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Hoodwinked: Actual ‘First Black President’ Says Robert Byrd Joined the Klan Just to Get Elected

By Doug Powers  •  July 3, 2010 02:02 PM

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Speaking at Robert Byrd’s memorial service, in typical Bill Clinton style, Bubba didn’t run from the KKK past of the late West Virginia Senator, but rather with it. In the process, Clinton trivialized Byrd’s onetime membership in an organziation that lynched black people:

Former President Bill Clinton explained the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-W.V.) membership in the Ku Klux Klan Friday by claiming Byrd was simply trying to get elected.

Speaking at Byrd’s funeral in Charleston today, Clinton seemed to criticize newspaper eulogies that dwelled on Byrd’s association with the Klan.

“They mention that he once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, and what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means,” Clinton said. “He was a country boy from the hills and hollows of West Virginia. He was trying to get elected. And maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that’s what a good person does. There are no perfect people. There certainly are no perfect politicians.”

Maybe he did something he shouldn’t have? I don’t know about you, but “he wasn’t really a racist… he just pretended to be one because that’s how bad he wanted to be a politician” doesn’t seem like much of a compliment either.

“Fleeting association”? Byrd was an active member of the Klan for at least a year, joining in 1942, and wrote to the Klan’s Imperial Wizard in 1946, saying that the Klan was “needed today as never before.” Byrd fillibustered against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — 22 years after joining the Ku Klux Klan. And yet Clinton waved this all off as a fleeting youthful indescretion, as if Byrd stole somebody’s bike when he was 15.

Not only that, but Clinton seemed to actually be trying to portray Byrd as heroic for being able to overcome his past and go on to do “good works,” as if Byrd had been stricken with polio as a kid but later went on to win a gold medal in track like Wilma Rudolph (who the Klan would have been happy to lynch but fortunately couldn’t catch).

I realize it’s a memorial service and you don’t speak poorly about the person you’re eulogizing, but in Clinton’s haste to defend Robert Byrd, he insulted the intelligence of just about everybody else who cared to see through the BS (anybody who hasn’t sold their soul to the Democrat Party, that is), not to mention gave the back of his hand to all the people who were victims of Klan hatred (it’s almost as if Bill’s telling them, “Your sacrifices were not in vain because we got a good Senator out of it”):

As a side note, the bloom has fallen from the Hope rose, because Bill Clinton got far louder applause at the Byrd memorial than Barack Obama did. But maybe it was just in recognition of the real first black president.

**Written by guest-blogger Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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