The Pros and Cons of Sen. Evan Bayh

The New York Times examines the pros and cons of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh as Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential candidate.

Shorter version: The cons are that his early pro-war position stands in stark contrast to Obama's repeated emphasis on his own early opposition to the war in Iraq and Bayh is bland and unlikely to excite voters.

The pros are he has economic experience and his youthful appearance bolsters Obama's message of "generational change."

If not Bayh, then who? Sebelius or Kaine or someone the media has overlooked or counted out?

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    As I've commented before (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 03:22:55 AM EST
    Bayh is unacceptable to me for his role as Mr. bought-and-paid-for by the insurance, real estate, banking, credit and securities industries. It shows in his votes. To me, he is the very epitome of the "special interest politician". His support of the bankruptcy bill will always rankle me. He was one of only three Democratic Senators to vote for the Bush tax cuts. And on civil liberties ... well, he's been a good friend to the Bush Administration there as well. Yes on FISA. Far too equivocal on reproductive choice.

    Ironically, the things that I cannot respect about him are the things that will appeal to Obama the most. His ability to fundraise like h*ll from the corporations will please the Obama campaign to no end.

    He's as boring as last week's potatoes and that will also please Obama, who must not be outshined.


    The now can you support Obama? (none / 0) (#14)
    by BernieO on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:05:05 AM EST
    He has adjusted bills to please the nuclear power industry, especially his big donor Excelon.

    Until we get money out of politics it will always be like this. You will just have to pick your poison.


    Pick your poison? (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by lentinel on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 05:53:29 PM EST
    If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not choose poison as my beverage.

    I'm looking for someone to vote for who is not toxic.

    Is that too much to ask for in a democracy?


    I am not an Obama supporter (none / 0) (#23)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:31:33 AM EST
    and never have been. My hands are clean...

    maybe Wesley Clark? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Josey on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 07:00:16 AM EST

    Maybe Dennis Kucinich (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by lentinel on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 05:48:14 PM EST
    For me, that is the kind of balance that would be interesting.
    A true democrat on the ticket.
    Someone for single-payer health care.
    Someone who has a plan to end the war in Iraq - without delay.
    Someone who is on the right side of civil rights, and human rights.

    Of course it won't happen.
    Obama would never consider him.
    The left doesn't even give him the time of day.

    Alright - how about  Russ Feingold?

    Oh - there I go again. Sorry.


    Aah yes... (none / 0) (#49)
    by weltec2 on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:03:05 PM EST
    let us dream on.

    Obamabots are bashing Feingold (none / 0) (#56)
    by Josey on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 11:03:01 AM EST
    Seems he made a positive comment about McCain. {gasp!}

    Clark would be a good choice and would (none / 0) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 07:30:01 AM EST
    make a lot of sense. For those reasons alone, he will not be picked for VP.

    Why do you think (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by BernieO on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:12:58 AM EST
    that the Republicans went ballistic when Clark answered Wolfie Blitzer's question about getting shot down making you qualified to be president with a very reasonable "No"? The right is afraid Obama will pick Clark so they wanted to preempt that possibility. They have always trashed Clark because he scares them. It is a long standing tactic of theirs to identify promising Dems that they believe could defeat Republicans and destroy them early.
    Lee Atwater attempted to do this with Bill Clinton. He rightly thought Clinton was the one Dem who had the potential to defeat Bush I in his bid for a 2nd term. Rather than wait for that to happen, Atwater secretly got involved in trying to defeat Clinton in his last run for governor of Arkansas by supporting his opponent and spreading lies and rumors about Clinton. Luckily he did not succeed, but Lee was willing to throw everything at Clinton. (Atwater was so unscrupulous that on his deathbed he apologized for trashing our political system. Unfortunately this failed to move his proteges, Karl Rove being one of them.)

    I forgot to mention (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by BernieO on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:14:46 AM EST
    George Junior worked along side of Atwater in his father's campaigns so he was also trained in dirty tricks by the master.

    Bayh is an OK choice with me (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 08:44:13 AM EST
    because I won't care one way or the other if the ticket loses. I really don't want another "almost female VP" whether it's Clinton or Sebelius.

    He's an anti-"female rights" VP (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:22:51 PM EST
    and interesting that the "cons" listed here do not include concerns about that part of Bayh's record.

    anti-female right? (none / 0) (#43)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 02:31:46 PM EST
    Talk about about your conclusion on Bayh and female rights.  That is rather surprising to me. Some background: Years ago, I went to school in Indiana, and during that time, I became involved in Democratic politics and worked for the father, Senator Birch Bayh. Senator Bayh, the father, worked hard for equal rights--even introducing and pushing hard for the Equal Rights Amendment on the Senate floor. Evan Bayh's mother, the late Marvella Bayh, was a strong woman role model and (as I recall) a supporter of equal rights. The family also has very close connections with the labor community. As I indicated, I have not lived in Indiana for years, so....other than knowing that Senator Evan Bayh is married to an attorney and that he seems quite capable in terms of executive and legislative experience, I honestly am curious about the issue that you raise, Cream City???

    My understanding is that (none / 0) (#47)
    by sallywally on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 05:58:35 PM EST
    the younger Bayh doesn't share the father's liberal views.

    See discussion a couple days ago (none / 0) (#48)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 06:27:19 PM EST
    here about Evan Bayh.

    I agree about his parents.  But they're not up for VP.  


    Read about Susan Bayh (none / 0) (#50)
    by weltec2 on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:10:34 PM EST
    Evan's wife, here.

    Bayh (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 09:19:03 AM EST
    Does nothing to help the ticket. Dem's would still lose Indiana and in the process they would lose a senate seat. The majority gains they're hoping for could be hurt by this.

    Biden would be a disaster waiting to happen. He has always suffered from foot in mouth desease. The Obama camp is too cautious to risk that.

    I must agree with you (none / 0) (#51)
    by SueBonnetSue on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:11:59 PM EST
    I do not like either of these choices.  

    Obama is supposed to be about change.  He needs to think outside the box and not use Bayh or Biden.  


    You anti-war people are a pain (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 09:23:27 AM EST
    is among my favorite sentiments in the referenced NYT article.  Al From, founder of the DLC, is quoted as saying that the anti-war people cannot define the Democratic Party.  He states further that Bayh's real strength is his record of being strong on national security and that is good to have.  We are left to put together earlier statements in the same article that Bayh was not only a supporter of the Iraq war, but an aggressive one based on his experience on the intelligence committee along with his trust of  George Tenet. Moreover, he joined McCain as an honorary co-chair of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which made regime change a central cause. But he is apparently vindicated in that he is said to show the good judgment to admit mistakes (as he later did) and learn from them. Maybe this is From's point on being strong on national security.  Bayh is also strong on Indiana, in that his actions helped military contractors in that state.  

    It's the old canard (none / 0) (#39)
    by Steve M on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 01:24:56 PM EST
    that because people are overwhelmingly against the Iraq war, suddenly we've all become DFHs.

    It's gonna be... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jtaylorr on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 09:32:33 AM EST
    Brian Schweitzer.
    Mark my words.

    I sure hope it isn't the gov of Mt as I would hate (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by athyrio on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:05:22 AM EST
    to lose my gov...He is a great gov. and Mt. needs him to make these conservatives loosen up a bit on social issues...Didn't his brother work for Hillary's campaign? I remember reading something about that a while back....

    I had always thought about him as a running mate (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Angel on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:28:40 AM EST
    to Hillary.  From what I know he's a good governor.

    the Montana governor (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 02:10:45 PM EST
    Hey, I like Brian Schweitzer too. 'Even contributed to him, watched him at an event in Colorado, and spoke with him. Personality and smarts--plus. Yet, two candidates with fairly limited governmental/official/executive experience leading the ticket. How does that play for the majority of people?

    If you are correct, what happens (none / 0) (#20)
    by zfran on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:11:25 AM EST
    with who then becomes Gov. of Montana and isn't Montana a "red" state?

    I would assume the Lt. Gov. would replace him (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jtaylorr on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:38:35 AM EST
    John Bohlinger is the Lt. Gov. and is a Republican. But losing a Democratic Governor is much better than losing a Democratic Senator, as would be the case with Bayh.
    Montana is a purple this year (not to mention they already have two democratic Senators), and the last two polls out of the state showed Obama and McCain within the MoE. Gov. Schweitzer is ridiculously popular and would pretty much guarantee Montana if he were VP. I know it's only 3 EV's, but every one counts.

    I hope you are right about Schweitzer (none / 0) (#25)
    by shoephone on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:34:48 AM EST
    He was my first choice for VP pick from the beginning, for either Obama or Clinton. (Would have actually been a better fit with Clinton though.)

    Looks like he'll get some exposure... (none / 0) (#27)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:48:22 AM EST
    ...even if he's not the VP pick.

    "The Democratic National Convention Committee today announced how it will highlight the West and Western leaders during this month's convention.

    It's tradition for the leaders of the host city and state to take the stage, and sure enough, Mayor John Hickenlooper, Gov. Bill Ritter and Sen. Ken Salazar are on this morning's list.

    Other Western leaders who could see time include Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer."
    --Rocky Mountain News


    I do like him (none / 0) (#28)
    by eric on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:00:52 PM EST
    but there is no chance.  He is way too coarse for the national stage.  I heard him on NPR discussing the Real ID program, and while I agree with him, he really came across as an outlaw western governor.


    He also seems to have a Canadian accent.  Coming from a Minnesotan, that says something.


    No way (none / 0) (#32)
    by cmugirl on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:33:35 PM EST
    I have to say, as someone who reads this blog and the news daily, when you mentioned Schweitzer, my first reaction was "Who"? It took me a minute to figure out who he was.

    I don't see a pick working that no one in the country knows about, except those really paying attention.


    On the other hand... (5.00 / 0) (#37)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:57:52 PM EST
    Gov. Schweitzer is a known and well respected commodity to those of us who live in the Rocky Mountain West.  In addition, he fits well into the "New West" narrative.  

    He could definately be a postive factor in winning the battleground states West of the Continential Divide.


    Who? (none / 0) (#52)
    by SueBonnetSue on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:13:53 PM EST
    If I haven't ever heard of him, I an guarantee the rest of America hasn't either.  

    Biden is a loose canon (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by BernieO on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:03:37 AM EST
    He says whatever is on his mind, so it is hard to see him being controllable. Sam Nunn is a perennial favorite, but he is another one who does his own thing.
    The Times article does not mention foreign affairs but I have heard pundits say he has experience. He does serve on the armed forces and intelligence committees and is on a subcommittee concerning emerging threats.
    As Senator and a past governor he does bring experince to the ticket. Looks like a good choice to me.

    Sam Nunn - no (none / 0) (#33)
    by cmugirl on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:35:05 PM EST
    If Obama chooses Nunn, the arguments regarding age go out the window - Nunn is going to be 70 next month - just a year younger than McCain.  

    A little bit older, a little bit more 'liberal' (none / 0) (#35)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:55:22 PM EST
    John McCain (b. Sept 8, 1936); Sam Nunn (b. August 29, 1936).

    Correction: (none / 0) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:57:19 PM EST
    McCain: August 29, 1936, Nunn: Sept 8, 1938.  regrets.

    I have the feeling (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Makarov on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 10:22:19 AM EST
    he will pick someone who is relatively inexperienced, as compared with others. Kaine and Sebelius fit that bill.

    That said, I have absolutely no idea who it will be. Just as I have no idea how he will answer the questions, "Why not Hillary?"

    Choosing Sibelius or Kaine over Hillary (none / 0) (#53)
    by SueBonnetSue on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:19:57 PM EST
    Is laughable.  What does the Governor of Kansas bring to the ticket?  Certainly not Kansas!  What foreign policy experience does she have?  

    Kaine?  The less-than-popular Governor of Virginia with the weird manner and wandering eyebrow?  What does he bring to the ticket?  His Catholism?   He will be of little help to Obama in Virginia.  If Obama is going to choose a Virginian, then Mark Warner would have been a FAR better choice.  No only was he Governor, but he's much more popular than Kaine, much better looking, and he made millions in business with Nextel.   I heard that he turned down Obama because he'd rather have a Senate seat and run later for President on his own.  Don't know if that is true or not.  


    When the person at the top of the ticket (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Anne on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 02:25:52 PM EST
    has such a high "Ugh" factor - as Obama does for me - it's almost impossible to think of anyone with a "Wow!" factor high enough to offset it, so while Evan Bayh undoubtedly would bring some positives to the ticket, they aren't enough for me to think, "Oh, good - now that he's on the ticket, I feel better and now I can vote for Obama."

    I would love to see a President Hillary Clinton - she's clearly more qualified - but after the way she's been treated, I think her considerable talents and strengths would be wasted as Obama's VP.  If he is going to be president, I would much rather have her in the Senate, holding his feet to the fire, than shunted off to the cobwebby corners of the West Wing and relegated to issues where there was no possibility of her taking any of the spotlight off Obama.

    Other than Biden, there might not be anyone who is as deeply in the pockets of corporate America as Evan Bayh; other than the fact that he is fairly young, there is nothing about Evan Bayh that says "change," unless you are rooting for the Democratic Party to change into something that more closely resembles the GOP.

    So, whether it is Bayh or Biden, Sibelius or Schweitzer, it's a moot point for me.

    Ever notice how Bayh's looks are (none / 0) (#5)
    by zfran on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 08:39:12 AM EST
    similar to John Edwards looks? I wonder if some association would be made. It's not a really important point, but one I've thought of anyway.

    I had the exact same thought! I wonder if he has (none / 0) (#22)
    by Angel on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:29:08 AM EST
    any mistresses in his closet?

    I wonder if in the last few (none / 0) (#24)
    by zfran on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:33:23 AM EST
    days, any consideration was given to this fact. I used to work with his cousin in L.A. and this Bayh had a great sense of humor. Don't know much about Evan Bayh. It really doesn't matter much to me who he picks. Sen. Obama reinforces my choice for president each and every day and tells me that my choice this election year is a correct one....my country deserves so much better!!!!!

    Reed (none / 0) (#7)
    by Athena on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 08:59:06 AM EST
    What about Jack Reed?  The ultimate anti-celebrity candidate - veteran and he voted against the war.  Downside is his state of RI.  No electoral prize.

    Bayh is an excellent foil for Obama in the same... (none / 0) (#10)
    by BronxFem on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 09:25:59 AM EST
    way Gore was for Bill (Elvis) Clinton.  However, Mrs. Bayh's very close relationship with Big Pharma (sitting on many boards, etc.) doesn't augur well for single payer Universal Health care.

    Obama himself is not for (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 09:46:51 AM EST
    single payer Universal Health care.  So no problem there.

    Susan Bayh has served (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by weltec2 on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:10:22 PM EST
    on the Boards of 14 different pharmaceutical and health insurance companies. At the same time Evan Bayh has introduced some 3000 votes friendly to these and similar industries. See here.

    Eli Lilly and Indiana are inseparable (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:24:37 PM EST
    in its politics.  Instead of the oil industry running the White House, the pharmas will.

    I don't see it as an improvement.


    It looks like a military guy. (none / 0) (#19)
    by masslib on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:07:51 AM EST
    BC is introducing the VP, the night's theme shares the name of Wes Clark's PAC.  It looks like Clark, but that seems a bit obvious, so maybe Eaton or Zinni.  Of course Zinni agreed with McCain about the surge.  He literally said "I agree with Senator McCain", in explaining his support for the surge, but, he's an Italian American from PA, so seems highly probable.

    Aren't there any other choices? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Grace on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 12:44:56 PM EST
    I keep seeing the same old names:  Bayh, Biden, Sebellius, Clark, Clinton, etc.  

    Isn't there anyone else?

    All of the really good choices overshadow Obama.  The others are like, pffft!  Isn't there anyone that hasn't been thought of, like maybe a retired Governor?  Not too old, but not too Washington either?      

    None folks here would like (none / 0) (#44)
    by DemForever on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 03:15:35 PM EST
    Nelson from Florida
    Brown from Ohio

    Clark could deliver Arkansas, maybe? (none / 0) (#40)
    by Cream City on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 02:05:46 PM EST
    So say some here more knowledgeable about it.

    The good news is (none / 0) (#54)
    by SueBonnetSue on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:30:09 PM EST
    That the VP doesn't matter.  If it did, Bush 1 would never have been elected.  Almost no one votes for, or against, the VP.  People vote for the candidate on the top of the ballot.  

    Hillary would be foolish to accept the VP slot when she can run again in 2012, if Obama is elected and screws up (seems likely) or if McCain is elected.  If she accepts the VP slot and McCain wins, she's toast.  The same would happen if Obama wins and messes up.  She'd be part of a loser team, either way, and that's not good for her future.  She's much better off to wait 4 years.  

    Richardson (none / 0) (#55)
    by SueBonnetSue on Tue Aug 12, 2008 at 11:36:40 PM EST
    Seems like a good choice.  He has lots of foreign policy experience and has run a state.  He would guarantee New Mexico and would help with the Hispanic vote.  

    When he dropped out of the race, and began looking more and more Hispanic, I was sure that he was courting Obama for the VP slot.  

    Nope (none / 0) (#57)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Aug 13, 2008 at 11:06:42 AM EST
    Richardson is not popular among Hispanic voters, so that would not be an advantage. Anyway, last I looked, Obama was already winning that voter bloc over McCain.

    And NO WAY could Bayh deliver Indiana for Obama, or for any Dem. Indiana is rock-solid red. It's a lock for Republicans. So for that matter is Virginia, despite Democrats' fondest dreams and the increasingly weirdly obsessed Obama camp's desire to win VA. I don't care what the polls say, I would bet good money VA does not go blue, not this election anyway.

    Clark would be a great choice but would outshine Obama far too much, and BO can't stand being upstaged. The Kerry rumor is interesting, but would he really do that?

    I say it's Sebelius or McCaskill. Both really bad choices, but at this point it appears there are no good choices.