Evan Bayh Out

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bayh.jpgWith $13 million in campaign funds at his disposal and this week the deadline by which other Democratic candidates must file for the Indiana Senate race, Senator Evan Bayh — who was runner up to Joe Biden to be Obama’s vice presidential running mate — is bowing out of the 2010 U.S. Senate race.
Add to this that former Senator and US Ambassador to Germany Dan Coats, who has been under strong attack in the state for lobbying and residency issues, seemed to have been slipping as a serious candidate.
This is serious stuff. Bayh, who was a likely win in Indiana, now makes the state a toss-up, if not a takeover by the Republican Party.
This could mean that Democrats could lose Biden’s seat, Obama’s former seat — and possibly even Harry Reid’s seat in addition to Bayh’s.
While I opposed Bayh’s selection for the VP ticket and find his views on US foreign policy to often be recklessly hawkish, Bayh was on most issues a deliberative, thoughtful Senator in a very purple state. Those who want to hold a Senate majority that can help give some support to a reworked Obama policy game plan should not be pleased with his departure.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

23 comments on “Evan Bayh Out

  1. Mr Kowalski says:

    Evan Bayh heard what Obama clearly missed: the hot lead whizzing by, courtesy of the people of Massachussetts. He’s now fled the battlefield, and rightly so.
    and still they’re going to hopelessly push on with ObamaCare as the economy deteriorates.
    Oh well.. Jimmy Carter & GWB needed some competetion for worst of the modern era.

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  2. questions says:

    Can’t resist, and it’s a dead thread anyway, so:
    http://xkcd.com/690/
    Enjoy!!!

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  3. questions says:

    d’Ippolito is out.
    Let the selection games begin.
    *****
    The commission thing is designed to deal with structural problems inherent in electoral legislatures. It’s against the interest of any single MC to be traced to a cut in benefits, jobs in the district, or anything else that could cause pain. If it’s against the MC’s interest, it becomes utterly irrational and simply won’t happen.
    The commission gets around the traceability issue, around the irrationality issue, and lets legislative action happen.
    Political courage is a silly phrase in that it requires the same logic that, say, suicide terror does. Sacrifice oneself not merely for the greater good, but for one’s future as well. That is, if you think of yourself as a valid legislator and you get yourself kicked out because you harmed your constituents in the name of some abstract greater good, you never again get to legislate. Who would do that? It’s structural.
    Short version: Broder — harrumph.
    Of course, the commission is barely democratic, fairly ridiculous, and utterly necessary at the same time.
    Unless there’s less of an economic problem with entitlements than some seem to think. Might comprehensive health care take care of Medicare and Medicaid (which has become everyone’s favorite long term nursing care program)? Might Social Security need a teensy tweak here and there? Might it be ok to increase taxes in some corners of the economic spectrum?
    Beyond Bayh’s commission issue is the issue of whether or not we really need to do much of what Bayh wants done.

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  4. Chris Rasmussen says:

    Just imho, but Bayh seems to be in the mold of “Beltway conventional wisdom” than having any core beliefs and/or fire in the belly.
    Look at one of his core issues: the entitlement commission. Now, you may well be for or against it or for or against cutting entitlements.
    But the principle argument for a Commission is that “legislators cannot propose cutting entitlements so a non-partisan Commission should make them.” If Sen. Bayh thought entitlements should be cut, he could have proposed something specific. Proposing a commission is a typical Beltway, David Broder response — abdicating your responsibility as a legislator to a bunch of unelected “Wise Men (or Women).”
    It isn’t exactly a Profile in Courage and certainly isn’t particularly thoughtful.
    To say nothing of “well, if you thought cutting spending was so important, why did you support an openended land war in Asia?”

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  5. questions says:

    Oops!
    D’Ippolito
    Sorry about that.

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  6. questions says:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/dippolito-i-have-enough-signatures-to-get-on-the-ballot-for-in-sen-dem-primary-ballot.php?ref=fpblg
    A new wrinkle in the Indiana Dem primary battle! There might actually be a dem nominee. Those are going to be THE most combed over petitions ever. Maybe they’ll bring in a team from Chicago!
    The repubs have helped this woman d’Ippolyte collect signatures. I wonder why.
    Maybe a left insurgency is possible? But she really does sound like she doesn’t have it all together. People can surprise us, though. Who’dathunk Bayh would do what he did?!

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  7. donj says:

    Hmmmm. So Mr Somnolent is quitting. Yep, quitting. Hard to believe he is related to his father. Ever hear him speak? He gave a state political convention keynote speech — it was the only time in 25 years going to that convention that I watched more than half of the delegates and alternates walk out after about 1/3 of his speech, a more before the 2/3 mark. It was boring, very (very!) conservative, campaign-y (for himself), with not a wee attempt to tune in to that particular gathering.
    Good riddance to one more Democrat In Name Only.

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  8. DakotabornKansan says:

    “Bayh was on most issues a deliberative, thoughtful Senator” Really?
    Yes, what issues, exactly, was he thoughtful about?
    What will Evan Bayh be remembered for?
    As the loyal servant to big health care corporations like WellPoint and his family’s bank account? His denial that the millions of dollars his wife earned from WellPoint and other giant health care insurers would influence him?
    As the fraud most so-called “fiscal conservatives” and “deficit hawks” like him really are? As an expression of virtually every attribute that makes Washington so dysfunctional, deceitful, and corrupt?
    Evan Bayh, more like “… as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.” – Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)

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  9. DonS says:

    “It’s a really conservative state except for Gary”
    That’s why Birch was exceptional.

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  10. questions says:

    Thing is, the dropping out is bizarrely late for it’s just being a tired senator thing. And the lobbying gig has some kind of waiting period, so again, that shouldn’t be that sudden. He’d have known something like a gig a while ago, presumably.
    One other possibility — John Edwards done right. Maybe there’s a scandal out there?
    And Evan Bayh’s vanilla is a good fit for much of Indiana. It’s a really conservative state except for Gary. So a really conservative senator makes sense.

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  11. Franklin says:

    Hopefully a more conscientious, and less ethically challenged successor will occupy the Senate seat in the future.
    Given the low-bar these days though, I appreciate that the odds are probably against that outcome.

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  12. Dan Kervick says:

    When I fist heard this, I thought Bayh was dropping out to prepare a run against Obama in 2012. But since Obama has turned out to be such an Evan Bayh Democrat himself, I’m not sure Bayh has much of an opening except among the “rather have a white guy” Democrats. And I don’t know that those folks are a big factor in the party.
    Despite Coats’s problems, I’m assuming that Bayh’s polling was showing him to be in big trouble. Anyway, I’m sure he’ll land on his feet at HealthPoint.

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  13. DonS says:

    One other possibility, Questions; that Bayh is [another] product of legacy politics who never stood for anything, and did it because his daddy did it. That would make for a pretty unsatisfying day at the office. His father, Birch, did stand for something, and was a powerful liberal force. Evan, on the other hand, or maybe like Junior Bush, sought to distinguish himself from his father. Evan’s vanilla brand of conservatism combined with lackluster personality, and schoolboyish good looks catapulted him squarely into the mediocre category — something Spiro Agnew could no doubt opine on as a virtue. Bayh’s father was not flashy either but left his mark in a way Evan never was able to.
    Maybe too, Evan is just cut out for the more mundane life; making money, country club, speeches here and there, might suit him just fine — especially with his failure to ignite interest as a presidential candidate last year.

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  14. questions says:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/2/15/837264/-IN-Sen:-Did-Bayhs-timing-limit-GOPs-options
    A different read — suggesting that “Bayhpassing” the primary is a good thing for the dems.

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  15. questions says:

    One more Bayh thought — serious health problem — his or a family member’s? Total guess, but it makes more sense to me than other possibilities.
    A lobbying gig still requires time off before that starts, and I’m guessing the family is pretty wealthy already.
    Money in the bank, pretty sure bet for re-election, petitions all set to be submitted, really screwing the dems in IN. This will be a huge campaign issue since there won’t be a dem primary, but rather a party-insider pick. I can see the commercials now about politics as usual vs. the chosen one — chosen by the people, that is….

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  16. Carroll says:

    Jumping off the sinking ship?
    Good riddence.
    The damage he does on foreign policy out weighs the very little good he did on other issues. Same with Dodd.
    Repubs fail,dems fail, then repubs fail again, then dems fail again…merry go round faster and faster.
    There’s got to be a revolution under this somewhere…keep digging your hole congress, keep digging.

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  17. Jim says:

    “Bayh was on most issues a deliberative, thoughtful Senator”
    Let’s see. “Reckless” on foreign policy (I agree). An alleged deficit
    hawk whose signature domestic issue is the repeal of the estate
    tax. He was concerned about excessive government borrowing, so
    he advocated funding the wars by selling war bonds, which he
    helpfully explained wasn’t government borrowing. I will give him
    credit for voting against the Bush tax cuts, but then for some
    reason, he opposes revoking those tax cuts.
    What issues, exactly, is he thoughtful about?

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  18. JohnH says:

    “One get’s the distinct feeling that the US government is pretty broken.” That may well be the intent. When people get fed up enough and the broken government narrative dominates, it will give the powers that be justification to replace it with something more to their liking. IMHO there is a clear strategy behind Republiscums’ government breaking obstructionism. And it’s not just about winning the next election.
    As for Evan Bayh, he has never been a Democrat, just posed as one, same as at least half the Democrats in the Senate. Democrats like Bayh give the Party a bad name.
    He never did anything and will not be missed.

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  19. DonS says:

    It’s tough to get too worked up about the dems slipping further from the ‘veto proof’ Senate majority that they never had in the first place. And while the right wingers are fond of getting all out of breath over the “liberal democrats” agenda, that didn’t/doesn’t exist either. So while the vast majority of politicians, republican or dem argue over who can act more corporate friendly it doesn’t seem to make ‘a dimes worth of difference’. I take that back; I think the repubs could even more efficiently kill any reforms with an absolute majority — that neat sleight of hand where they kiss up to Wall Street and talk populism to the masses at the same time.
    That aside, repubs and dems function pretty much all the same; pork, pork, pork; lobbyists, lobbyists, lobbyists, etc. And Obama seems pretty clueless as to how to shake up the equation.
    One get’s the distinct feeling that the US government is pretty broken. The teabaggers wouldn’t being getting the press or the attention the are if their message didn’t resonate somewhere. True, their message is skewed, inconsistent and lacks much direction. But, hey, so does most political dialogue and most political institutions.
    Overall, this government dysfunction serves mainly the right wing cause, which prefers robbery by confusion, paranoia and fear.
    Meanwhile, the populace lacks real tools for organization, representation and action to address actual problems outside the broken political framework. Although, it is getting clearer, that citizens would take up pitchforks if they could envision how that is done in this best of all possible nations.

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  20. questions says:

    http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2010/2010pdates.pdf
    Here’s a pdf that makes tomorrow seem to be the date after all. Murk, murk and more murk!
    The link is from the TPM comments section.

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  21. Steve Clemons says:

    questions — thanks for the note about the filing deadline. there is a possibly mistaken interpretation that it was/is tomorrow that the filing had to be done in 9 congressional districts — so 4500 signatures. hope your version is correct. I’ve been unable to get clarification. If anyone else gets a good source on this, I’d appreciate it if he/she posted it. all best, steve clemons

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  22. questions says:

    Ok, contradictions….
    “Because petitions are due tomorrow, no Democrat will formally file — leaving the seat vacant and allowing the state party apparatus to choose the candidate.”
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/senate/evan-bayh-to-retire.html?hpid=topnews
    “Bayh’s decision will set Dems scrambling for a replacement. The deadline to file to reach the ballot is Friday, meaning any Dem considering running for the seat must make a decision quickly.”
    http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2010/02/bayh_to_retire.php

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  23. questions says:

    Steve, I think the deadline is this coming Friday (not “tomorrow” as you have above) and the requirement is 500 signatures in each of a number of congr. districts.
    Not very good timing for the dems. Deliberate? Liebermanian? Or just spur of the moment….

    Reply

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