Thursday, March 03, 2005

Byrd's Non-explanation Explanation

The Associated Press reports that Senator Robert Byrd is trying to un-say his comparison of a possible Republican senatorial rule change with Nazi tactics. Link. (also link to my post yesterday on his statement.)
Sen. Robert Byrd's description of Adolf Hitler's rise to power was meant as a warning to heed the past and not as a comparison to Republicans, a spokesman for the West Virginia Democrat says.

Nonetheless, two Jewish groups and a pair of GOP politicians chastised the senator on Wednesday, including one who recalled Byrd's Ku Klux Klan membership as a young man. Byrd's comments, which he made Tuesday in the Senate, came during his speech criticizing a Republican plan to block Democrats from filibustering President Bush's judicial nominees.

I saw footage of his speech; all of it, not just a few-second snippet. He said exactly what he is accused of saying. Further, he read the remarks. They were not heated, off-the-cuff statements that may poorly reflect what a speaker means. There is no need for Senator Byrd to remind us how much he loves the filibuster. The ex-KKKer participated in the 57-hour filibuster in 1964 that tried to kill the Civil Rights Bill. All of the senators participating were Democrats. The 1964 Civil Rights Act passed with a far larger percentage of Republicans voting in favor than Democrats. That was back when senators wanting to kill a bill with majority backing had to actually talk for hours or days. Under today's rules only a threat to speak is made, and if 60 votes cannot be found for closure, the bill is tabled.


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