When Senator Robert Byrd died on June 28, Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste joked that the watchdog organization now can shut its doors.
CAGW has long criticized the many wasteful projects completed in West Virginia with Federal tax dollars. More than 30 of the projects carry the late Senator's name. On NPR in 2001, Byrd called CAGW "a bunch of peckerwoods."
Byrd's comment came in response to criticism of the senator's love of big spending and pork-barrel projects by the taxpayer group.You can read the NY Times extensive obit on Byrd with a liberal slant here or take a conservative look at the man from Power Line here. Conservative blogger Don Surber who writes for the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail gives us a West Virginian view of their senator of 51 years.
"Peckerwood is a derogatory term for a rural white southerner," Schatz ... said. "This is the second time this year Byrd has given the rest of us a primer on racial epithets. Obviously the senator's prodigious command of the lexicon has abandoned him. We've got his goat."
Obviously, Robert Byrd was well liked in his state, but old age befuddled the former member of the KKK in December of last year, when he turned his back on the Mountaineer State's lifeblood ... the coal industry. As Politico reported:
Byrd argued that resistance to constraints on mountaintop-removal coal mining and a failure to acknowledge that “the truth is that some form of climate legislation will likely become public policy” represent the real threat to the future of coal.To demonstrate the total senility of Senator Byrd in his final days, we need only look back to February when Byrd joined seven other Democrat lawmakers who wrote a letter to EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, questioning the agency's fast-tracking the enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations. On June 11, just 17 days before his death, Byrd voted against a Senate resolution which would have severely restricted the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to go after CO2 emitters.
“Change has been a constant throughout the history of our coal industry,” Byrd said in the 1,161-word statement. “West Virginians can choose to anticipate change and adapt to it or resist and be overrun by it. One thing is clear: The time has arrived for the people of the Mountain State to think long and hard about which course they want to choose.”
In almost any other state, Byrd’s remarks might not have caused such a stir. But in West Virginia, where the coal industry — even in its currently diminished form — accounts for 30,000 jobs and more than $3.5 billion in gross annual product and provides roughly half of all American coal exports, according to the state coal association, his statement reverberated across the political landscape.
For the sake of his loyal WV hillbilly supporters, it was now indeed past time for "Sheets" Byrd to meet his maker.