Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, tried to insert a provision into the 2005 Pentagon spending bill last week to tighten ethics laws, but his effort was beaten back by stiff opposition.
"The potential for abuse is enormous.'' said Senator Byrd, who added that the relationship between military contractors and the Pentagon is "too close, too chummy.''
Byrd is no longer my least favorite Democratic Senator. That dubious honor now goes to DINO Zell Miller, who will be speaking at the Republican convention, and who says he'll "do anything [he] can to help re[!]-elect George W. Bush". If you're making odds on the Democrats retaking the Senate, don't be sure you can count this guy as one of their votes. Ummm... Where was I?
Byrd is no longer my least favorite Democratic Senator. But he was for quite some time, having used his long-time seat as chair of the Senate appropriations committee for literally decades to shower his state of West Virginia with the worst sort of pork-barrel projects. (Not that Republicans as a party, swelling Federal spending under Dubya as under Reagan, have much to collectively brag about).
The problem Byrd's talking about is real. But other Senators, including John McCain, are also talking about it. And perhaps Byrd had better let them do the talking...