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Sen. Byrd Back on the D.L.

The Senate's longest-serving member, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), was re-admitted to the hospital Wednesday afternoon, according to his office.

Byrd, 90, was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center last week after falling at his Virginia home. He was later released after doctors concluded he hadn't broken any bones. According to Byrd's spokesman, Jesse Jacobs, the senator was hospitalized again yesterday because of a reaction to antibiotics used to treat a urinary tract infection.

"His stay is expected to be brief," Jacobs said of the legendary fiery orator.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  March 5, 2008; 6:05 PM ET
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Senator Byrd's passionate objections to the unjust, unnecessary and unconstitutional war in Iraq are now a part of our history and are treasured by all rational Americans. I wish him the best.

Posted by: Dr Edward Shipwash | March 5, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I will forever remember the lone voice of Sen. Robert Byrd in his eloquent objection to the Iraq War. It was one of the finest hours in the United States Senate.

Posted by: Rob | March 5, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Byrd clearly cannot discharge duties of his office. He should step down and permit a successor to run for his seat in 2008. That's what a true patriot would do.

Posted by: Jay Blount | March 5, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

he should go live in iraq

Posted by: wayne | March 5, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I will forever remember his affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan.

Posted by: Gary | March 5, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

"He should go live in Iraq"?? Shouldn't the people like Bush and McCain, who want us to be there 100 years, go live in Iraq? Our country truly has been dumbed down.

Posted by: Bill | March 5, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Robert Byrd is a very good Senator he should not resign.

Posted by: Robert Turman | March 5, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

You do know that your article title comes off as a slight towards Sen Byrd. Being on the DL is most often used to when referring to a married male who seeks out homosexual encounters outside of his marriage unbeknownst to his partner. Good job.

Posted by: Aaron | March 5, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Let the critics whimper to their heart's content but there is no denying that among historians, Byrd's name will be mentioned with the likes of Clay, Calhoun and Webster. He is a great Patriot and a man of unquestionable honor and integrity. I am sure that millions like me, wish his a speedy and full recovery.

Posted by: Alan Hicks | March 5, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The man is an avowed racist.

In 1942, 24-year-old Byrd joined the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), whose parades in Matoaka, West Virginia, he had witnessed in his childhood. He was unanimously elected Exalted Cyclops, or leader, of his local chapter.[4]
Byrd, in his autobiography, attributed the beginnings of his political career to this incident, although he lamented that they involved the Klan. According to Byrd's recollection, KKK official Joel L. Baskin told him "You have a talent for leadership, Bob ... The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd recalls that "suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities. I was only 23 or 24, and the thought of a political career had never struck me. But strike me that night, it did."[4] He participated in the KKK during World War II, holding the titles Kleagle (recruiter) and Exalted Cyclops.

Posted by: Robert | March 5, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

It's truly sad that although Sen. Byrd faithfully carried out the duties of his office for a half century and stood by his beliefs under tremendous pressure, he is only recognized by mistakes made over 65 years ago.
What were you doing 65 years ago? Was a "mistake" something you made in your pants, or had you even been born yet? If you have anything substantial to criticize Sen. Byrd for, please feel free to do so. Otherwise, it's time you let this go.

Posted by: Annoyed | March 6, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Senator Byrd's sage advice on the nature of the war on Iraq has been borne out daily since. I wish him well and thank him for having taken his his courageous stand.

Posted by: Charles Albano | March 6, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Aaron - she meant DL in the baseball sense (disabled list), that he's out for a few days/weeks and then returns to his job.

Posted by: Nico Savidge | March 6, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Aaron - Your lack of knowledge of what "DL" means in the sports world means you may indeed be on the Down Low yourself.

Posted by: D.Rizzle | March 6, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I sincerely hope the drug wasn't Levaquin which is commonly prescribed for UTI. I am still recovering 2 years after having taken it. Senator Byrd is a wonderful, hard-working man and he is NOT a racist.

Posted by: Linda | March 6, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Despite any stupidities of youth, over his career Senator Byrd has grown and proven to be an ardent and able defender of our Constitution, which to me means he is defending the rights of the citizens of this great country.

Never take our freedoms for granted. These must be protected at all times and in all circumstances if we are to give our children any kind of legacy at all.

Posted by: Rob C | March 6, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

As a long-time West Virginian (although I'm not a native), I am very proud of Robert C. Byrd, albeit that there have been/are/most likely will be times when I disagree with him. I will gladly trust him to know when he should no longer serve our nation and my state. Would that the other states in the union were as well served. If Congress and the Bush adminstration had heeded his counsel, we would most certainly not be mired in Irag and our civil liberties would be better preserved.

Let's put some of the criticisms of RCB in perspective:
1) The sins of his youth (KKK, etc.) have LONG SINCE been erased by decades of admirable service. Byrd himself, both by word and deed, has repented of his youthful transgressions. His career has demonstrated that there is such a thing as redemption, a fact which I find immensely reassuring, needing (like the rest of you!) redemption myself. Can't forgive him? Get over it!
2) Is he "The KING of PORK?" There has been a measure of truth in this (there is, I admit, a building at the institution where I work that has his name on it), but again, some perspective is in order. The state of West Virginia had been financially raped for over a century by the "extraction" industries that mined WV coal, pumped WV natural gas and oil, and cut WV timber while returning precious little of the profit to the state. The "pork" projects in WV have largely been positive development projects, and at any rate, such projects have constituted the most minute reparation for the economic exploitation we have suffered. There will always be wasteful "pork" expenditures and I agree that they should end. But there are no $200+ million "bridges to nowhere" here in WV.
3) If Sen. Byrd's advanced age puts him on the "DL," I wish him speedy recovery and welcome his return to the starting lineup. We still need his counsel, particularly since he is likely the most astute student of the Senate now serving (if not all-time). Remember, people, the U.S. Senate is DELIBERATIVE body where we want wisdom and judgment. The Senate's business should not resemble speed-dating. RCB's flowery vocabulary and white pompadour seem anachronistic to many, but he has consistently been a public servant of substance. Do you really care about his style or his age?? Find something important to whine about . . .
4) Statemanship matters. RCB is a stateman. 'Nuff said.

Rock on, RCB.

Posted by: jfbdma | March 6, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

he is a great patriot, has served his state for a half century with distinction; but, he should step down, as he has ailments \, and, his age is also against him.

Posted by: samR | March 6, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Watching Byrd "deliver", one is struck more by his obvious need for adulation than for any pressing need to get his point across.

He is trying, desperately it seems, to resurrect the flowery and
stentorian style of yesteryear when other notables were similarly enchanted by the sound of their own voices, Dirksen quickly comes to mind.

Unquestionably, Byrd is the Senate's "eminence gris" but to what avail when he comes across as a caricature of other historical windbags.
It appears an inevitable outcome of age that we are rendered silly and pathetic. Step down Byrd, your time has passed and your excessive flair is an unbecoming display of theatrics.

Posted by: Byrd's bluster | March 7, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Robert Byrd is a doddering buffoon who has done enormous harm to his own state by supporting environmental atrocities like mountaintop removal mining.

Posted by: david | March 7, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm honored to have Robert Byrd's wisdom and condemnation of this administration abuse of power. As a patriot myself, I'm astonished that the right wing (who professes to be true Americans) are so eager to support this illegal war, and all the dirty deals surrounding it. Byrd's courage to confront these abuses is rare in congress, and I dread his departure. As to his past, everyone has done things for which they regret; I believe he should be seen for the good he has done since then. I wish him a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Paul Johnson | March 7, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The greatest virtues in the biography of Sen. Robert Byrd are redemption, solid maturity, personal growth and perseverance.
It is, thus, not incorrect to mention the mistake of his youth in belong to the Ku Klux Klan.
It is wrong only to refuse to put it in the context of his entire life in which he learned to transcend racism, learned to act in the Senate in a way that would get him named majority leader and, among other achievements, got his law degree in his 70s.
It also is true, now, that besides casting more votes than any senator in history, he long will be remembered for one of the greatest speeches in American history. That speech was the one reminding the Congress of its Constitutional obligations in making war, prior to the unprecedented pre-emptive war in Iraq.

Posted by: Dan Hamrick | March 7, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: floxie | March 8, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Robert C Byrd has been more of a benefit than a cost to the great state of West Virginia and the Unites States of America. His productive services to the United States Senate has not been matched since the early days of this government's construction.

As a statesman Senator Byrd has again and again proven his deep concern for the direction of the State of West Virginia and the USA. His leadership has time and time again proven effective and progressive. No one person in a clear and capable mindset can honestly say that Senator Byrd has not done a great Job as Senator.

Those that bring up the negatives of Senator Byrd's life, especially the ones that did not negatively effect his leadership and productiveness to the government, are just playing politics and are ignoring the fact that Senator Byrd is one of the best things to happen to West Virginia and the United States of America.


Posted by: Jeremy Lester | March 8, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

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