What else would you expect from any Clinton?
Like Jed Clampett, who stumbled upon an oil well on his property, Robert Byrd stumbled upon a group of fellow hicks, if you’re to believe Bill:
“He once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollows from West Virginia. He was trying to get elected,” former President Bill Clinton said of Sen. Robert Byrd.
Well, Byrd was no Clampett:
And then, of course, there is the issue of race. The common interpretation is that Byrd’s is a story of redemption. A one-time Exalted Cyclops of the KKK, Byrd recruited some 150 members to the chapter he led — that’s led, not “joined,” by the way. (If you doubt his commitment to the cause, try to recruit 150 people to do anything, never mind have them pay a hefty fee up front.)
Byrd filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As Bruce Bartlett notes in his book Wrong on Race, Byrd knew he would fail, but he stood on bedrock principle that integration was evil. His individual filibuster, the second longest in American history, fills 86 pages of fine print in the Congressional Record. “Only a true believer,” writes Bartlett, “would ever undertake such a futile effort.”
Unlike some segregationists’, Byrd’s arguments rested less on the principle of states’ rights than on his conviction that black people were simply biologically inferior.
But in Bill’s eyes, it’s all well and good since Byrd was a country boy “trying to get elected.”
Well, next thing you know old Jed’s a millionaire…
(with apologies to all Clampetts, Clampett fans and “country boys [and girls] from the hills”)