The late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia was the longest-serving U.S. Senator of all time, a constitutional expert* and a treasured windbag. He also evolved from being a head-banger racist to a liberal position on many issues. (Above, flowers of remembrance are placed at his desk by a Senate aide). I mention him only because his death on Monday reminded me that in an excellent book that untangles the scandals leading to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, one of the woes piling up on Clinton's head was that if he went to trial before the Senate, Robert Byrd would be in his nirvana:
"Bob Byrd has been waiting for this all his life," the President said bitterly... "He can give long speeches about the Constitution and impeachment. I can just see him walking around the Senate. He'll love it."Byrd loved the Senate and its proceedings all the way from his early days filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to his more commendable stance in opposition to President Bush and the Iraq War. No doubt to the joy of all Americans, Byrd helped arrange for the Senate's proceedings to be televised from 1986, and launched a series of one hundred Senate floor speeches based on his study of the Roman Senate and... and... all I can add is that *if you're not a constitutional expert after 57 years in Congress, what the heck were you doing?!