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Posted at 1:11 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Evan Bayh walks through the revolving door

By Ezra Klein

In 2010, Sen. Evan Bayh retired. Part of the reason, he told me, was that the corrosive effect of money in politics had left his profession looking corrupt. "You want to be engaged in an honorable line of work," Bayh said, "but they look at us like we're worse than used-car salesmen."

On Friday, Bayh announced that he was joining Apollo Global Management, a private-equity megafirm, as "a senior adviser with responsibility for public policy." Something tells me that this isn't going to vastly improve the way Americans think about their politicians.

By Ezra Klein  | January 24, 2011; 1:11 PM ET
 
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Comments

Embrace cynicism Ezra. You'll be less disappointed in the long run.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 24, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

here here, jnc4p!

Posted by: will12 | January 24, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

This suggests that venture capital firms in general or Apollo in particular are to be disdained. This from a self-proclaimed expert on "economic policy?" Grow up.

Posted by: Boilerup | January 24, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"In 2010, Sen. Evan Bayh retired. Part of the reason, he told me, was that the corrosive effect of money in politics had left his profession looking corrupt"

if he really felt that way, why did he go to a private equity firm?

past presidents...senators...they enjoy the connections and prestige of being in a high public office, and then, they simply cash in, and sell out. (some of them didnt even have much to sell out, in the way of convictions or principles.)
only, it seems, did carter do humanitarian work, that was not high-profile, and didnt make him "rich," and connected into the "davos set." and he didnt write a book to "cash in..." he wrote a book with unpopular opinions that he held deeply and took a lashing for it...and wrote a book on growing older.
i guess bayh and clinton would be the "fascinating and useful" people at davos....and jimmy carter will continue to do humanitarian work, and walk a humble walk.
this is why i love carter, and dislike the others. he restores my faith in people, and they hurt my faith in people.
he walks the walk, and he stands by the courage of his convictions, whether they are popular or not.
at least, he has heartfelt convictions, beyond making money, and enjoying a glamourous life.

i dont believe that helping people, or having a strong social conscience, was ever about lining his own pockets first....like with everyone else, it seems.
few go through the narrow door.
few, it seems, lead by example.

Posted by: jkaren | January 24, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I sometimes forget that you're only 26-27, but occasionally something you write reminds me. LOL

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 24, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I thought he was sincere, too. Maybe I need to get more cynical.

Posted by: madjoy | January 24, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Where do I sign up to be a "public servant"?

Posted by: willows1 | January 24, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

you guys are just jealous 'cause you're not as cute and adorable as Ezra.

Posted by: moiraeve1 | January 24, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Umm...the reason public servants do this is because there is no real consequence. Maybe a couple bloggers raise their electronic eyebrows, but it's not like you're caught with a hooker and on the cover of the NY Post, if you know what I mean.

That means, it's only upside-- lots of cash, with no downside of social ostracism.

This means that citizens, and especially journalists have an obligation to shame, shame, shame these people. The revolving door IS corruption. You're disgusting, Evan Bayh. You're disgusting, Peter Orszag. You're disgusting, Larry Summers. I don't care if I agree with many of the policies you implemented: you undermine our nation when you go play boinga-boinga with bankers after failing to play hardball with them for the last two years. Disgusting.

Posted by: jacobh | January 24, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

For you folks who see this mostly as an occasion to slam Ezra's trust and celebrate your cynicism, consider that he's effectively employing a strategy of generous/contrite tit for tat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat) while you are more or less employing a strategy of tat (or the other one). Yours may feel better, but his is more likely to deliver greater net outcome. Nothing ventured nothing gained and all that.

That being said, I never saw much evidence that Evan Bayh was much of a moral philosopher. Nor did I see much evidence that Ezra was unduly trusting of his motivations.

Posted by: dfhoughton | January 25, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

So politician says X is causing people to look down on politicians.

Politician does X, and Ezra (rightly) points out the hypocrisy.

I laugh at those calling out Ezra for his naivity or what not. The guy knows policy better than most Congressional LD's.

@Ezra,

Do you ever wish you were writing at more wonky outlets? I see these comments at WPost and just think, your talents are being wasted at Wpost. Then again, your voice is one of the few of reason in the MSM, so, please keep up the good fight and please keep calling out politicians for their endless amount of grandstanding and hypocrisy.

Posted by: nattyb | January 25, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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