Monday, May 12, 2008

The Most Superdelegate of All?

A 90-year-old man may turn out to be a swing vote for the Democratic nomination. Robert Byrd is President Pro Tempore of the Senate, third in line of presidential succession behind Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi.

Tomorrow, if the polls are right, Hillary Clinton will defeat Barack Obama in his home state of West Virginia by more than 2 to 1, and in the past year, she has been wooing Byrd by cosponsoring with him a vain resolution to "deauthorize" the war in Iraq.

As a superdelegate, Sen. Byrd has not declared a preference as yet, but his choice may depend on how well his memory serves him.

In October 2002, he passionately opposed giving George W. Bush a blank check to invade Iraq, but Hillary Clinton took the Senate floor to disagree, "from the perspective of a Senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year's terrible attacks on our Nation. In balancing the risks of action versus inaction, I think New Yorkers, who have gone through the fires of hell, may be more attuned to the risk of not acting. I know I am.

"So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our Nation."

The following March, just before bombs began falling in Baghdad, Byrd told the Senate chamber, "(T)oday I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart...We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance...There is no credible information to connect Saddam Hussein to 9/11."

John McCain rose to disagree, and Hillary Clinton was silent. When he exercises his power as a superdelegate, will Robert Byrd remember that?

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