“Another Massachusetts-sized political earthquake for the Democrats.”

Charles Lane in his blog at the Washington Post offers a more sympathetic view of Bayh’s motives for quitting:

Bayh to Obama: take this job and shove it

Millions of Americans long to tell their bosses “take this job and shove it.” Hardly any have the power and money to do so, especially in these recessionary times. Sen. Evan Bayh (D) of Indiana, however, is the exception. His stunning retirement from the Senate is essentially a loud and emphatic “screw you” to President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. For months now, 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 over health care and cap and trade. [LA replies: if he was against the health care bill, why did he vote for it?] Neither the White House nor the Senate leadership has given him the response he wanted. Their bungling of what should have been a routine bipartisan jobs bill last week seems to have been the last straw.

… For him, then, the question was: even if I win, who needs six more years of dealing with these people, after which I might be 60 years old and trying to pick up the pieces of a damaged political party brand?

And don’t get him started on the Republicans! I think we have to take Bayh at his word when he quite justifiably expressed disgust not only with the jobs bill fiasco, but also when he lashed out at the Senate Republicans who opportunistically voted down a bipartisan budget-balancing commission they had previously endorsed.

Quitting the Senate was a no-lose move for the presidentially ambitious Bayh, since he 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, depending on circumstances.

… On a more pragmatic view, Bayh’s dramatic vote of no-confidence in his own party’s leadership looks like another Massachusetts-sized political earthquake for the Democrats….

[end of Lane column]

Many of the commenters are liberals who are furious with Lane, abusively so, apparently over Lane’s approving take on Bayh’s “screw you” to the Democrats.

- end of initial entry -

Derek C. writes:

It’s still worth remembering that after November, we’ll have a lame duck session filled with a lot of liberal Democrats who have every incentive to pass all sorts of crap with no threat of electoral retribution. It would be an ideal time for them to try to shove through something like amnesty, if they could pick off a Republican like Lindsey Graham or John McCain.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 16, 2010 08:47 AM | Send

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