What Byrd derides as "flamboyant showmanship" was the kind of leadership the people of West Virginia -- the state with the highest per capita service in the armed forces -- appreciate. Actions speak louder than words, and the president's "self-congratulatory gestures" are exactly the kinds of actions which endear this president to the troops he commands.
Truth be told, "flamboyant showmanship" far better describes Byrd's half-century career. For all his oratorical pretensions to Roman senatorial dignity, in actuality Byrd is the Don King of the Senate. With a safe seat in West Virginia and a singular mission to direct federal largesse back to the Mountain State, Byrd has used taxpayer's money to put his name on more buildings than Ronald McDonald. The Pork King's love of federally funded roads and bridges in West Virginia caused him to once remark, "You might as well threaten to slap my wife as take the highway money from West Virginia."
The Government Accounting Office would do the taxpayers a favor by investigating how much of their money has been wasted on pork barrel spending by Byrd. But that's unlikely to happen, since members like Henry Waxman, D-Calif., prefer to launch politically motivated investigations like the one to probe the cost of President Bush's tribute to the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Waxman insists that the event had "clear political overtones" and may have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. But Waxman expressed no such concerns about the revolving door his buddy Bill put on the Lincoln Bedroom and the "political overtones" of Hollywood starlets turning the White House into the East Coast version of the Playboy Mansion.
Democrats' investigations, criticisms and calls for "regime change" are the kinds of nasty and bitter politics that don't sell in a time of war and only show just how desperate they are to put a chink in this president's armor. Such attacks on the president show their insensitivity to the armed forces he commands and remind the public of Democrat efforts to throw out the absentee ballots of military personnel during the 2000 Florida election.
Since Bill Clinton's tenure, Democrat efforts to win the trust and respect of our men and women in uniform has been a labor of Sisyphus. It just became more complicated with Byrd's attack.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.