Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) has died at 92.
I had the privilege of speaking with Senator Byrd on many occasions but the most memorable was after his vote against the Iraq War Resolution. He was frustrated with his colleagues and compared the moment to Roman Senators forfeiting their own responsibilities and handing too much power to Caesar.
But Senator Byrd has also been the single US Senator most opposed to change in the Senate chamber — preventing modification of arcane internal rules that make any majority effort in the Senate wobbly and fragile.
His passing will certainly bring on a survey of the Senate machinery and start a process of updating and streamlining — which may in fact not be good with regard to minority political rights.
But without Byrd there, it’s highly unlikely anyone will emerge to be the defender of the institution to the degree he was.
— Steve Clemons