Admirers tout Byrd's longevity at the public trough. But disease, death and taxes have cursed us forever, too. Byrd was 29 and bouncing from job to job (butcher, welder, clerk at a grocery) when he first elbowed his way to West Virginia's House of Delegates; he mooched off our taxes for the next 63 years. Yet statists insist he served us rather than the other way around.
Fittingly, the Ku Klux Klan inspired his descent into politics: after a fledgling Byrd fooled 150 grown men into forking over $13 apiece for the privilege of dressing like Caspar, a "Grand Dragon" allegedly advised him, "The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." And so Byrd enlarged his scam: for the rest of his life, he fooled grown Americans into forking over much of their income for the privilege of paying politicians to tyrannize them.
Nevertheless, Byrd hyped himself as a staunch defender of the Constitution, in part because he always carried a copy in his breast pocket. This is rather like an adulterer's claiming that he strongly defends marriage because he wears his wedding ring during assignations. On the official website we buy Byrd, his "Biography" (sic for "Autobiography" -- and written in the third-person as if that downplays its fulsome bragging) avers that the Constitution was "always close to his heart" and "guide[d] Byrd. Its words and wisdom serve as the foundation for his fierce defense of principle and of the people's liberties. ... If the people's freedoms are jeopardized, if the Constitution's delicate balance is threatened, one will find Senator Robert Byrd leading the defense."
Yep, I retched, too. No doubt said defense explains Byrd's "[belief] that access to decent, affordable health care is the birthright of every citizen" as well as his attempts "to expand access to health care for tens of thousands of West Virginians." You'll recall how subtle and sneaky the Founding Fathers were when empowering the federal government to meddle with medicine: heck, lots of us serfs overlook that Constitutional clause entirely. Not Bobby Byrd! And he's equally fierce at defending the Constitution when it comes to education: in 1985, he "launched the first and only federal merit-based scholarship. Since its inception, tens of thousands of students across the country have helped to pay their tuition bills through this unique initiative [sic for ‘through other people's money']."
Let's not forget Byrd's vaunted "Constitution and Citizenship Day," which decrees September 17th as the date on which public schools must indoctrinate their captives regarding "the great treasure that is our nation and our form of government." Silly me: here I thought our "great treasure" was liberty. "Each of us has an obligation to hand that treasure on to future generations intact and strong and secure." Indeed, a "strong and secure government" is exactly what we need lest the puny little one currently eviscerating our freedom cease. And never mind that the Constitution doesn't authorize the Feds to steal our money for either schools or Byrd's propaganda: the corporate media mourning this statist echo his delusions. So does the twit in the White House, who called Byrd "an unparalleled champion of our Constitution." Well, hey, Barry, it takes one to know one.
Unfortunately for West Virginia, the Pork King's Constitutional dedication was matched only by his allegiance to his home state. The place "is 'wild and wonderful' and 'almost heaven,'" he enthused in one of his books, "with its beautiful hills and its law-abiding, God-fearing, and patriotic people." But it's a bizarre booster who sees his utopia as impoverished and dangerously "rural." Alas, those God-fearing patriots are singularly incompetent, unable to fill even their simplest needs without Big Byrd's help. Whether it's "new job opportunities," a "first-rate, modern highway system," or "provid[ing] richer, fuller lives for ...children," Bob's their guy. Ergo, prisons and highways and hospitals and courthouses and community centers -- named for him despite our paying for them -- litter the state. Citizens Against Government Waste estimate that from 1991 to 2008 alone, this kleptomaniac stole $3.3 billion from us. "My top priority continues to be West Virginia's economic renewal," the thief confesses on his website.
And here we have more proof, if we needed it, that government cannot create prosperity, no matter how much wealth it redistributes: despite Byrd's 63 years of robbing us on his constituents' behalf, West Virginia sinks to the bottom of every economic index. Even its ample natural resources can't offset Leviathan's damage.
If West Virginia or the Constitution were a woman, Bob would be the birdbrained lover who shoots her through the heart while prattling that he adores her. Meanwhile, across the bottom of this hypocrite's website runs the state's motto, "Montani Semper Liberi," which he kindly translates in case we're as ignorant as West Virginians are helpless: "Mountaineers Are Always Free."
Not on Byrd's watch.
Becky Akers, an expert on the American Revolution, writes frequently about issues related to security and privacy. Her articles and columns have been published by Lewrockwell.com, The Freeman, Military History Magazine, American History Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post, and other publications.