Tue, 13 Jun 2006 17:57:00

The summer doldrums have arrived here in Debrisville: it feels like August already.  People are a bit grumpy and seem to have finally noticed how little progress we’ve made in the last 9 1/2 months. Anyway that’s really appropos of nothing; on with the show such as it is.

Item-1  Byrd Over The Senate: One of my favorite pols is Senator Robert Byrd (D-W Va.) He’s an American original and yesterday he made history: he has served for 48 years a total of 17 327 days thereby passing former record holder and lesser Senate light Strom (Who’s Your Daddy?) Thurmond. Senator Byrd is 88 years old and running for re-election. I usually think Senators that old should retire but there are exceptions to every rule and I’m rooting for him. He’s the institutional conscience of the Senate and he’s needed now more than ever.

Senator Byrd is a man of great dignity and decorum. He’s also willing to admit that he’s made mistakes during his career. The fact that he was briefly a Klansman in the Forties often comes up. And when it does Senator Byrd never ducks the issue and  always admits that it was the biggest mistake he ever made in his life. A certain President could learn a lot from Senator Byrd’s dignity honesty and decency.

Senator Byrd was the classic insider for most of his career: committee chairman; majority and minority leader.  But in recent years he has been one of the sternest Senatorial critics of the war in Iraq and the Beavis-Duce administration’s trampling on the constitution. Robert Byrd is old school and proud of it. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Senator Byrd several times when he was Senate Democratic Leader. It was the early Eighties and thanks to the fecklessness and incompetence of Jimmy Carter the Repubs had taken control of the Senate as well as the White House. But unlike other members of the Democratic leadership he was too courtly to use their nickname for the recently defeated President: “that asshole Jimmy Carter.” Digression time: I’ve long thought that Tip O’Neill’s tombstone should read: Never met a person he didn’t like except for Jimmy Carter. I know that this doesn’t fit the saintly current image of  the former President. It’s called spin and it’s a pity Carter wasn’t as good at it in 1980 as he is now.

What I remember most about meeting Senator Byrd was his handshake. My late father believed that you could judge a man by the firmness of his handshake. Robert Byrd passed the test: he gripped my hand and squeezed the living hell out of it while simultaneously slapping my back. I think that it took me a week to regain feeling in my right hand…

Item-2 Carvin’ Up C Ray’s Opponents: Sunday’s Picayune had a front page story about the dean of Debrisville political handlers Jim Carvin. Carvin has had a hand in every winning Mayoral campaign since 1969. That’s right 1969: when Tricky Dick was President and the Beatles were still together. The 76 year old Carvin is the ultimate hired gun.  He worked for Moon Landrieu and later demonized the Landrieus for C Ray. He worked for Marc Morial and then demonized Morial for C Ray. And on and on and on. Carvin’s career is proof that there are no permanent friendships in politics just temporary alliances.

In typical Picayune fashion Gordon Russell salts the story with pro-Nagin bias. If Carvin himself weren’t so interesting it would be inedible as it were. Instead of comparing the 2006 Mayor’s election to the 1990 Barthelemy-Mintz race the story compares it to Dutch Morial’s re-election campaign in 1982 which was nothing like this year’s campaign. Nobody in the mainstream media wants to compare C Ray to Barthelemy: Sidney’s second term was even worse than his first. Boosterism such as this should be restricted to the editorial section and should NOT be splashed across the front page. But the folks who run the Picayune don’t see things that way. That’s why after their brief shining moment last fall the Picayune has resumed its wicked wicked and biased biased ways.


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