Senator Gives Dems a Good "Bayh" Present
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh shocked the political world Monday with his surprise announcement that he would retire instead of seeking re-election this year.
The popular lawmaker, considered one of the more centrist figures in the Senate, was leading strongly in the polls and had amassed a campaign war chest of over $13 million. His re-election prospects were about as impeccable as a Democrat in a traditionally "red" state could hope for.
No, it seems the partisan rancor and gridlock on the Hill have proven too much for Bayh.
"There is too much partisanship and not enough progress — too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving," Bayh said at a news conference announcing his decision Monday.
Democrats have been left unprepared and many feel that Bayh, whom they consider an overly conservative Democrat who doesn't work well within his own caucus, just kicked one last mound of dirt at Democrats with his retirement.
Just one example comes from Steve Brenen of the Washington Monthly: "Bayh is hurting Democrats twice — once by walking away when they need his vote, and again by making it extremely difficult for the party to find, recruit, and qualify a top-tier candidate to run in his stead."
However, it may not be as difficult to find a top recruit as initially thought. When the story was breaking, people latched onto the fact that the deadline to submit paperwork for the Democratic primary was Friday. In a bit of ironic good news for Democrats, it was later revealed that the deadline is actually Tuesday. Why is this good news? Because with so little time to apply, the likelihood is that no one will qualify for the primary — including an undesirable candidate. And if no one applies to the primary, state party officials would get to hand pick a candidate to run against the eventual GOP nominee.
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press