Byrd used his position and seniority in the Senate to funnel huge amounts of money back to the state he represented, West Virginia one of the poorest states in the Union. Travel through West Virginia and you rarely go more than a few miles without passing the Robert C. Byrd something or other. As the Washington joke had it, Byrd didn’t bring home the bacon, he brought back the whole damn hog.
There was, of course, always a stain on Byrd’s record and character dating back to his, albeit brief, membership of the Ku Klux Klan and his attempted filibuster of the 1964 civil rights act and his opposition to the 1965 voting rights act. When Byrd became one of the focal points of opposition to the Iraq war, the anti-war side were far too keen to forget this aspect of Byrd’s record.