Obama On Robert Byrd

GLENN: You see what they are doing to the Internet today. It is amazing to me. This should be an outrage everywhere, that Homeland Security is now banning what they deem controversial websites with the federal government. So if you are a federal employee, your computer will block certain websites. But there’s no, there’s no definition of controversial websites. I guarantee you GlennBeck.com will be banned. Guarantee you. That is your first step to becoming China. First the government bans controversial websites. Excuse me? Do not become a slave of the federal government. Don’t do it. Please don’t do it. You want to — here’s something that I think should be deemed controversial and is not. Let me play the audio of what Bill Clinton said about Robert Byrd. Listen to this.

BILL CLINTON: A lot of people who wrote these eulogies for Senator Byrd in the newspapers, and I read a bunch of them, and they mention that he once had a fleeting association with

GLENN: Fleeting.

BILL CLINTON: the Ku Klux Klan and what does that mean. I tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and the hollows of West Virginia. He was trying to get elected, and maybe he did something he shouldn’t have done.

GLENN: Stop, stop. Insult to West Virginia: You’re just a bunch of stick cretins that only understand the Klan. Now, may I ask if the — if Robert Byrd, could you find out for me, Stu, how many years he was with the Klan? A fleeting association with the Klan. If my memory serves correct, it was significant association with the Klan.

PAT: Well, and he became a, what do they call it, Grand Kleagle. A Grand Kleagle is a — a Kleagle is a recruiter. A Grand Kleagle means something even more significant. And the guy was — I mean, up until 1946, writing to the head of the grand wizard of the KKK talking about how necessary it was for West Virginia and how it was needed more now than ever before in its history, and he wanted to be a big part of bringing it back in West Virginia and nationally. And, you know, up until 1964 even though he wasn’t a member anymore, he was still filibustering the Civil Rights Movement.

GLENN: Look, do you remember what happened to Trent Lott for saying, I wish you were president?

PAT: Barbecued.

GLENN: They drummed him out.

PAT: Strom Thurmond was —

GLENN: Let’s just give a little history on Strom Thurmond. Strom Thurmond was a racist, period. He was a racist. But he had a change of heart. Now, whether or not it was sincere, no man knows. Only God.

PAT: Like Robert Byrd.

GLENN: Hold on just a second. But Strom Thurmond was the first senator from the South to hire an African American to serve on a senatorial staff. The first in like, what, 1970, 1971? The guy took action steps.

Now, you are exactly right, Pat. Just like Robert Byrd, we can’t know if the guy had an actual change of heart. And I’m not saying that we should judge him solely on his Klan membership that ended in the 1960s. Everybody makes mistakes and there is forgiveness. Everybody — listen to this: These are the same people that trash our founding fathers. They can’t cut our founding fathers an inch of slack, not one inch. And yet they cut a Klan member slack and say he was just doing it for politics.

Let me ask you this: Which is worse? A guy who is stringing people up because he believes it, or a guy who’s stringing people up because he’s just trying to get elected? I mean, it’s hard to choose between those two nightmares. Is there a difference between the two? "Hey, I’m only making this news to lynch somebody just to get elected. I didn’t mean it." What?

This is a — this is a disgrace. Every American, every American, you cannot judge Robert Byrd. We don’t know the man’s heart. We have no idea. Did he actually change or not? We don’t know. Give the man the benefit of the doubt. But to sweep his Klan membership under the rug as, A, fleeting, B, just about politics is obscene.

PAT: And to sweep the entire population of West Virginia under the rug with him by saying that he was a, backwoods guy from West Virginia, I don’t remember the exact quote. But to lump the West Virginians in with him and that’s how you appeal to them to get elected, that’s despicable.

GLENN: Well, that’s, what is it, bitter?

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: Race, white people? What was the bitter God fearing?

PAT: Clinging to their guns and religion?

GLENN: Clinging to their gods and their guns? Yeah. I mean, that’s basically what he’s saying. And didn’t he say it about the people in West Virginia?

PAT: No, that was —

GLENN: Pennsylvania?

PAT: Pennsylvania, uh huh.

GLENN: Okay. I mean, parts of Pennsylvania are the same as West Virginia. I mean, it’s the same, you know, kind of backwood toothless kind of clinging to your God and gun kind of people. I mean, they are — how would elites say it? Simple people? I would like to say they’re normal people. Look what he’s doing. He’s saying the same thing about West Virginia and Obama has said about Pennsylvania. "You’re just backwoods stupid people that are just freaked out by a different color skin." You know what? There are those people. There are those people. And there is the Klan.

How many times have I said over the last 20 years, stop playing the race card. Because racism exists and you’re making it — you are a little boy that cried wolf. There is race — the Klan exists. The Klan shouldn’t exist. We should all be against the Klan. All of us. I don’t care where you live. But to say that it’s okay because a politician can just use the Klan to get elected, oh, my gosh. You know what, I just, I happen to live in a devil worshipping community. Okay, all right, so I was worshipping the devil with them, but I was only doing it, you know, to get elected. Oh! Okay. Now I feel better. Good heavens!

STU: And to go back to the Trent Lott thing, I mean, Lott praised the political career in general of Strom Thurmond and said, well, what he really meant was this one specific policy when he ran for president. With Byrd Clinton is specifically excusing him from his one bad thing that supposedly wasn’t that big of a deal and was fleeting.

GLENN: No, it wasn’t and, yes, it was a big deal.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: But do we judge Robert Byrd only on that? No.

STU: It’s a big — it’s something you have to consider.

GLENN: It is a big part of Robert Byrd’s past.

STU: The Washington Post reported that not only did he — you know, he was in the KKK. He recruited 150 other people to be in the KKK, and it was the head — one of his mentors at the KKK that urged him to first go into politics.

GLENN: So I ask you, who’s the racist here? We’re being called racist all the time. I would never excuse a person’s KKK membership. I didn’t excuse Strom Thurmond’s past. But that doesn’t mean you solely judge a man on that and it doesn’t mean it with Robert Byrd. But you don’t dismiss it as historic fact. And you certainly don’t embrace and say, well, a politician can do that because he’s just a politician, he was just trying to get elected. Who’s the racist here? Hey, African Americans, how do you feel that the first black president said that it was cool that a guy was in the KKK because he was just trying to get elected? How does that make you feel? I mean, that is — now, here’s what should happen. That story should be everywhere. It’s not going to be. That story should be everywhere. Everyone should be universally disgusted by it and we just chalk it up in our memory that that’s what Bill Clinton said, that’s who he is, and we move on with his life — our life. We don’t need to destroy anybody with it. We just need to remember it.