Evan Bayh 's Record on Crime
In an earlier post about the rumor that Sen. Barack Obama will pick Evan Bayh as his running mate, I said I didn't have a problem with it. I may or may not be rethinking this. Bayh is not entirely consistent on crime issues, although he seems to have improved a bit in recent years (except for FISA and since I opposed any remake of FISA, even one without telecom immunity, I'm leaving that alone for the moment):
In 1996, Sen. Bayh spoke at the Democratic National Convention when Bill Clinton was nominated for a second term. We all know how bad Clinton was for Defendants' rights. (To his credit, he's come around quite a bit since being President -- maybe Bayh has too.) Anyway, Here's what Bayh said at the convention in 1996:
But a shadow threatens to spread over this new opportunity: Crime and violence. They prey upon our children and on our parents. Violence must be stopped. Violent criminals must be severely punished. And under President Clinton, they are.
Thanks to him, dangerous repeat offenders are going to jail for life - with no chance for parole. He is putting 100,000 more police on our streets. And that adds up. For each crime that's prevented - a victim is spared.
On Bayh's Senate website, he says:
Senator Bayh believes that the criminal justice system places disproportionate emphasis on the suspect instead of the victim.
He's gotten a little better since the days he voted to increase death penalty offenses, try more juveniles as adults and pass truth in sentencing laws:
2005-2006 Senator Bayh supported the interests of the Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants 70 percent in 2005-2006.
1999-2000 Senator Bayh supported the interests of the Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants 63 percent in 1999-2000.
The addiction/prevention folks are also happy with him:
2005-2006 Senator Bayh supported the interests of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors 100 percent in 2005-2006.
2006 Senator Bayh supported the interests of the American Immigration Lawyers Association 88 percent in 2006.
Even better: (same link):
2005-2006 Senator Bayh supported the interests of the U.S. Border Control 16 percent in 2005-2006.
2005 Senator Bayh supported the interests of the [radical right]Federation for American Immigration Reform 0 percent in 2005.
Then again, he's bad on gun rights
His full voting record is here.
As others have said, he's a centrist through and through. I think Kathleen Sebelius is better on issues, but I suspect polling has shown Obama that Democratic voters are not going to support a female candidate other than Hillary.
Whoever Obama picks, you can be sure polling had a huge amount to do with it. That means he will go for the choice that is most palatable to middle America -- not to progressives. We are probably considered "fringe voters", one step short of being outlaws by any national presidential campaign. They want the heartland.
So the question is, who's the best centrist for Obama? Bayh seems pretty bland, like mayonnaise. At least he doesn't go around introducing major, comprehensive tough on crime bills every year. Talk about lowering one's expectations.....It's like that game people play at kids' birthday parties where you have to slide under the bar that gets lowered with every contestant. I just hope we're not all on the floor by the time November rolls around. Then again, better on the floor than underground, which is where we'll be if the Republicans win again.
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