Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency
by Sen. Robert C. Byrd
New York: W.W. Norton & Co.; 270 pp., $23.95
Robert Byrd is the ultimate political survivor. He has served in Congress for more than 50 years and has cast more votes than any other senator in American history. Publicists for the Stupid Party generally sneer at the senator from West Virginia for being an ex-member of the KKK (some 60 years ago) and for directing as much pork to his home state as possible. The occasionally sensible Michelle Malkin recently suggested that Byrd is senile. Her colleague Ann Coulter described him as a “vain, ranting windbag of a kleptocrat” shortly before Congress authorized war in Iraq. The far wiser Paul Craig Roberts recently suggested that Byrd is the “Constitution’s greatest—and perhaps only—defender in the US government.” Roberts is on to something: Byrd is the closest thing to a constitutionalist in the U.S. Senate. He is particularly concerned with maintaining the separation of powers and defending the prerogatives of the Congress.
Subjects that provoke Byrd’s anger in Losing America are President George W. Bush’s attempts to infringe on Congress’s spending power and the latter’s frequent refusal to fight back. Immediately...