James Taranto points out that no Trent Lott-style ruckus is being raised over the praise by Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd of West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd–who used to be a member of the KKK. Here’s what Dodd said:

It has often been said that the man and the moment come together. I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great Senator at any moment. Some were right for the time. Robert C. Byrd, in my view, would have been right at any time…. He would have been right during the great conflict of civil war in this Nation…. I cannot think of a single moment in this Nation’s 220-plus year history where he would not have been a valuable asset to this country. Certainly today that is not any less true.

The Junkyard blog reports on some of what Byrd has said:

So, according to Dodd, Byrd was right even when he said this?

[T]here are white niggers. I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time, if you want to use that word. But we all–we all–we just need to work together to make our country a better country and I–I’d just as soon quit talking about it so much. [March 2001]

And this?

The New York Times reported in 1971 on a letter Mr. Byrd wrote in 1946, after leaving the Klan. Writing to the Klan’s Imperial Wizard, Mr. Byrd identified himself as a former Kleagle and recommended a person to serve as state Klan coordinator. He wrote, “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia. . . . It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the Union. Will you please inform me as to the possibilities of rebuilding the Klan realm of W.Va?”

And this?

And in a 1947 letter, after Mr. Byrd had been elected to the state senate, he wrote that he would “never submit to fight beneath that banner (the American flag) with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

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