Skip to comments.As Long As The Axe Has His Name On It (Democrats about to throw Robert Byrd under the bus?)
Posted on 12/18/2007 10:37:02 AM PST by jdm
Have the Senate Democrats decided to dump their most egregious porker from his leadership position? The Politico reports this morning that Robert Byrd may get pressured to leave his position as chair of the Appropriations committee, a move that could call into question his ability to function at all in the Senate. Pork has nothing to do with this move:
A group of Senate Democrats has begun quietly exploring ways to replace the venerable Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, believing hes no longer physically up to the job, according to Democratic senators and leadership aides familiar with the discussions.
Under one scenario being circulated in Democratic circles, the 90-year-old Byrd would be named chairman emeritus, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would become acting chairwoman for the remainder of the 110th Congress.
Democratic insiders caution, though, that no decision has been made.
But there is broad discontent among committee members over the way Byrd has run the panel this year and the resulting problems in completing work on the fiscal 2008 spending bills, leading some members to privately push for Byrds replacement as chairman.
Byrd defiantly told the Senate earlier this year that he had no intention of ending his term in office, despite his physical frailty and obvious issues with mobility. Now, though, he seems less able to keep up with his duties on the committee. The budget battles have overwhelmed him, according to this report, and he may have contributed to them through his inability to effectively run committee meetings.
This comes while the Democrats have reeled all year from a series of losses against the White House, especially on budgetary matters. As The Politico notes in another article, they have not only looked incompetent in their inability to produce spending bills, but they have lost important battles when they have done any work at all:
Democratic policy priorities that liberals hoped would be included in the omnibus spending legislation were also left on the cutting-room floor.
Under a veto threat, Democrats removed the reversal of a long-standing anti-abortion provision, abandoned long-sought provisions that would have loosened travel and trade restrictions on Cuba and deleted a line item demanded by unions that would have required federal contractors to pay union wages in disaster areas like New Orleans.
What remains is a smattering of modest policy advances and spending increases on health care, education and transportation that Democrats are touting as the appropriations bill makes its way to the president.
While Democratic leaders have been forced to make the difficult concessions that will enable Congress to adjourn before Christmas, liberals are starting to snipe away, believing their party caved in too easily to an unpopular president.
In the wake of a humiliating 2007, Democrats will want answers for their failures. Byrd makes a good starting point. Even in the best condition, the Senate's close split would challenge an Appropriations chair. If Byrd's performance has declined as badly as the Politico reports, the Democrats obviously need to make a change.
But to whom? And how? Booting Byrd out of his chairmanship will undoubtedly offend his supporters in The Robert Byrd State of West Virginia (recently renamed in an earmark), a state they need in the 2008 election. It would also be an admission that Byrd should have retired before now altogether. The heir apparent, Patty Murray, may be more capable than Byrd, but she's also the same Senator that extolled Osama bin Laden's support for education -- a poor choice for a spotlight leadership position, especially in an election year.
Byrd should have retired before his last election, and the RBSoWV voters should have sent him back to the Robert Byrd Retirement Home with honor and dignity. The Democrats have to swing the axe to get more out of this critical committee chair; he can only hope that they're using a Robert Byrd model to do it.
My thoughts exactly. Who is being blessed here? Who kissed the right A**, err ring? It will be interesting to hear the story behind his “stepping down” and who will take his place.
If the current appropriations bill is 3500 page and a foot tall,
just think how big it would have to be, to be read with Byrd eyes.
You also have to take into consideration, the drool factor on paper products
Yeah, baby! That old geezer still knows the Senate rules and plays hardball. They don’t trust him anymore, old dinasour that he is, they worry he is tying the liberals in knots as often as the Republicans. Good. Throw him under the bus. Let that political genius, Harry Reid, run the show with a pissed off Byrd pecking at him.
Probably a pretty good guess.
The best outcome would be for the pubs to win back the Senate in ‘08 so the neither of these two assclowns is head of the appropriations committee...but then again it’s not like the pubs were any more responsible with the position when they controlled it.
Of course, it is not because the entire Democrat leadership in the Senate is intransigent. It could not possibly be because they refuse to cooperate with the President and would rather hurt the country than take a chance of helping a Republican.
No, their lack of success must be because of that old guy.
Seniors, note well. See what the Democrats think of you, when the chips are down. See how quickly they will throw you under the bus when you become inconvenient.
The want the hands-down most stupid person in the entire Senate, Patty Murray, to replace KKK Byrd.
$10 million wasn’t enough for the illegals defense fund?
Robert should file a workers’ discrimination lawsuit against the Democratic Party.
ROFLOL! Even at the height of his worst fit of senility, Byrd has more brain cells working properly than Patty Murray was endowed with.
If they do indeed put Patty Murray in the position it will continue their tendency to choose their leadership from the meanest, nastiest, lyingest, junkyard dog types they have.
This is not helping them, but they cannot see it.
Ed Morrissey does comedy.
Don't you realize that Osama Bin Laden has broad support in the Arab world because he has spent his money building day-care centers throughout the Middle East for working Islamist single mothers?
I had completely forgotten about the poor dears ;)
It’s all the fault of the majority of WV people who voted all these years in his Senate elections.
So true, I don’t know where Stevens and Byrd differed?
Had this been written a few months ago, I would have assumed that it was wishful thinking, but I saw Senator Byrd on C-SPAN a couple of weeks ago, and he did not look like a well man. Even the Democrats must have noticed that he is no longer up to the task of presiding over the Appropriations Committee.
One thing is clear, Byrd will not live to be as old as Strom. If he dies in the coming year, we have an excellent shot at his seat (presuming whomever Manchin appoints isn’t strong). No state in the country has gone as long currently as WV without electing a GOP Senator (last in 1956 when Chapman Revercomb won a 2-year term, and he was defeated by Byrd in ‘58).