The Bayh puzzle, cont.

Paul at Powerline deftly handles an oft-heard argument about Evan Bayh’s decision not to run for re-election:

I have seen speculation that Evan Bayh’s resignation from the Senate is motivated by a desire to remain a viable candidate for the presidency. I can’t speak to Bayh’s motivation, but I will say that he is not now, and never will be, a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. This is a job for which centrists—even faux centrists—need not apply.

I repeat what I said when the news first broke: Bayh’s most likely motive for not running was his fear of losing. Yes, some polls showed him ahead of possible challengers, but others showed him behind, and he could see that the general trend was bad for him. The head and fountain of his own, moderate approach to politics had been the defeat of his father, Sen. Birch Bayh, by Republican congressman Dan Quayle in 1980 who had relentlessly exposed the elder Bayh as a liberal. To re-live his father’s humiliation, after having successfully escaped it for so long, would be the younger Bayh’s worst nightmare. Further, such an undesirable outcome had been rendered far more likely by Bayh’s votes for Obama’s radical legislative agenda, exploding his front as a moderate—which was, again, the very basis of his political career in conservative leaning Indiana. Why, then, did he vote for the stimulus, for Obamacare, and the rest? As I see him, Bayh is a weak man, who constantly talks moderate, but who when the chips were down couldn’t resist voting with his radicalized party. So he played out his empty hand to its logical end, which was his departure from politics.

The major remaining puzzle is why he decided to quit so suddenly, after giving every sign that he was running for re-election. The notion that his disappointment with the killing of a single bill in the Senate was enough to turn him around doesn’t seem credible to me.

- end of initial entry -

February 18

A comment about Bayh that fits my view of him, though from the Democratic side, at

As for Evan Bayh’s BS about quitting because of the toxic atmosphere in the US Senate: if he was such a calming influence, then why did he abandon the cause, and where are the examples of where he worked with some Republicans, and got them to meet him half way, during 2009?

Those who can; do. Those who can’t, like Evan Bayh, just whine and quit.

How come Senator Kennedy was always able to find people on the other side to work with and get things done. Evan; you are no Ted Kennedy. Good riddance, you gutless, under-achieving whiner.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 17, 2010 10:55 AM | Send

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