Robert Byrd, RIP

posted at 8:48 am on June 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The longest serving Senator in history has passed away overnight.  Robert Byrd (D-WV), a controversial figure and third in the line of succession in the current government, died at the age of 92 after a final hospitalization yesterday:

The Senate has lost one of its legends with the death of Robert C. Byrd, an orphan child who married a coal miner’s daughter and rose from the hollows of West Virginia coal country to become the longest serving senator in U.S. history.

He died around 3 a.m. Monday morning after being admitted to the hospital last week for dehydration, yet his condition worsened over the weekend and he became critically ill. Byrd was 92. …

It’s not a stretch to say Byrd wrote the book on the U.S. Senate — he authored a four-volume history of the upper chamber — which is why so many of his younger, more energetic colleagues continued to defer to him when it came to Senate rules and procedures.

Byrd had been hospitalized on and off over the past two years, including an extended hospitalization back in March. He was rarely seen in the Senate in recent months, yet he made it to several key floor votes over the past year.

The timing of Byrd’s death creates the need for a special election, as Nate Silver explained before Byrd passed away:

Byrd’s current term expires on January 3, 2013. Under West Virginia state law on handling Senate vacancies, “if the vacancy occurs less than two years and six months before the end of the term, the Governor appoints someone to fill the unexpired term and there is no election”. Otherwise, Manchin would appoint an interim replacement, and an special election would be held in November to determine who held the seat in 2011 and 2012.

In other words, we are within a week of the threshold established by West Virginia law. If a vacancy were to be declared on July 3rd or later, there would not be an election to replace Byrd until 2012. If it were to occur earlier, there could potentially be an election later this year, although there might be some ambiguities arising from precisely when and how the vacancy were declared.

Manchin, a Democrat, reportedly wanted a shot at the seat himself when Byrd left the Senate.  That would be a difficult maneuver now, at least in terms of the interim appointment.  Had Byrd died a week later, Manchin could have appointed himself to what would have been a two-year term and hoped to ride Barack Obama’s coattails, such as they will be, into a full term in 2012.  Now the election will have to be held this year in a midterm cycle poisonous to Democrats, especially in coal country while the Senate attempts to revive cap-and-trade.

As for Byrd, his death does mark the end of an era and removes a continual flashpoint for controversy.  Byrd’s history as a KKK recruiter and the man who filibustered the Civil Rights Act was routinely cited by Republicans and excused by Democrats.  Ironically, he was the last member of the upper chamber from those days.  Byrd also attracted controversy as one of the biggest practitioners of pork-barrel politics in Congress, which endeared him to many West Virginia voters but made him the scourge of clean-government and fiscal-responsibility activists.  The media treated him with a bit of amnesia regarding the earlier portion of his career, focusing mainly on his self-described expertise on the Constitution and his work as a historian of the Senate.  Only in this past year did media reports focus on his declining health and ability to serve, as Democrats finally removed Byrd as chair of Appropriations when it became clear that he wasn’t able to keep up with the task.

Our prayers are with the Byrd family and with the people of West Virginia.

Update: ABC News reports that the law in West Virginia says that the governor has to declare the seat vacant — and Manchin could wait to do that, apparently.  We’ll see whether West Virginians will demand immediate action.  However, the longer Manchin waits, the longer Harry Reid has to have one less vote for breaking filibusters, too.  I’m guessing that little will get done this week.

Update II: John McCormack has more thoughts.


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RIP – a genuine legend passes on.

KillerKane on June 28, 2010 at 8:50 AM

And Dick Cheney is apparently feeling better. Plus, given all the targeting of the coal industry, it’s less likely Byrd’s successor will be a Democrat.

Happy Monday, liberals!

Sekhmet on June 28, 2010 at 8:51 AM

Yes! Bullet proof fillibuster!

Caper29 on June 28, 2010 at 8:51 AM

I think WVA will go Republican this year!!!

taney71 on June 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

R.I.P. Sheets

Hopefully this is another pickup for the GOP. Unfortunately both the Governor and the other Senator(Rockefeller) are Dems, so I have my doubts about West Virginia.

Doughboy on June 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

When he reaches the other side he will have some splainin to do.

faol on June 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Wapo now suggesting that the law is not clear and that the dems will appoint someone anyway.

Lawyer up boys!

Kempermanx on June 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Remember; there’s nothing you can do that can’t be forgiven… as long as you’re a Democrat.

jacrews on June 28, 2010 at 8:53 AM

He should have never run for his last term. Between him. Thurmond, and Kennedy they were barely capable of lucid decision making and instead ended up being placeholders for an increasingly corrupt party apparatus.

rob verdi on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Maybe they could pass term limits in his honor.

lm10001 on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Robert Byrd….the poster boy of liberal hypocrisy.

For his sake, let’s hope God is merciful.

DLEW on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Wapo now suggesting that the law is not clear and that the dems will appoint someone anyway.

Kempermanx on June 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

It never is with the Left. (Wait, define ‘is’…)

LastRick on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM

May he rest in peace.

29Victor on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM

The gov will wait a week to declare the seat vacant so he can make a two-year appointment.

Mark1971 on June 28, 2010 at 8:55 AM

I was just driving on the Robert C. Byrd Interstate last week. i visited my daughter who lives in a small town. The town has an odd way of dealing with burned out buildings…they let them stand and dont tear them down. Weird.

becki51758 on June 28, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Between him. Thurmond, and Kennedy they were barely capable of lucid decision making and instead ended up being placeholders for an increasingly corrupt party apparatus.

rob verdi on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Since when are those requirements to being in Congress? Comeon.. these people scoff at the notion of even trying to read a bill nowadays

lm10001 on June 28, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Obviously I never (rarely) ever think death is a good thing. It is not. However, it is a shame that Byrd used his life and position to side with those who have done great damage to the Constitution and consequently to the Republic.

A life (in political and legislative terms) ill-spent.

mankai on June 28, 2010 at 8:55 AM

RIP Senator Byrd.

Moving on:

Byrd also attracted controversy as one of the biggest practitioners of pork-barrel politics in Congress

Term limits!

donh525 on June 28, 2010 at 8:56 AM

And Dick Cheney is apparently feeling better. Plus, given all the targeting of the coal industry, it’s less likely Byrd’s successor will be a Democrat.

Happy Monday, liberals!

Sekhmet

I don’t really think that’s the tone we should see here. If you have nothing nice to say then you can opt to not post.

RIP Senator Byrd

Benaiah on June 28, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Ed, there is another possible wrinkle that would affect the lame duck Senate session. If the law says the appointee should serve until the special election, then once the election has been held, the winner should immediately take the seat. Of course, when the special election was held in MA, the state dragged its feet to allow Paul Kirk to continue voting instead of Scott Brown.

Both Illinois and West Virginia have appointed senators who will presumably just serve until the special elections, which will no doubt be in November. (Illinois’ has already been set for Election Day.)

Of course, the Dems’ plan to push cap & trade, card check, the VAT, etc., in the lame duck session may not have hinged on getting one GOP senator to flip, but had other procedural shenanigans in it.

Wethal on June 28, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Hopefully the media will allow the family time to grieve .
I think that while these greedy idiots i n D.C. are passing laws ,perhaps we should have ONE law that specifies how ALL states should handle these vacancies .
The Scott Brown thing could have been drawn out ,I bet the replacement is QUICK .
Most think Byrd would have voted NO for Cap N Tax .
Can anyone tell us the specifics of the law? do ” X ” amount of days have to elapse before the appointment is valid ?
Might be interesting to see is a DEM gets elected in November .
This could be a game changer ……

ELMO Q on June 28, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Robert Byrd was a lot of things – especially to people like us – but first and foremost the man loved his state and his country, and was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was also a scholar of government and the history of democracy.

There are many avenues through which disagreed with him, there were very few through which the latter is true – but may he rest in peace nonetheless.

Red Cloud on June 28, 2010 at 8:57 AM

One by one….

CC

CapedConservative on June 28, 2010 at 8:57 AM

lm10001,
I hadn’t really thought about it that way.

rob verdi on June 28, 2010 at 8:59 AM

If a vacancy were to be declared on July 3rd or later, there would not be an election to replace Byrd until 2012

There you go, Ed. The Dems will just refrain from declaring a vacancy for a week or so. Silly things like laws mean little to them.

Vyce on June 28, 2010 at 8:59 AM

RIP, Senator Byrd, RIP.

mjk on June 28, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Wapo now suggesting that the law is not clear and that the dems will appoint someone anyway.

Lawyer up boys!

Kempermanx on June 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

The law is pretty clear. They can appoint a replacement until November. Maybe that’ll allow them to ram through the financial reform debacle. But come November, they need to hold a special election. If the governor tries to dodge that, there will be holy hell to pay.

Doughboy on June 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

He lived a long, full life. Going to miss his eloquent prose on the floor. Laura Ingraham will probably devote lots of time to him this morning.

carbon_footprint on June 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

The Dems picked up Brown, Collins and Snowe. Maybe someone will remind them what party they are affiliated with? I don’t want to have to listen to Brown making lame excuses on MA talk radio again. New England Republicrats.

Lord have mercy on Byrd. He gave me hours of laughter with this video……

Hening on June 28, 2010 at 9:01 AM

I will not say RIP to anyone who worked to destroy this nation.

Elected or otherwise.

Whatever it takes (naturally and legally) to stop the criminals in D.C.

artist on June 28, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Screw all that RIP BullShjt!! Just one less democrat bigot to muddy the waters and muck up the nations.

abobo on June 28, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Millions are dead. Millions are poor. And Byrd is as responsible as anyone. I don’t care how much he loved this or that, his misguided policies and support for misguided policies are not absolved in death.

I hope his family is comforted. I am sure they will miss him. But as one who lives in the messy wake of his legislative votes (and as one who is trying to raise 4 kids in the cesspool his ilk have created), I have nothing good to say about his political career and in those terms, I’m glad it’s at an end.

mankai on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 AM

RIP, Senator Byrd. West Virginia will never forget you, as they will see your name on every building, bridge, toll booth and outhouse in the state.

Is this a potential pick up?

Darksean on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 AM

RIP Senator Byrd

Benaiah on June 28, 2010 at 8:56 AM

If you can’t say anything nice about HA members, you can opt not to post.

csdeven on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Sheets in the wind.

RIP

mechkiller_k on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Plus, given all the targeting of the coal industry, it’s less likely Byrd’s successor will be a Democrat.

Don’t bet on it… I think all that state elected positions are currently held by democrats…

Looking off wikipedia, it looks like Betty Ireland is the only Republican that has one a statewide election there recently… Cecil H. Underwood won gov there like 15 years ago but he was gov in there in the 1950s too… and he’s dead now…

ninjapirate on June 28, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Before Manchin tries any tricks to get himself appointed (resigning and having Lt. Governor appoint him to the senate), he might want to talk to former governor and former senator Wendell Anderson of Minnesota.

Of course, the West Virginians’ sense of civic outrage might be less than the Minnesotans’. The Minnesotans tossed out Anderson when he ran for a full term.

Wethal on June 28, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Never ever ever would I have imagined Byrd would be at all pivotal in restoring our nation.

rogerb on June 28, 2010 at 9:05 AM

So how about the Robert C. Byrd Memorial Term Limits Act? Seems a fine way to mark his long career.

Good Solid B-Plus on June 28, 2010 at 9:05 AM

RIP, Sen. Byrd.

Condolences to his family, friends, and constituents.

It’s been a difficult couple of years for ranking Democrats, Sen. Kennedy, Con. Murtha, and now Sen. Byrd?

Richard Romano on June 28, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Byrd’s history as a KKK recruiter and the man who filibustered the Civil Rights Act was routinely cited by Republicans and excused by Democrats.

ANYONE who praises Byrds’ tenure in the Senate is a RACIST!

barnone on June 28, 2010 at 9:06 AM

KillerKane on June 28, 2010 at 8:50 AM

Oh, please.

LibTired on June 28, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Byrd’s history as a KKK recruiter and the man who filibustered the Civil Rights Act was routinely cited by Republicans and excused by Democrats.

Someone here care to refresh my memory as to what “excuses” the Dems used to ‘splain his KKK membership?

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

I got nothing.

faraway on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.”

Julius Caesar (Act 3, scene ii)

-William Shakespeare

Wethal on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Screw all that RIP BullShjt!! Just one less democrat bigot to muddy the waters and muck up the nations.

abobo on June 28, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Common decency is never overrated. I am glad Byrd’s political career is finally, mercifully over. It is a shame that his death was necessary to oust him from the Senate, as he should have long ago retired to spend his remaining years with his family.

Good Solid B-Plus on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

If the governor appoints a liberal POS demrat8astard, it is no harm no foul. Can he appoint anyone who is as corrupt and despicable as Byrd was?

Having said that, I feel for his family and friends and I hope they cherish only the happiest days.

csdeven on June 28, 2010 at 9:08 AM

We all suffer because of what Byrd supported and championed over the years. All of us.

mankai on June 28, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Democrats WILL figure out a way to cheat and not declare this seat vacant until after the deadline has passed, so the Governor can appoint a Democrat to hold the seat until 2012.

You can bet on it!

American Elephant on June 28, 2010 at 9:09 AM

The governor’s statement of loss – acknowledging the senator’s death – indirectly declares the seat vacant. It would be VERY tough to argue otherwise, IMHO. Of course, that has never stopped the Dems before!

DINORight on June 28, 2010 at 9:09 AM

As much as I disliked Byrd, now is not the time. The last couple of years he wasn’t all there. He should never have run the last time.Anyway, may God have mercy on his soul.

sandee on June 28, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Sen. Byrd was the very essence of history. He went from a person who discriminated against citizens to someone who spent the rest of his life trying to make up for his errors. Legislating with a guilty conscience isn’t always helpful. He served his state and he was truly an American story. God love him and his family.

Cindy Munford on June 28, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Will West Virginia finally get its act together, do the right think and begin to consider what is best for the Nation as a whole? Or will they continue to vote for left-wing, socialist Pork? DD

Darvin Dowdy on June 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

I don’t really think that’s the tone we should see here. If you have nothing nice to say then you can opt to not post.

RIP Senator Byrd

Benaiah on June 28, 2010

You’re right, Benaiah, so let me repeat what I said in another thread…he looked good in white.

Extrafishy on June 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Can we see a crist part deux? He pops someone in until he can run?

cmsinaz on June 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

He should have never run for his last term. Between him. Thurmond, and Kennedy they were barely capable of lucid decision making and instead ended up being placeholders for an increasingly corrupt party apparatus.

rob verdi on June 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM

should probably include McCain in that also. I doubt that he will finish out his term if he wins which is a pretty good reason to vote ofr him if you don’t care much for JD. i.e would a couple years of McCain be better than 40 years of JD?

It is sad that the only way these people give up power is by dying.

As far as Bryd goes. He was as responsibile as any other statist for taking away our feedom and liberty over the last 50 years. I do not mourn his loss. In fact as a freedom loving citizen I rejoice.

unseen on June 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Someone here care to refresh my memory as to what “excuses” the Dems used to ’splain his KKK membership?

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

“Youthful indiscretions.”

Wethal on June 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

For as big a pain as he could be I enjoyed his old-fashioned oratory sometimes. I also enjoyed the fact that he was a damned good fiddler in his day. RIP, Sen. Byrd.

princetrumpet on June 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Condolences to the Senator’s family.


I suspect that there is an effort now underway to rename Saint Peter’s waiting room as the Robert C. Byrd Pearly Gates Anteroom.

juanito on June 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM

I still don’t understand the status of a special election.

Clearly, by Byrd’s death, there’s a vacancy. But does the WV statute recognize Byrd’s death as the vacancy or does it require that the governor declare a vacancy? In other words, can the governor simply sit on the declaration until after July 3 and then appoint a successor and avoid the special election in November 2010?

BuckeyeSam on June 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Robert Byrd (D-WV), a controversial figure and third in the line of succession in the current government

Too bad you didn’t make Senator. You’d HAD to have been an improvement.

donh525 on June 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Someone here care to refresh my memory as to what “excuses” the Dems used to ’splain his KKK membership?

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

He was a “product of a different era”.

LibTired on June 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM

carbon_footprint on June 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

O/T sorry. Love the new work.

Cindy Munford on June 28, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Robert Byrd lives to 92, Tony Snow lives to 53. No justice there. What is it about evil people that they get more longevity? See Ted Kennedy and Jack Kennedy.

fossten on June 28, 2010 at 9:13 AM

I don’t really think that’s the tone we should see here. If you have nothing nice to say then you can opt to not post.

RIP Senator Byrd

Benaiah on June 28, 2010

Bullcrap. Byrd was the enemy of freedom, he was the enemy of liberty. His votes grew the the federal government caused untold misery to the citizens in the USA. You say RIP? I say RIH

unseen on June 28, 2010 at 9:13 AM

In other words, can the governor simply sit on the declaration until after July 3 and then appoint a successor and avoid the special election in November 2010?

BuckeyeSam on June 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Only if the governor is a Democrat, in which case he can do whatever he wants. If he’s a Republican, he has to follow the rules, otherwise he is a Nazi.

LibTired on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

I can see this epitaph inscribed on his tombstone:

“There are four things people believe in in West Virginia,” Byrd once said. “God Almighty, Sears Roebuck, Carter’s Little Liver Pills and Robert C. Byrd.”

tru2tx on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Byrd was a bigot and a pain in the ass throughout his tenure in the Senate. His politics represented everything I personally disdain. I stand by that.

I am sorry for his family – and offer them my deepest prayers on their heartfelt loss.

jake-the-goose on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Someone here care to refresh my memory as to what “excuses” the Dems used to ’splain his KKK membership?

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

“Youthful indiscretions.”

Wethal on June 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Had Byrd been a Republican, I’m sure the Democrats would readily accept that excuse.

/

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

We all suffer because of what Byrd supported and championed over the years. All of us.

mankai on June 28, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Yet there are people that are still trying to be nice. Byrd certainly wasn’t nice to us or our country.

MobileVideoEngineer on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Shelley Moore Capito is who this blog says GOPers want to push…

http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2010/06/filling_robert.php

And Betty Ireland has it on her wikipedia page that she would be a possible pick to run for the Senate… since she has one statewide office…

ninjapirate on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Someone here care to refresh my memory as to what “excuses” the Dems used to ’splain his KKK membership?

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

He said he was sorry. Sheesh what do you Rethuglicans want!? Let’s “move on”. /s

I also like the revisionist history about how he was the “rules” historian of the Senate to keep its “traditions”.

Y’know… like rewriting the filibuster rules to help the Democrats. Invented the reconciliation plan to bypass filibuster rules that would be used for “budget purposes” only and then deciding that nationalizing the health care industry counts as a “budgetary” concern and can be used in the reconciliation process.

A man and a father has died and I’ll respect him on that. But as a Senator, he was unremarkable.

Skywise on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Good riddance!

Guaranteed that his funeral will be a dog-and-pony show. The left has no true remorse or sorrow, and Kennedy’s name will most certainly be flung around like a frisbee.

madmonkphotog on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Robert Byrd lives to 92, Tony Snow lives to 53. No justice there. What is it about evil people that they get more longevity? See Ted Kennedy and Jack Kennedy.

fossten on June 28, 2010 at 9:13 AM

God calls his own back quicker?

unseen on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Someone here care to refresh my memory as to what “excuses” the Dems used to ’splain his KKK membership?

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

They had a good dental plan?

mankai on June 28, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Huh.

How about that.

greggriffith on June 28, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Interesting question: what position will the successor take on energy legislation that affects WV coal country? For the next two years, that’s probably the only vote that matters to WV.

BuckeyeSam on June 28, 2010 at 9:15 AM

Adios Pork-Meister

fogw on June 28, 2010 at 9:16 AM

I don’t really think that’s the tone we should see here. If you have nothing nice to say then you can opt to not post.

RIP Senator Byrd

Benaiah on June 28, 2010

Very magnanimous, and I fully understand where you are coming from. As a politician – I am feeling no loss for this man – none.

As a man – a family matriarch, etc., I feel for his family.

jake-the-goose on June 28, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Only if the governor is a Democrat, in which case he can do whatever he wants. If he’s a Republican, he has to follow the rules, otherwise he is a Nazi.

LibTired on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Nooo, if he’s a Republican he has to follow the rules as interpreted by a Democrat, otherwise he is a Nazi.

Skywise on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

behind every dirty politician is a man that loved his family. so let’s give him that.

blatantblue on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

As a man – a family matriarch, etc., I feel for his family.

jake-the-goose on June 28, 2010 at 9:17 AM

I agree.

Dire Straits on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Guaranteed that his funeral will be a dog-and-pony show.

madmonkphotog on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

It would be sweet if Byrd’s fellow klansmen turned out in full regalia, but I have a feeling they’ll be asked to lie low.

EnglishMike on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

R.I.P. Robert Byrd…..

Gone to that Great Klavern in the Sky, where every weenie roast has a Fiery Ending!

victor82 on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Now we won’t have to hear any more about Ol’ Blue as this codger screwed the nation while naming every extravagant exploit about himself.

Never forget the poor intern who made the mistake of buying Byrd some fitted sheets thus spoiling his weekend plans. On quiet nights in the Senate Chamber you can still hear the ghostly echo about that one: “RAWNG, RAWNG, RAWNG !,….. IT”S RAWNG !!!”

viking01 on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

God calls his own back quicker?

unseen on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Could be. I guess when you are wreaking havoc in America, like Ted and Byrd were, you are left in place by your master.

fossten on June 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM

He should have never run for his last term. Between him. Thurmond, and Kennedy they were barely capable of lucid decision making and instead ended up being placeholders for an increasingly corrupt party apparatus.

Which is why, if we’re not going to have term limits, that we need some law on the books that if a Senator (or Rep, or Governor) is going to be away from their office for a certain percentage of days (or votes), that an interum replacement either has to be appointed, or the officeholder should be required to step down. See Obama, Barrak; Kerry, John; McCain, John; on top of Byrd, Kennedy, and Thurmond. In the case of the first three, none of them gave up their seats while running full-time for Presidant. In the case of the last, they were in such declining health that they barely could get out of bed, never mind make it to the Senate chamber. In all cases, six states went under represented for two plus years. These politicians (on both sides) have to stop treating these offices like their personal property.

crazy_legs on June 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Skywise on June 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

I wanted to edit that in, but it was too late.

LibTired on June 28, 2010 at 9:20 AM

You know, the Democrats insisted that Ted Kennedy’s death meant the health care bill MUST pass, because it’s what he fought for the hardest.

Now that Byrd has kicked the bucket, does this mean we have to bring back segregation?

fusionaddict on June 28, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Only if the governor is a Democrat, in which case he can do whatever he wants. If he’s a Republican, he has to follow the rules, otherwise he is a Nazi.

LibTired on June 28, 2010 at 9:14 AM

I appreciate the cynicism. But what does the statute say? If it provides the governor with the discretion to “declare a vacancy” at his leisure, then the fault lies with the WV legislature because it enacted a mushy statute. Ideally, the mere fact of death should be an event of automatic vacancy while, in contrast, incapacity (coma, brain death, and the like) would seem to allow for more latitude to determine ultimately that a living senator, because of incapacity, can no longer serve.

It’s all in the statute, so I disagree with you about “following the rules.” The resolution is in what those rules are.

BuckeyeSam on June 28, 2010 at 9:21 AM

The gov will wait a week to declare the seat vacant so he can make a two-year appointment.

Mark1971 on June 28, 2010 at 8:55 AM

Will the people of WV tolerate such a blatent manipulation if the election process? I hope not, but I don’t know WV well.

IMHO, this is where the GOP earns (or loses) their donations. They need to be all over this and make sure a special election happens.

bitsy on June 28, 2010 at 9:21 AM

Someone here care to refresh my memory as to what “excuses” the Dems used to ’splain his KKK membership?

Del Dolemonte on June 28, 2010 at 9:07 AM

I believe they called it “Youthful indescretions”. Must be nice to be considered Youthful at 40.

NavyspyII on June 28, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Ok, someone help me. Regardless of when the governor finally gets around to mentioning it, isn’t the seat vacant the moment Sen. Byrd passed? To do anything else lends a “Weekend at Bernie’s” atmosphere to the Senate.

Cindy Munford on June 28, 2010 at 9:22 AM

I don’t really think that’s the tone we should see here. If you have nothing nice to say then you can opt to not post.

RIP Senator Byrd

Benaiah on June 28, 2010

The new Hot Air cop?

donh525 on June 28, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Anyone know if he is getting a KKK honor guard?

pilamaye on June 28, 2010 at 9:25 AM

I don’t really think that’s the tone we should see here. If you have nothing nice to say then you can opt to not post.

RIP Senator Byrd

Benaiah on June 28, 2010

In a war, you don’t mourn the death of one of the other side’s soldiers.

This is war.

fossten on June 28, 2010 at 9:26 AM

THe GOP MUST DEMAND the GOV of WVa declare a vacantacy.

The GOP must fight or they will be washed away by the tides of history.

unseen on June 28, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Here’s a quote from Sen. Byrd:

It is money, money, money! Not ideas, not principles, but money that reigns supreme in American politics.

kingsjester on June 28, 2010 at 9:27 AM

donh525 on June 28, 2010 at 9:23 AM

It’s only just begun.

Cindy Munford on June 28, 2010 at 9:28 AM

The new Hot Air cop?

donh525 on June 28, 2010 at 9:23 AM

It’s called common decency. A few here seem to lack it.

katy the mean old lady on June 28, 2010 at 9:28 AM

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