law (New York, 2000).
Beck’s litmus test for racism is as rigorous as Shaka Zulu’s sniff test for witches.