Finally! Some Use For Evan Bayh

I have not even offered a comment on Evan Bayh today because I really don't care that he is retiring. I suppose you could make an argument that things will be a little worse in the Senate if a Republican wins his seat but honestly, how much worse can it really get? It's simply not that big a deal.

But I finally found something about the story that piqued my interest - Matt Yglesias points to this hilarious Charles Lane post. Lane writes:

Bayh [. . .] can now crawl away from the political wreckage for a couple of years, plausibly alleging that he tried to steer the party in a different direction and then be perfectly positioned to mount a centrist primary challenge to Obama in 2012[.]

(Emphasis supplied.) That is damned funny. A centrist primary challenge. Who knew that Lane was such a kidder.

Speaking for me only

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    TPM and a number of others (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by kidneystones on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 08:34:39 PM EST
    Are considering the same question. The Wapo figures Bayh has torpedoed Dems running in 2010. Whether folks here see Bayh as Obama's political ally isn't particularly relevant. The fact is a prominent 'D' who could fairly easily win from the looks of things,is walking away on the process.

    Bayh plants the first knife in Obama. For that he's won his place in the history books. The WH will go into overdrive to keep Bayh's announcement off the Sunday shows, but the damage is done as of today. The other drop outs like Barry and Kennedy are simply running scared.

    Bayh is saying the man at the top can't get the job done. And Bayh's right.

    I can't figure out what Bayh wanted him to do (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 08:50:17 PM EST
    that he hasn't done. To my mind Obama has exactly catered to the likes of Bayh. Does Bayh think Obama should have gotten the liberals in line behind him better?  Could not make myself watch his announcement - maybe he answered those questions.

    But by all means, primary Obama from the center.


    It just gets (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kidneystones on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 08:57:42 PM EST

    Obama Hit Hard as Bayh Bows Out

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama suffered another setback as a fifth Democratic senator, centrist heavyweight Evan Bayh, opted not to run for re-election in dismay at the bitter political climate.

    Obama, who reportedly tried to talk Bayh out of retiring, faces a looming Republican resurgence and risks seeing strong majorities in Congress crumble in November mid-term elections, taking with them his ambitious reform agenda.

    With his tearful wife and two sons at his side, Bayh, 54, expressed disenchantment with excessive partisanship as he announced his decision at a press conference in his home state of Indiana.

    "For some time, I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should. There is too much partisanship and not enough progress -- too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving," he said.

    "Even at a time of enormous challenge, the peoples' business is not being done."

    Democrats expressed shock at the development, seeing it both as the loss of a key consensus builder in the Senate and of a candidate strongly favored to win re-election in Republican-leaning Indiana.

    Bayh called Obama on Monday morning and The New York Times reported that both the president and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, tried to convince him to run again, but to no avail.

    In a statement, Obama praised Bayh for "reaching across the aisle on issues ranging from job creation and economic growth to fiscal responsibility and national security."

    I picked the AFP story up from a Twitter sidebar.
    That's the story that's out right now. O and Rahm begged Bayh to stay and Bayh said...

    You won the election. Deal with it.

    O can't. Bayh's one guy. It'll be interesting to see how many decide to sit the next couple of years out. My guess is that Rahm and O made plenty of enemies trying to seal the nomination.

    Payback, big time.


    Majority: use it or lose it (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:09:50 PM EST
    But that is not the lesson that will be learned.

    It's actually mind-boggling (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by kidneystones on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:18:54 PM EST
    Really. I supported McCain over O for a bunch of reasons. But I routinely conceded that O had to be able to do a better job on the economy. I also figured this gang would know how to crack heads.

    The 'America can't be governed' mantra for failure is going to haunt Dems for the next two decades. It's the worse possible non-explanation excuse for ineptness possible.

    Dems had control of the WH, the House, and the Senate back in 2008-10? Remember? Record deficits, double-digit un-employment? Bankrupt states, and what did Dems do? Claimed it wasn't their fault, claimed that America was no longer governable.

    You want to turn your kids' future over to these people? The ones who say with control of the WH and the House and the Senate: No, we can't?

    These guys just keep coming up with new ways to make what should have been a new morning in America an extension of the same nightmare.


    I take your point (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:23:36 PM EST
    No McCain support here, but I sure agree the ineptitude is inexcusable.

    The "America can't be governed" (none / 0) (#50)
    by coigue on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 07:19:30 PM EST
    mantra has not been uttered by any Democrat that I know of. That's more of a Republican meme.

    Well said! n/t (none / 0) (#53)
    by jawbone on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 09:26:46 PM EST
    His wife was tearful? (none / 0) (#9)
    by nycstray on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:14:31 PM EST
    I musta missed that . . .

    Local news said he voted the most against Obama (Dems?) so far. National news pointed out the Repubs that co-sponsored some bill and voted against it.

    So will Bayh use Obama's praise in his primary challenge? lol!~


    Wouldn't you be too? (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Ellie on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 10:33:27 PM EST
    With his tearful wife and two sons at his side

    This makes it seem like the whole family was thinking, "Aw, cr@p he wants to spend more time with us."


    Who knew Bayh was to the left of Obama (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:01:04 PM EST
    Wow, never woulda thunkit.


    Bayh-Lieberman? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by observed on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:04:30 PM EST
    Bayh Ford? There's the centrist dream ticket.

    Ford will be available after (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by nycstray on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:10:46 PM EST
    Gillibrand kicks his a** outta town . . . .

    aka Bayh-bye (none / 0) (#10)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:14:50 PM EST
    I could see that debate (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by robotalk on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:07:07 PM EST
    "I'm the centrist and I am ineffective."  "No, I'm the centrist and I am ineffective."

    No one is more centrist than I (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:16:05 PM EST
    The problem solvers! (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ellie on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 10:27:51 PM EST
    Once they resolve their little messaging snafu's, it'll be the usual cakewalk.

    If he's thinking about a 2012 challenge, (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:22:00 PM EST
    then that might rule out a cushy job as a lobbyist or health or other industry exec; if his wife all of a sudden goes in a different direction, away from the Wellpoint and other board gigs, that might be a sign that he's positioning himself.

    I don't know; Bayh challenging Obama seems like A Race To The Bottom to me.

    Holy cow... (none / 0) (#51)
    by coigue on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 07:20:27 PM EST
    she's on the Wellpoint board?

    That explains a lot.


    Well, I cheered. (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by s5 on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:40:52 PM EST
    I'm happy to lose Bayh. I'd rather have a thin majority and a unified caucus with a tough majority leader than the sorry excuse for a Dem caucus under Harry Reid and Senators like Lieberman and Bayh. A 51 seat majority and a "did someone say filibuster? okay, get out the cots!" standard would be far more effective.

    Maybe getting it down to a narrow majority (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:44:29 PM EST
    will be the shake-up that is needed, especially if it results in a new majority leader. The political miscalculations of Harry Reid are too numerous to count.

    Problem is that it still includes (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:45:57 PM EST
    Landrieu, Ben Nelson, and Lieberman.

    Not to forget Spectre, Baucus, Hagan,... (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by NealB on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 11:13:14 PM EST
    ...McCaskill, Prior, Carper, and Tester.

    Long way to go before the Democratic Party gets its party back from the freaks.


    And octogenarian Frank Lautenberg (none / 0) (#19)
    by andgarden on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:49:56 PM EST
    just took a spill.

    Lautenberg's all right; got the docs' thumbs up (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ellie on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 10:51:15 PM EST
    ... to be released.

    CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. -- Long-serving U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg fell at his home Monday night and was taken to a hospital as a precaution, an aide said.

    The 86-year-old Democrat, the first New Jersey senator to be elected to five terms, was conscious when he was taken from his Cliffside Park home to the hospital, spokesman Caley Gray said.

    Lautenberg was doing well at the hospital but was to stay there overnight for routine observation, Gray said.

    "The senator is in great spirits and joking with the doctors," said Gray, who didn't know if the senator had fallen inside or outside the apartment or whether he had suffered any injuries.

    The great work begins (none / 0) (#24)
    by NealB on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 11:13:23 PM EST
    I have faith in New Jersey, whatever the fate of our friend, reliable Frank Lautenberg.

    Lieberman's a pure Rahmobama Democrat (none / 0) (#26)
    by NealB on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 11:24:16 PM EST

    My favorite sentence (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 11:26:06 PM EST
    from the Lane piece:

    "Bayh has been screaming at the top of his voice that the party needs to reorient toward a more popular, centrist agenda -- one that emphasizes jobs and fiscal responsibility."

    Popular?  Check.  Centrist?  Check.  Totally incoherent?  Check, check, check.

    The fact that he is considered a centrist (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 08:11:34 AM EST
    Is our fault for not demanding that journalists, bloggers, whomever, define their terms when they just throw them out there.  

    Not for POTUS; I think (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by Andy08 on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 08:30:51 AM EST
    he'll run for IN Gov. again.  Or go for private sector job.

    Of course if we are allowed a crazy idea how about: he'll replace Biden as O VP in 2012.  O will surely need again an "outsider" ...

    So then (5.00 / 0) (#36)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 09:41:01 AM EST
    With Bayh, we'd have a centrist, then Obama, a wishy-washy identity-challenged right centrist, then Huckabee, the Republican.

    So who could run as a Democrat?

    Not that I can take Bayh seriously (4.00 / 3) (#25)
    by shoephone on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 11:21:29 PM EST
    as a presidential candidate in 2012, or anything else (except perhaps as a clone of Billy Tauzin) but he wouldn't have a whisper of a chance in that fantasy primary. The left would shred him at the polls. He could easily be tagged "a quitter," like Palin, that other pretty little gust of hot air.

    What a joke this all is. Bayh just doesn't realize he's now made himself the center of the joke.

    Nope, Bayh is finishing his term (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 11:45:09 PM EST
    and that's a big difference.  Plus, he's prettier.

    He's no joke in Indiana, and it could end up crucial int he middle of a bloc with Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois on it borders.  Count the votes.


    He'd never win California or New York (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by shoephone on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 12:57:30 AM EST
    I'm counting those votes. Anyway, he's too friggin' boring. Obama never had much charisma, IMO, but lots of other people did (do). I can't think of anyone who thinks Evan's got an ounce of charisma.

    But that pretty little face... I just figured out how he could possibly win! He keeps alluding to Scott Brown's victory in MA. Maybe Evan Baby should go ala naturale in the pages of Playgirl or Cosmo. You never know. It might be his one and only chance.


    I don't want to see (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by observed on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:06:44 AM EST
    the Evandence of his massive (Levi) Johns(t)on.
    His ego is too big already.

    Illinois? Michigan? (none / 0) (#29)
    by NealB on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 12:16:33 AM EST
    Doubt it.

    Seriously (none / 0) (#37)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 09:54:40 AM EST
    Illinois- really, you think Bayh would have a good shot at Illinois- in 2012 in a contested primary against a sitting president from Illinois- he'd be lucky to hit Alan Keyes numbers.

    Well...he's no Dick Gephardt. (none / 0) (#30)
    by oldpro on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 12:16:58 AM EST
    Oh, wait...

    Exposed he (none / 0) (#54)
    by cal1942 on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:49:28 AM EST
    couldn't carry Michigan.

    The only thing Indiana has in common with those states is geography.


    bayh was great (1.00 / 0) (#35)
    by jedimom on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 09:01:06 AM EST
    he was an actual centrist
    this is indicative of how far off the rez these 'Dems' are, that they lose Evan
    folks like me will be forced to vote GOP with no Blue Dogs, count on it

    Bayh, Lieberman, Obama, Nelson--- (none / 0) (#41)
    by observed on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:07:31 AM EST
    all cut from the same cloth.

    Does centrist just mean Bayh is whiter? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Salo on Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 09:40:36 PM EST
    Bayh could easily be seen as Obamas political soulmate. So Lane must have something in mind here.

    Well (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 06:06:28 AM EST
    Bayh's statement shows how Obama put the knife in people's hands with his post partisan namby pamby crap. Now anytime the GOP doesn't go along it's considered a failure.

    I can't see Bayh running for Prez but I guess you never know.

    Obama is done as a President. Face it. Over, done finito.

    Yep in 2016 (none / 0) (#38)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 09:55:33 AM EST
    it'll be over.

    After Huckabee nukes Iran? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by observed on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:03:09 AM EST
    Right now I'd put Obama's re-election (none / 0) (#42)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:08:45 AM EST
    chances at about 65-75%, people are underestimating how divided the GOP is and how quickly things change- look at Clinton in 94 the narrative was that he destroyed his party's control over congress but by 96 he skated to re-election.

    I agree with you half way: (none / 0) (#43)
    by observed on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:11:01 AM EST
    Obama's team obviously is not worried about having more Republicans in Congress.
    Here's my little speculation: Bayh knifed the Senate dems with Obama's blessing, because Obama thinks the Dems are not right wing enough to get HIM reelected.

    Hmm. Well I doubt it was (none / 0) (#44)
    by pfish on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:28:20 AM EST
    with Obama's blessing, but I agree with you that his odds of getting re-elected improve with a Republican Congress.

    Are you kidding? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 12:51:25 PM EST
    These kinds of statements make people roll in the floor laughing because they are so clueless. Anybody can win if you have a clue. Obama has been shown to weak therefore he is done. People of all stripes know that they can walk all over him. No one respects him or fears him so he's become just a rubber stamp for whatever comes out of congress.

    Puh-Lease (none / 0) (#52)
    by coigue on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 07:23:07 PM EST
    Obama knows how to run a campaign, and voters don't pay attention until 6 months before a pres election. 2004 proved that.

    Obama (none / 0) (#55)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 05:51:25 AM EST
    is going to have a record for once in his political life but he really doesnt run a good campaign from what I saw in 2008. He was just lucky but he can get lucky again.

    uh-huh (none / 0) (#56)
    by coigue on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 09:47:51 AM EST
    funny how some people are lucky, huh?

    Uh (none / 0) (#57)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 10:23:35 AM EST
    you're forgetting about te market collapse. He wasn't polling that well until that happened. Unless he turns it around, the GOP is going to have a perfect storm going into 2012: an energized base, a demoralized Dem base and high disapproval among independents. In 2004 George W. Bush had 9/11 to help him squeak by so unless we have another terrorist attack that helps Obama then 2004 isnt really a good comparision.

    Maybe you're right. (none / 0) (#59)
    by coigue on Thu Feb 18, 2010 at 09:36:28 PM EST
    Maybe not. I happen to think not, but in terms of luck this year, Obama has zero.

    Not according to the latest poll (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 04:32:46 PM EST
    Now, polls like this are silly this far out, but it's just as silly to make statements that Obama's chances are 65-70% right now.

    While President Barack Obama is not up for re-election this November, he will be in 2012 if he decides to run for a second term. According to the poll, 44 percent of registered voters say Obama deserves re-election, with 52 percent saying the president does not deserve a second term in office. The survey also indicates that 49 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing as president, with half of the public disapproving of his job in the White House.

    "One problem Obama faces may be the perception that Obama is not a middle-class kind of guy," Holland said. "Only 4 percent of Americans describe themselves as upper class. But a 45 percent plurality say that Obama belongs to the upper class, with 42 percent saying he is from the middle class and 12 percent describing him as working class."

    No one who is president (none / 0) (#58)
    by CST on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 01:23:46 PM EST
    is a "middle class" kind of guy by the time they get elected.  They might have started out that way, but in order to make it to the point where they are a serious candidate for national office - they have already left those ranks.

    Pretending otherwise is silly.  That's how we end up with people like G.W.B as the "wanna have a beer with - president".  That man had more blue blood than an Avatar.  Even Lincoln was upper class by the time he was elected president.


    lets (none / 0) (#45)
    by sas on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 12:31:12 PM EST

    Coakley loses in Mass

    Chris Dodd-retiring
    Evan Bayh - retiring

    Boxer in trouble in Ca
    Mikulski Md retiring?
    Byron Dorgan ND leaving?

    Chicago school: mission accomplished. (none / 0) (#48)
    by observed on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 04:51:35 PM EST
    lol (none / 0) (#49)
    by coigue on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 07:13:43 PM EST