Mr. Byrd’s perspective on the world changed over the years. He filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and supported the Vietnam War only to come to back civil rights measures and criticize the Iraq war. Rating his voting record in 1964, Americans for Democratic Action, the liberal lobbying group, found that his views and the organization’s were aligned only 16 percent of the time. In 2005, he got an A.D.A. rating of 95.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out politically, as I can't imagine a more inopportune time for Democrats to be losing seats.
In the polarized atmosphere of Washington, President Obama’s agenda seemed to hinge on Mr. Byrd’s health.