Robert Byrd Longest Serving Member Of Congress On November 18

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia will set an impressive record this coming Wednesday: longest serving member of Congress ever, with 57 years, 51 in the Senate (already longest service), plus six years in the House of Representatives.

Congratulations to Senator Byrd on his longevity! Having said that, will Senator Byrd be seen historically as one of the “great” Senators of all time? Not a chance!

Byrd had an early history of being involved in the Ku Klux Klan and opposed civil rights for a long time. He often has said embarrassing or outrageous statements during his years in Congress, and he obviously is in poor health now at almost age 92, and should really retire from his seat, but will do no such thing until he has taken his last breath, or the people of West Virginia retire him, which is highly unlikely since he is famous for “bringing home the pork” to his state.

He can be admired as a poor young man who went to law school while in Congress, and set a record for consecutive roll call votes that will never be broken. He mellowed as the years went by, and is now considered a reliably consistent Democrat in backing his party and his President.

Like anyone in public life, he has his definite foibles and shortcomings, but still, on this anniversary, we can wish that he is able to stabilize his poor health (a result of Parkinsons), and continue to serve his constituents, which he certainly has done very well.

One comment on “Robert Byrd Longest Serving Member Of Congress On November 18

  1. James November 16, 2009 5:10 pm

    This is a good tribute to Senator Byrd. However, the years he has put in congress only accentuates the point, we need term limits. Byrd has grown but like you said in your comments, he brings home the pork. And that pork comes out of all of us. Moreover, when people are so entrenched in power for so long it breeds an unhealthy atmosphere of entitlement and power. And as the old maxim goes, “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely,” no matter who he or she is.

    But hats off! Cheers to your tribute!

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