Senator Robert Byrd is dead.
Was he a master of legislative procedure? Yes. Was he a war hawk? Yes. Did he vehemently oppose the war in Iraq? Yes. Was he a bigot? Yes. Did he oppose civil rights legislation? Yes. Did he support civil rights legislation? Yes. Did he deliver thundering speeches in defense of the U.S. Constitution? Yes. Did he oppose constitutional protections for people accused of crimes? Yes.
The career of Robert Byrd is a passing reminder to us that reflexively supporting members of a political party is no way to obtain a particular policy result. Even supporting a particular politician no matter what is likely to lead to inconsistent results — through his life, Byrd was all over the map (except when it came to the delivery of pork, which he diverted almost exclusively to West Virginia). The life of Robert Byrd teaches us that if we want to see a policy enacted, we should support that policy first. We should let our support for parties and politicians be contingent on their actions at a time and not stay consistent over time.