Virginia: Swan Song?

For 32 years, Virginia's Harry Flood Byrd was the Senate's chief operating conservative. He made few speeches and he proclaimed no set ideology. But as Chairman of the Finance Committee, he opposed the spending plans of five Presidents, prepared his own budget to show how expenditures could be brought back in line with revenues. Across the Potomac, his Democratic squirearchy firmly ruled the Old Dominion, where Byrd started his career in the state sen ate 50 years ago this month.

Last week, painfully crippled by arthritis, 78-year-old Harry Byrd resigned from the Senate to make way for "someone younger." The...

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