11/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Robert Byrd Should Resign From the Senate -- Today

So much strategizing and lobbying, in the wake of Ted Kennedy's death, to change the law in Massachusetts to make certain the 60th Democratic vote is there for the health care bill.

Why so little attention to West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, 91, who is more often than not absent from the Senate and who is currently hospitalized after falling at home? He apparently broke no bones, but doctors found an elevated white blood cell count and so they're keeping him.
If the governor of West Virginia were a Republican one could understand Byrd's reluctance to resign, but the state's governor, Joe Manchin III, is a Democrat with the power to appoint an interim senator.

Elected to his ninth term in 2006, Byrd is the longest serving member of the Senate in history. He has nothing left to prove on that count. On September 10 he shed tears when he delivered a floor-speech tribute to his friend Ted Kennedy. That was one of the increasingly rare days he was able to make it to work.

A statement issued by his spokesman noted Byrd's "disappointment that he was unable to join all his Senate colleagues this afternoon for the biennial Senate photo."

What happens if health care comes up for a vote and Byrd is simply too sick to be wheeled in?

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