And the September cover of GQ goes to…

13 08 2008

The one and only, Robert Byrd.  Okay, so it might not be the cover.  But it is a serious feature piece written by Robert Draper on Senator Byrd and one well worth reading.  I’m actually going to go out and buy GQ (I can’t believe I’m admitting that).

This article takes more than the tired look at Robert Byrd, 90-years old and the longest serving member in the Senate (since 1959).  For years, editorials and whispers alike have all held the common theme, “Is it time for Senator Byrd to go?”  In addition to the fact that he is a senator still, even more worrisome is the extremely important role that he holds in the US Senate.  The saddest part is that this is not coming strictly from the right; in fact, the loudest whispers come from those closest to him, the party leadership.  Not entirely surprising given the penchant for status climbing that seems to be inherent in political figures.  But Robert Byrd is not your typical 90-year old, nor your typical US Senator.

While his speeches are the subject of YouTube infamy, showcasing his lack of orthodoxy, they do not however show the effectiveness with which he leads.  I have to admit, nothing made me happier when I was driving all over for United Way than to turn on C SPAN Radio, only to hear the distinct voice of Robert Byrd.  I could listen for hours to that man.  While he may from time to time lose his place or his train of thought, he gets his point across and you can’t help but appreciate the intelligence that he shows when you look past the nature of Senator Byrd’s theatrics.

Reading the interview can be a little painstaking for someone that has faith in him.  It is clear that his age has impacted him severely, but even in such instances, it is still clear that he has his wits about him and definitely his sense of humor.

RD: “We’ve been hearing a lot about age this year,” I say. “Do you think John McCain is too old to be president of the United States?”

RB: “No, he’s not too old to be president! No! Of course he’s not! And I’m not either! You’re looking at a man who could be president—right now!”

Only this isn’t a joke.  He actually does believe this.  The author posits that one day a Senate building might adorn the name of Robert Byrd.  I can only hope this comes true.  He deserves it.

Long live Robert Byrd!

P.S.  One for the road…

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