We drove through a good bit of West Virginia and all along the way I kept looking for signs of a legendary U.S. senator’s penchant for pork-barrel legislation.
We saw barely a trace of it.
I refer to the late Robert Byrd, the king of pork barrel spending. You know, of course, that the term “pork barrel” defines money dumped into legislation that is meant to benefit a legislator’s district or state.
Byrd was the “best of the best” at funneling public money to his home state of West Virginia. I noted his pork-barrel proficiency in a previous blog post.
As we motored along Interstate I-64, I kept waiting to see evidence of this or that bridge or stretch of highway named after Sen. Byrd. I found a bridge with the Byrd name attached to it in Charleston — which also honors another famous native son, a guy named Gen. Chuck Yeager, the man of the “Right Stuff” and supersonic flight.
Oh, I’m sure there must be many myriad public buildings, parks, city streets and rural roads with Sen. Byrd’s name attached to them.
He wasn’t bashful about his lust for luring money to his home state. What the heck. Why should he care? His constituents kept sending back to Washington to do precisely what he did.
Term limits? I look at it this way: If West Virginians were dismayed at how Byrd represented them in Congress, they had the option of removing him from office. They call them “elections.”