In his eulogy to the late Sen. Robert Byrd, former president and good ol’ boy Bill Clinton explained that Byrd wasn’t really a racist. He just pretended to be one and only joined the Ku Klux Klan to get elected.
"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."
In other words, the country boy from the hills and hollows of Arkansas argues it was perfectly fine for the country boy from the hills and hollows of West Virginia to join an organization that lynched blacks and Jews. After all, Clinton explained, “He was just trying to get elected,” as if that legitimizes something so heinous
Clinton said that Byrd’s Ku Klux Klan affiliation was merely “a fleeting association.” That “fleeting association” seems to have lasted nearly a quarter of a century. Shortly after joining the KKK in 1942, Byrd was elected “Kleagle,” an officer whose role in the Klan is to recruit new members. In a letter to the Klan’s Imperial Wizard in 1946, Byrd wrote that the KKK was “needed today as never before.” Byrd was still practicing blatant discrimination and racism 22 years after joining the KKK when he filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Byrd was the only senator to vote against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court.
Clinton’s shameless white-washing of Sen. Byrd’s history of racial discrimination was as spurious and phony as his teary-eyed, “I feel your pain” whimpers. Too bad the senate’s other long-term racial segregationist, the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, left the Democratic Party to become a Republican. Clinton could have explained how a country boy from the hills and hollows of South Carolina only practiced racial discrimination to get elected.