Both Bill and Hillary Clinton, separately, go out of their way to paint their favorite KKK member and recruiter–Robert Byrd–as a good guy. While Byrd later disavowed his involvement in the KKK, and told others to avoid it also, Bill Clinton explains that it’s all about political expediency. (Sound like anyone else we know?)
According to his Wikipedia page:
According to Byrd, a Klan official told him, “You have a talent for leadership, Bob … The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation.” Byrd later recalled, “Suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities! I was only 23 or 24 years old, and the thought of a political career had never really hit me. But strike me that night, it did.” Byrd became a recruiter and leader of his chapter. When it came time to elect the top officer (Exalted Cyclops) in the local Klan unit, Byrd won unanimously.
I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
Byrd was a member of the wing of the Democratic Party that opposed desegregation and civil rights imposed by the federal government. However, despite his early career in the KKK, Byrd was linked to such senators as John C. Stennis, J. William Fulbright and George Smathers, who based their segregationist positions on their view of states’ rights in contrast to senators like James Eastland, who held a reputation as a committed racist.
Byrd joined with Democratic senators to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1964, personally filibustering the bill for 14 hours, a move he later said he regretted. Despite an 83-day filibuster in the Senate, both parties in Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Act, and President Johnson signed the bill into law. Byrd also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 but voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968. In 2005, Byrd told The Washington Post that his membership in the Baptist church led to a change in his views. In the opinion of one reviewer, Byrd, like other Southern and border-state Democrats, came to realize that he would have to temper “his blatantly segregationist views” and move to the Democratic Party mainstream if he wanted to play a role nationally.
Byrd was the only senator during his tenure to vote against the only two black SCOTUS nominees (Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas) and filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and repeatedly used the term “nigger” in a nationally televised broadcast as recently as 2001. At the bottom of this post is Byrd, in his own words, talking about how an experience in the 1980s “changed” him. So that’s over 40 years of die hard racism.
Now, we move on to what the Clintons have to say about Byrd when they are being broadcast nationally.
Let’s start with Hillary in 2010. Hillary says that Byrd was a man of “eloquence and nobility” and from her first day in the Senate she “sought out his guidance and his wisdom” she says that as Secretary of State she continued to “rely on his advice and counsel” and was grateful to his support.
WATCH Hillary first (Bill continues below):
Then there’s Bill Clinton describing Robert Byrd as having a “fleeting association” (I would hardly call SEVERAL DECADES fleeting) and by Byrd’s own admission, if he wanted to advance politically he was going to have to change his public stance.
Although Mr. Bill said, “He was a country boy from the hills and hollows of West Virginia–and he was trying to get elected. And maybe he didn’t something that he shouldn’t have done and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does.”
Or in other words, he tried to hide his true colors to advance his own personal agenda. And this is a role model for the Clintons.
Bill Clinton. In his own words:
Some people will say or do anything to get elected. But the truth, like the sun, always rises. Sometimes, when it’s too late. But it’s not too late.
Vote Bernie 2016.