Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Bayh's leaving the Senate

Don Wheeler

In his New York Times OpEd entitled "Why I'm leaving the Senate",  Senator Evan Bayh certainly gave us the Full Monty about what he dislikes about the institution, but precious little about why he's leaving - unless he thinks its not worth saving.

But it didn't sound that way to me.  It sounded a lot like he thought that the problems ought to be solved.  In fact, he listed several changes which would improve things and all of them lie within the authority of the august body he is leaving.  Apparently these things are worth doing, but not worth his effort.  That's an awfully tricky position to take.

To wit:  these folks have some observations put to music.  They are a bit crude at times (note the empty bottles motif) but generally on point.

Mr. Bayh even received less than cordial treatment on The View

"I hate to say it, but you sound like Sarah Palin right now," Joy Behar said, accusing the senator of quitting his job before his work was done.

There may be something else at work here.  To use the vernacular of our friendly fake consultant, perhaps we should be anticipating the beta version of the Bayh 2012.  fc has documented the evolution of past political models - their triumphs and setbacks - it's not beyond the realm of possibility he will have another opportunity.

Over the last few months Senator Bayh has consistently positioned himself as a "voice of caution" to most of President Obama's and the Democratic Caucus' proposals for sweeping reform and aggressive stimuli.  It's true he voted in favor of the Senate version of health care reform.  But that measure had most of the good stuff stripped out of it by that point.  Bayh even voted against increasing the federal debt ceiling - knowing full well that if his side prevailed the government would have to shut down.  He has consistently practiced right flanking maneuvers on a President who can most fairly be characterized as a raging moderate.  Triangulation, anyone?

Add in his brief Presidential run in 2008, Veep considerations, and a curious statement he's made in interviews that he's "better suited as an executive than a legislator", and one might reasonably regard with skepticism his claim that he will not run for President in 2012.

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