Senator Robert Byrd died yesterday at 92 years old.
He was an egomaniac who abused his position of power for five decades.
Shockingly, the voters in West Virginia kept returning him to power.
His death made me think of this quote from history...
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.Alexis de Tocqueville
And that is what Byrd did best.... bribing the voters with other peoples money.
Byrd abused his seniority in Congress to steer record amounts of Government money to the citizens of his generally poor State of West Virginia. His abuses were so outrageous, that the Coast Guard was given branch offices in West Virginia... even though the State is landlocked!
Byrd was also an unrepentant egomaniac who had no qualms about naming everything after himself.
There are literally hundreds of roads, school, bridges, libraries, and government offices named specifically after Robert Byrd.
There are other countries in the world where leaders name everything after themselves... Libya, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq...but they are generally not places that you would want to live.
None of them make the Fortune magazine list of "Most Desirable Places To Live".
Robert Byrd was the opposite of the type of leader our founding fathers wanted for our country.
He was a corrupt bureaucrat who wielded the government position he held like a sledgehammer.
He used his power to reward loyalists and to punish opponents.
To his voters in West Virginia, he was just like a Communist dictator.
Oppose him, and he could cut off the mothers milk of government money.
He ended up making West Virginians fearful, and servile to his demands, and long-term dependents on a Nanny-state government.
Democrats will spend the next few days with speeches and lengthy tributes, but almost all of them will overlook the inconvenient fact that Robert Byrd had long ago been a member of the Ku Klux Klan and had opposed Civil Rights legislation in the 1960's.
I take no pleasure in his death, in fact I feel badly for his friends and family. It is a sad moment for them.
However, I am pleased that Robert Byrd will no longer be abusing taxpayer funds to build monuments to himself. Byrd was the reason that Congress had to come up with a special legislative effort titled "No Monuments To Me."
When Congress has to take special measures to counteract you personally, you are failing your duties as a public servant.