Senator and former Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan in West Virginia Robert C. Byrd is giving up his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee on January 6, 2009, a short 14 days before Senator Barack Obama is to be inaugurated.

To those who say that it is unfair of me to juxtapose these two surely unrelated events, allow me to quote from the press release from Byrd’s office:

I have been privileged to be a member of the Senate Appropriations Committeefor 50 years and to have chaired the Committee for ten years, during a timeof enormous change in our great country, both culturally and politically. Ihave learned that nothing is quite so permanent as change. It is simply apart of living and should not be feared. To be serving in the Senate atsuch a momentous time in our history fills me with enormous pride. Iendorsed President-elect Obama because I believed that we had taken thewrong course both at home and abroad. I am delighted with his victory. I wasan early critic of the war in Iraq, as was the President-elect, who decriedthis war even before he was running for a United States Senate seat. I wishour new President every success with his commitment to unite us as onepeople.

Doth the Senator protest too much? If he wanted to join in HopeChange™ so badly, why wouldn’t he stay on another year, or at least another two weeks in some symbolic form? Surely the former Majority Leader would be given that leeway by his caucus.

Regardless, I wonder if Senator Reid and the gang will let him keep some post, perhaps becoming Co-Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Soft Desserts, joining new colleagues to vote on what flavor pudding the Congress gets to eat at lunch.

I bet he picks vanilla.