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The Evan Bayh blow to the Dems

There is no way for Democrats to sugarcoat the news of Sen. Evan Bayh's retirement: This is mighty good news for Republicans. Bayh would have been very difficult to defeat, and he has $13 million in the bank. Now, Indiana can be added to the list of seats that could shift to the Republicans, and that list is growing large enough that the GOP is within striking distance of taking over the Senate, an unthinkable idea even a month or so ago.

This view, of course, is based on the current political climate, and the one piece of good news for Democrats is that they are prepared for the difficulty of this November's elections in a way they were not prepared for the rout of 1994. So the ground could shift in the next few months. And as a raft of recent polls have shown, the standing of the Republican Party, though improving in some of the surveys, is still very low.

Nonetheless, the Bayh decision puts Democrats in a difficult spot. And they don't have much time to figure out what to do, since the filing deadline for the race, as the Hotline reports, is this Friday. (UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: Actually, there remains some confusion about the filing deadline. Chris Cillizza reports that signatures are due tomorrow. Talking Points Memo says "this week" -- and has an interesting piece on a Bloomington cafe owner trying to get on the ballot.) Chris Cillizza points to several democrats House members as potential Democratic candidates: Reps. Baron Hill, Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly. Hotline also lists former Gov. Joe Kernan, the candidate who'd have the best statewide recognition, and former Democratic National Committee Chair Joe Andrew. The interesting question on the Republican side, as Chris notes, is whether Rep. Mike Pence, who decided not to challenge Bayh, decides to get in now and face off against former Sen. Dan Coates and former Rep. John Hostettler.

Why did Bayh do this? He spoke in his statement of his frustration over ideological and partisan polarization in the Senate. The truth is that Bayh has not seemed very happy in his work for quite a while. I think he believed (and with some reason) that he had a good chance of being picked as Barack Obama's running mate in 2008. I can't help but think that this disappointment has played a role in his mood and in his thinking about his long-term political prospects. More generally, I think he liked being governor much more than he liked being a senator. As for what else is going on here, we'll need more reporting. The timing of his decision, so close to the filing deadline, does seem odd, and will require some explanation.

I thought Bayh was at his best in recent years during his run for the 2008 presidential nomination, a race he shut down believing (correctly) that the Obama-Hillary Clinton confrontation left little room for him. It was the period in which he was forced to reconcile his cautious centrism with his quest to lead a party that, on the whole, is to his left. It was an intellectual and political challenge that he seemed to be grappling with, and it would have interesting to watch him carry it through. But it was not to be, and he moved back toward the center -- or, depending on your point of view, to the right -- in his voting record.

And now the Democrats have another problem on their hands at a moment when the last thing they need is another problem.

UPDATE AT 6:30 p.m.: Pence has decided not to run for the seat, which makes Coats the favorite for the Republican nomination. On the Democratic side, late word is that Kernan is not interested in running. As Chris points out, the likelyhood is that the Democratic nominee will be picked by the state party because the deadline to submit signatures to get on the state primary ballot is Tuesday the 16th, even though the formal filing deadline is Friday. This could help the Democrats by allowing them to esacape a primary. One other interesting Democratic possibility is Tim Roemer, the Ambassador to india and former Congressman.

By E.J. Dionne  | February 15, 2010; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Next: Bayh to Obama: take this job and shove it

Comments

A good man but doomed due to his association with the radicals who hijacked the Democratic party. No matter how much Dona Brazile, MSNBC, CNN, or the New York times sugar coats it - the country has finally figured out that these radicals have no clue how to get this country moving and they endanger us every day.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | February 15, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I don't know if this is such a big problem. If it was his father, then the Democrats might have a problem, given that his father was ANYTHING but the milque-toast Evan Bayh is.
If Indiana elects a Republican to the Senate, there is just the possibility that it might be one of the lingering rational ones left in that Party. Meaning, someone capable of working for the United States, instead of just for a political party.
I think the facts regarding Senate activity in the last year speak for themselves: Democrats never had a REAL majority of 60. If they did, they would have been able to do something. But, they didn't.
However, should the Republicans in Indiana elect a true right-winger to the Senate, it will simply serve their ultimate goal of establishing the "Unitary Executive" position of whoever is President.
Republicans have effectively nullified the Senate's role of "advice and consent" and that leaves the Executive but one choice: make all the decisions himself, by Executive order and recess appointments.
If Republicans are mad now, just wait until Obama comes around to the notion that he simply cannot govern, in any way at all, except by making all the decisions himself.
Somehow, I think Obama might like that more, as would ANY President, than enduring the complete shut-down of America's capacity to function in even the most simple of ways.
No President wishes to preside over a government unable to work with him in any way, over anything, all the time.

Posted by: cms1 | February 15, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It's good. The Dems should purge the party of Republicans like this guy. A terrible legacy.

Posted by: sufi66 | February 15, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Why does it matter of Bayh doesn't run. He never votes with the Democrats anyway.

Posted by: rlritt | February 15, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

What caused this resignation? Virginia Governor race, New Jersey Governor race or Massachusetts senator race? Duh--------

Posted by: sportsfan2 | February 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

A good man is gone, additional evidence that our current political system is in need of major repair.

Posted by: johnson0572 | February 15, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

A couple of the commenters here say they are happy that Bayh has bowed out because he is essentially a Republican. In order to get some perspective, I checked out his voting record with the ADA, the liberal group that rates the voting records of members of Congress. In the last four years, Bayh's ratings were: 70, 95, 85, and 95.

Oh, the horror!

Not liberal enough!

Not sufficiently commmunist. Good that he's going.

All I can say is that Republicans are damn lucky to have opponents like suffi66 and rirtt. Such hyper-purists won't be happy until they drive out all Dems who don't march in lockstep to their ultra-left views. They are the equivalent of the right's Pat Robertson brigades. Thank goodness for them.

Posted by: dakotadoug83 | February 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"There is no way for Democrats to sugarcoat the news of Sen. Evan Bayh's retirement: This is mighty good news for Republicans."

Oh mercy. The Republicans have been in control of the Senate since the 2008 election in spite of having a supermajority because of people like Bayh, and we're all supposed to weep at his departure because Republicans might gain that seat? Please.

I'd much rather have a declared anti-American corporate fascist than a fascist in Democrat clothing. At least we know unambiguously who we're dealing with, and pundits like E . J. Dionne will be less prone to confusion.

Posted by: trippin | February 15, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Bayh will be back in 3 years in White House or 7 years in Senate: ..... ....... OBAMA YOU NEED TO HELP ALL OF U.S. !!! ........***** SAVE SMALL BUSINESSES & JOBS.. ... ... .... ... ...President Obama: Keep COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES from occurring and closing Small Businesses.....use 10% of the $787 Billion "JOBS" Bill our children will pay for; to AVOID 1930'S style, full-blown DEPRESSION!!

Posted by: MSFT-PELOSI | February 15, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama might like that more, as would ANY President, than enduring the complete shut-down of America's capacity to function in even the most simple of ways. No President wishes
http://usspost.com/evan-bayh-5809/

Posted by: susan166 | February 15, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Evan Bayh is a great American and I would vote for him in a split second - if the options were Obama and/or Palin. I hope he reconsiders leaving public life. He is the type of leader this nation really needs.

Posted by: chrojo01 | February 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid's terrible display on Friday as he ripped up a bi-partisan piece of legislation was the last straw! The Democrats doodoo is now ten feet deep in the Capital!!

This maneuver also kills any hope for Obama's lame Healthcare Summit next week.

The Democrats have committed suicide!


Posted by: jjcrocket2 | February 15, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Bayh is sending a message to Obama, Reid and Pelosi. Their arrogant partisanship forced Republicans to stand united against their hard left, no compromise, health, finance, climate, spending and taxing bills. It's obviously hard to support leaders who almost daily lash out at their opponents, making it even harder to get anything done.

Will Obama finally get off his high horse and govern? Will Reid retire and let a reasonable person--not Durbin or Schumer-- take his place? Will House Dems dump Pelosi? Doubt it. They're too far out of touch. They don't even know nobody trusts them an never will.
www.businessword.com.

Posted by: donaldjohnson | February 15, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

bye bye dems. for a long time.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | February 15, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, America will soon see the end of the Democrat Party. What a bunch of pathetic incompetents.

Posted by: DCer1 | February 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Tick - Tock - Tick - Tock......Dems..November is approaching fast...and those with a leftist agenda as Obama's...who gave absolutely no clue will be gone.....Can You say Landrieu...can you say Lincoln...can you say Gillibrand...can you say Kauffman..can you say Reid...My only wish is the likes of Hagan....Schumer were also up...mere puppeteers and puppets.

Posted by: short1 | February 15, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: cms1 | February 15, 2010 12:59 PM If Republicans are mad now, just wait until Obama comes around to the notion that he simply cannot govern, in any way at all, except by making all the decisions himself.

-------------------------------------------

You are making an erroneous assumption that Obama has the capacity to make "all the decisions himself"

Especially since it has become abundantly clear that he does not...

Posted by: Straightline | February 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

How's it a blow to Democrats when he did more than most Republicans to stop a progressive agenda? Good riddance to a deficit peacock!

Posted by: Boogie_Knight | February 15, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Keep spinning you Commie Pig & the cultural shift between now and November will be the total realization how socialist you liberal pigs are & mainstream America will recapture and secure its homeland...move to France Dionne or Denmark where you and Oprah can be the "happiest" people in the world & when Denmark is invaded by some disaffected Turks I'm sure you'll have the tenacity and toughness to thwart the invasions you wimp

Posted by: michaelhunt277 | February 15, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"No way to sugar coat"? Really, E.J.? Bayh was no better than a Republican. He did more to stall reform than any of the Republicans.

Posted by: Boogie_Knight | February 15, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Republican Paulson, Republican Bernanke, and Obama the country is beginning to move again. Employment is picking up and consumer spending is up.

The Democtrats have one problem. They don't know how to fight or they don't want to. Most of the fighters are on the house side. Health care should have been done by now.

One things the Dems need to do is move the nation more left. We need to become competitive with the world as it is, not as we wish it were. We are losing to many jobs to socialist nations. We must become more socilaist if we are to retain jobs in the US.

Time to pass the public-option. Go around Republicans if necesary.

Posted by: Maddogg | February 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Purge the Domocratic party of all centrists and let the far lefties rule. A Jimmy Carter 1980 redux.

Posted by: mike27 | February 15, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Bayh sets himself up as primary Presidential timber in 2112. He saves the Democratic Party in 2112 by running as a centrist. This is where the (Independents) are looking to move the country. He distances himself from this Democratic implosion.

Posted by: bobilly2 | February 15, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Rational Democrats like Evan Bayh must be disgusted with the direction their liberal/radical leaders have taken the party: a deficit in the trillions on top of which they insist on piling a monstrosity of a health insurance program. New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusets gave the party a kick in the behind and millions of disaffected Americans are forced to demonstrate their unhappiness in the streets. Liberals respond by hurling insults at them calling them racists and fascists- that is how far left the liberal elites have gone. Liberals are hopelessly out of touch with their countrymen. It is time for them to go.

Posted by: mhr614 | February 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Bayh reitred now for three simple reasons: So he can keep the $12 million he's got in his campaign coffers, avoid losing to Dan Coates this November, and be in a plausible position to challenge President Obama from the center as a "Washington outsider" in the 2012 primaries, when soup lines will curl around city blocks as left-wing Democrats nonetheless continue taxing and regulating the life out of our economy.

Posted by: mckdarrenDC | February 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't know for certain, E.J., but I'd guess that Evan Bayh is departing the Senate for the reasons he explicitly stated.

You can speculate all you like about his thwarted ambitions, and attempt to minimize the importance of his departure (much like you did with the VA, NJ, and MA races), but at some point you're going to have to admit that there is mounting evidence of a backlash against what looks and smells like one-party rule.

Americans don't like gridlock, but they also don't care much for folks who shut off all debate and tell us we'll get what's good for us. Bayh apparently doesn't, either. Good for him.

Let me know when you learn this lesson for yourself.

Posted by: cynicalidealist | February 15, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

("It's the Senate, Stupid!")
We Americans are uncommonly blinded by denial. As Winston Churchill said, "One can trust the Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried all other alternatives." The usual stock phrases "government gridlock," government paralysis," "voter frustration," “voter anger,” and most infuriating of all, "political reality,” somehow manage to avoid the obvious: no matter how the majority of Americans vote, the Senate, insulated by 6 year terms and short voter memory, behaves with imperial arrogance, more House of Lords than democracy. The Senate's quaint rules could, in final analysis, all be abolished, constitutionally, by simple majority vote; up to, and including the so-called “super-majority” imposed for changing rules.
Nothing succeeds like success. The frustration and powerlessness currently infecting government and society as a whole, have roots, directly or indirectly, in the Senate's obstructionism. Somehow, the rest of the free world has managed to survive, without these quaint idiosyncrasies, as did the United States, until relatively recently in our history. The British did away with their House of Lords' extraordinary powers, well back in 1911. "The tyranny of the majority," indeed! Come on. Are we listening to what that phrase implies?
The Senate does not represent the people; it represents states. Originally, there was no requirement that any senator be popularly elected. Indeed, what could have been more like a House of Lords than that? It took the 17th amendment, also repeatedly blocked by the senate of the time, to change it; coincidentally, near the time that the Brits were doing away with their House of Lords' privileges. Now the time may be at hand once again, for Americans to amend what the good senators, too characteristically, appear unwilling to fix on their own. The first step is to call a spade, a spade.

Posted by: armondavid | February 15, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

2112 sounds about right, bobilly.

Posted by: stoat1 | February 15, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic party seems to be aimlessly wandering through the desert with no one to lead it home. Our ultra-cerebral President doesn't relish cracking the whip, so the the party is a fractious mess. Every member seems to think their way is the better way, and in Bayh's case, he just decides to pick his marbles up and go home. There's very little inspiring about being a Democrat these days, and that's a shame. The only real solution is getting money out of politics so candidates can stand for something other than the next election. Otherwise, they'll never have the incentive -- or should I say courage.

Posted by: hickssumnet | February 15, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

If Republicans take over the Senate how will that be any different than today? Rs will continue to block everything and Dems will continue to get nothing done.

Posted by: xcrunner771 | February 15, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Let's keep the quits coming! We need Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, Eric Cantor, Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Jim DeMint, and Shelby Whatever-his-name-is to quit next, hopefully followed by more. They've made a mockery of the Senate and the democratic process. They should follow Sarah Palin's example and quit...and don't come back.

Posted by: dudh | February 15, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

It amazes me to read some of the republican comments about what the "radicals" are doing to this country. Someone please tell me exactly what REPUBLICAN rule accomplished in the last decade? Was it the path to record unemployment? Was it creating the largest disparity between rich and poor in the history of this country? Was it angering the rest of the world? Was it never ever addressing the festering racism that infects 5-10% of your party and potentially much higher in parts of the south? Someone please tell me. Because all I hear is how the radical liberals are ruining the country-after 1 year in office mind you.

Posted by: ksanders32 | February 15, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

This isn't as bad for the Dems as you might think. The fact that he is the only candidate who has enough signatures to get on the primary ballot by Tuesday means that when he withdraws, the party, not the primary voters, will select a candidate. The Republicans have 5 candidates for the primary. 2 are token candidates, but the other 3 are Dan Coats, Bayh's predecessor, who has a lot of negatives and low name recognition (being out the public eye for 18 years), John Hostettler, a former congressman who was creamed in his 2006 re-election bid (39-61%), and state senator Marlin Stutzman, a conservative with little money and low name recognition.

Whoever wins the Rep primary will have an uphill fight against a party hand picked candidate that will probably be loaded with out of state money.

So despite what it looks like right now, Bayh has done well to position his party to hold the seat. Remember, Obama carried Indiana in 2008. But then again, he carried Massachusetts, too.

Posted by: rpdearnaley | February 15, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

==============
==============

I used to enjoy reading the comments here, including ones by thoughtful people I disagree with. I once even saw an anti-abortion post by a Jesuit priest which made sense (though it drew the wrong conclusions).

But ever since about 2008, it's been boring here because the interesting comments by real people are diluted 20:1 with the flood of worthless right-wing political spam from contractors paid to post it.

Even THAT might be okay if they actually said something. But their fake comments consist purely of content-free, childish sarcasm which invariably makes fun of Obama's name.

I'm sure genuine obsessed crazies post messages here too, but you can tell the professionally-written propaganda, its nominal information content, and the lack of typos and speling misteaks, and by googling it and seeing the exact same sentences all over the net.

Real right-wing fanatics write things like (actual example): "The debackle of moral intigerty have been given up in the name of mercy and grace."

Since the comments in the moonie paper are censored to allow only republican propaganda, is there some online forum where I can talk with serious conservatives who speak like George Will and the Jesuit priest, rather than wade through feigned outrage, obvious lies, and juvenile insults posted by cynical con-men to sway the stupid?

--faye kane, homeless brain
Read more of my smartmouth opinions at http://tinyurl.com/fayescave

Posted by: Knee_Cheese_Zarathustra | February 15, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Dionne has been very good at "sugar-coating" (his words) everything the Dems do while demonizing any dissenting voices.

Well, good for Bayh. I'll be tempted to vote for him if he runs for President in the future. (Disclaimer: Unless there is more to this retirement than the dissatisfaction, etc. with Congress.)
Bayh asked the question of Obama that implied there is reason for taxpayers not to trust the politics (of Democrats).
Good for him.

Posted by: pjcafe | February 15, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Dionne has been very good at "sugar-coating" (his words) everything the Dems do while demonizing any dissenting voices.

Well, good for Bayh. I'll be tempted to vote for him if he runs for President in the future. (Disclaimer: Unless there is more to this retirement than the dissatisfaction, etc. with Congress.)
Bayh asked the question of Obama that implied there is reason for taxpayers not to trust the politics (of Democrats).
Good for him.

Note: I'm an independent/ conservative.
I like my healthcare, but think it should be more affordable, I think that the 30 million without healthcare should receive some help but in a "responsible" way, and I think that Obama has made a mess of what could have been a full year of incremental improvements in every area. He blew it.

Posted by: pjcafe | February 15, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

good point, ksanders. But why stop at the past decade? Republicans have been in the White House for 30 of the past 42 years. It doesn't seem so, because they have succeeded in posing as anti-government outsiders -- all the while duping 30 percent or so ALL of the time and another 25 percent or so most of the time. They are easy to pick out on this blog, using words like "communist" and "socialist" as if they had a clue what they are talking about. One entrant suggests that it was Obama's partisanship that FORCED the R's to band together. Most troubling-- I think they believe it.

Posted by: tradeczar | February 15, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it, democrats controlled the house, senate and executive branch all last year, and could not advance their agenda. The party is fractured, led by deaf buffoons, and Bayh did the honorable thing: he's decided to stop beating his head against a wall to do something where he can be effective. Take him at his word.

Posted by: liz953 | February 15, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

He is a DINO. This gives the Dems a chance to run a real Dem and if they lose, so what -- Bayh voted with the GOP anyway. Either way, if the Dems don't do away with the cloture rule, they are doomed to get nothing done anyway. Time for the Wimpy Professor to grow a pair and lead a fight and forget trying to get GOP votes.

Posted by: dolph924 | February 15, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Dionne- "I think he believed (and with some reason) that he had a good chance of being picked as Barack Obama's running mate in 2008. I can't help but think that this disappointment has played a role in his mood and in his thinking about his long-term political prospects. More generally, I think he liked being governor much more than he liked being a senator."
--------------------------------------

Dionne- do the world a favor and stop thinking or whatever it is you do. He is frustrated with the government just like the rest of us. Get a job in the Post mailroom.

Posted by: 12oreo | February 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Bayh is a man of integrity! Guess that speaks volumes for those who remain!! The rest had better enjoy their Kool Aid for the remainder of this year, for this time next year the majority will be in the process of getting fitted for HEARING AIDS -- due to not listening to their constituents --
* OBAMACARE (NEED TO START OVER WHILE YOU STILL HAVE TIME)
* DAILY ARROGANCE FROM THE LIKES OF GEITHNER, GIBBS, EMANUEL, HOLDER, AXELROD PELOSI, REID (and their acolytes) & THE TELEPROMPTER KING
* FAILURE TO ADDRESS JOBS IN THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY
* CONSISTENT BACK ROOM DEALS WITH THE UNIONS WHICH CANNOT BE SUPPORTED OVER TIME -- STATE OF NEW JERSEY'S UNION WORK FORCE ONE PRIME EXAMPLE
* TEAM OBAMA'S CONSISTENT METHOD OF SOLVING PROBLEMS -
FIRE!
GET READY!
AND FINALLY,
AIM!
Then blame others for the sad situation they put themselves in!
* CAP & TRADE (WHAT A HOAX TO GET INTO TAXPAYER'S POCKETS)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html
www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece
www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/the-great-global-warming-collapse/article1458206/
Hope Bayh runs for president in 2012!

Posted by: wheeljc | February 15, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

To those who blame Obama for "trying to do too much at once"... get real. Do you think he would have earned even ONE more Republican vote if he had been an incrementalist? Of course not. Look at what the R's did to Kaine in Virginia. "No" works. Limbaugh had it right. He and the Republicans hope he fails, regardless of the consequencies.

Posted by: tradeczar | February 15, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA IS OVERSEEING THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN????!!!!

Posted by: wheeljc | February 15, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

To those who blame Obama for "trying to do too much at once"... get real. Do you think he would have earned even ONE more Republican vote if he had been an incrementalist? Of course not. Look at what the R's did to Kaine in Virginia. "No" works. Limbaugh had it right. He and the Republicans hope he fails, regardless of the consequences.

Posted by: tradeczar | February 15, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

So what? Bayh like the rest of the blue dogs acts just like a Republican anyway.

Lobbying will be very, very good to him.

Posted by: Patriot3 | February 15, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry, but I am so tired of hearing how he is a conservative Democrat or a centrist. He is a liberal, has been a liberal, and always is a liberal. The only time he votes with the Repubs is when his vote isn't needed and he can use that vote for cover back here in Indiana. Sorry, but I would never vote for him and I have to say that he was scared Dan Coats would have beaten him and hurt his chances to become TPOUS in 2012. Plus, this way he doesn't have to make any hard votes.

Posted by: perry6102 | February 15, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

First, he is joining the larger majority of the citizenry in realizing that the Obama administration is one big mistake. Then he realized that it would be hard to get reelected and finally he realized that Obama is making the same mistake LBJ made - 'the damn fool just keeps marching on'!

Posted by: fcrucian | February 15, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Ironic about this story is the Senate seat has come full circle. Coats retired when Bayh ran against him and now Bayh is retiring when Coats gets in the battle.

Posted by: perry6102 | February 15, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Not even politicians can stand politicians nowadays. Certainly not politicians with a brain and a conscience. Only the hardcore partisans can stand what they have wrought. It'll get much worse before it gets better.

Posted by: steveboyington | February 15, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Can't blame the guy if he's tired of fighting. Life is short, better things to do, etc, etc. Though, his country needs him. Now.

Despite what right wingers say, Obama and his supporters are very much moderates fighting against a resurgent right wing that threatens to swamp the country in a tidal wave of intolerance and unreason, not to mention a new level of incompetence and delusion. Bayh's leaving is another chink in the defenses against the forces of darkness.

Oh, heck.

Posted by: DavidH3 | February 15, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Most likely reason: he has internal polling that tells him that he can't win re-election.

Least likely reason: he is planning a presidential run in 2012

Most unbelievable reason: he is tired of partisanship.

It is all about the Health Insurance bill. He voted for it, now he is quitting.

Wake me when Hillary resigns. This guy is small potatoes.

Posted by: Art3 | February 15, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

If I were a Democrat, I'd run from this President as fast as I could too. Bayh is smart to quit, and the American people are smart to be turning against Democrats. The news is getting better every day.

Posted by: Rational4 | February 15, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

This guy is giving up on the Senate because he is reaching an age where he can only make the most money by cashing in on what he performed for the corporate interests during his "tenure".
How long will it be before we hear the headline in the Washington Post about how this guy is now working for some lobbying concern.??? Not long.
As soon as he started working for the people of Indiana, he started working for corporate interests.
And, so it goes for Senators. Regardless of domestic political parties. "Political parties: simply serve their own self-interested ability to make their own personal money.
I believe there are a few Senators who actually hold themselves to their oaths to the Consitution, but, not this guy.

Posted by: cms1 | February 15, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Bad news for us Dems? Nope; he sounded an awful lot like Sarah Palin's "abandon ship" screed when running away from the governor- ship of Alaska. Something about the tough get going but Ole Bayh never had to work hard for anything. Something about the tough get going. See you in the lobby pool chicken little; you betcha!

Posted by: wbowenatsavscls | February 15, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is any example of what Democrats are like, you can't blame Bayh for leaving, for who would want to associate with such a foul creature?

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | February 15, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

As an independent and a moderate, I regret the loss of Evan Bayh. Sen. Bayh laid some of the blame at both parties. Unfortunately, the Democrats, and especially Obama, have tried to rule from the left instead of honoring campaign pledges to govern in a bipartisan manner.

If the loss of Evan Bayh helps to prevent the passage of the healthcare bills, that will be the silver lining. I still don't see how any progressive can accept the individual mandates as a substitute for universal healthcare. To force people to buy insurance policies, when so many are struggling, is regressive. The insurer, Anthem, which made headlines with rate increase proposals of 39%, admitted that it favors requiring people to buy insurance. No duh. The pharmaceutical industry is also strongly in favor of the "reform" bills.

The saddest part of the whole mess is that if the Democrats had started the reform process with proposals that had strong public support, we would already be on the way to improving the system and without the polarization and cynicism that has infected our entire country. Maybe they will eventually realize that the comprehensive bills are just too costly on every level. Maybe they will shelve Obamacare and start serving the people.

Posted by: farmerjohn | February 15, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

All the more reason to ram the Health Care bill through now, right E.J.?

Man, I hope the Dems keep listening to their pundits! Full speed ahead! Damn the elections!

Posted by: grohlik | February 15, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

A blow to Democrats? Hardly. Obama is simply purging the Party of reactionary elements. Once the Party has been purified, we can move forward more united. Invigorated.

Posted by: trotsky2 | February 15, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

read some interesting commentary ... some of it is even objective.
allow me to remind us all that about 15 months ago MSNBC and its anal commentators, Mathews, Brezinsky, Beckel et al were in the process of burying the GOP. (nevermind Olberman, he doesn't even count)
Bayh's decision to retire is not based on ONE factor. He is looking at his political future and sees a dark cloud if he is tied to the Barry Soetoro administration.
What America needs is 100% taxation on both political parties. The GOP & jack-a.... have ruined this country in their quest for power. Put them both out of business, and return the Nation [a democratic REPUBLIC, not a DEMOCRACY] to We the People.
I think Evan Bayh is whispering that message via "retirement" from the Senate.
He should be applauded for having some integrity.

Posted by: esquire2 | February 15, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

read some interesting commentary ... some of it is even objective.
allow me to remind us all that about 15 months ago MSNBC and its anal commentators, Mathews, Brezinsky, Beckel et al were in the process of burying the GOP. (nevermind Olberman, he doesn't even count)
Bayh's decision to retire is not based on ONE factor. He is looking at his political future and sees a dark cloud if he is tied to the Barry Soetoro administration.
What America needs is 100% taxation on both political parties. The GOP & jack-a.... have ruined this country in their quest for power. Put them both out of business, and return the Nation [a democratic REPUBLIC, not a DEMOCRACY] to We the People.
I think Evan Bayh is whispering that message via "retirement" from the Senate.
He should be applauded for having some integrity.

Posted by: esquire2 | February 15, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

One things the Dems need to do is move the nation more left. We need to become competitive with the world as it is, not as we wish it were. We are losing to many jobs to socialist nations. We must become more socilaist if we are to retain jobs in the US.

Time to pass the public-option. Go around Republicans if necesary.

=============================

Since you think those socialist nations are so great, why don't you move to one?

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | February 15, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Americans are rejecting the Obama version of New World Order. The abdication of moderate Dems from a career in Washington should be apparent even to the most ignorant (includes Olberman) lib.
The founding Fathers had it right. Follow the directions in the Constitution. That is what made this Nation GREAT! ... that and a generation of builders who have very few surviving members.

Posted by: esquire2 | February 15, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Give Bayh credit for some integrity...and for refusing to go along with Obama, Reid and Pelosi as they destroy the Democratic Party. Look for a Bayh presidential candidacy not in 2012 (the Dems will surely stick with LOSER OBAMA), but in 2016 against the Republican who wins in 12.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 15, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Dave Broder hit you progressives over the head with a 2X4 over three months ago, when he wrote an article about the bleak future facing the Democratic Party because of its most recent move to the left.

Then came Scott Brown winning in Massachusetts, a 4X4 to the sternum.

Next there was Obama's and the Democratic Party's tanking in the polls, kind of like getting hit in the face by a 2X10.

Now, Evan Bayh has decided that he's better off out of the Senate. Kind of like running into a 12 inch piling at 60 knots.

What's it going to take for you progressives to wake up? A meteorite strike?

People don't like socialism, no matter what you call it.

Posted by: tacheronb | February 15, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Any thrills running up Chris Matthews' legs lately?

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | February 15, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

What is the big deal? The way the Senate game is now played, the party with 41 seats is as powerful as the party with 59. The Dems may as well let the Republicans have the so-called majority if they really want it.

Posted by: jondnorton | February 15, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

First of all, Scott Brown will not win re-election in 2012.

Secondly, I am an unabashed moderate Dem. I worked 6 years in the US Senate. Few people will miss Evan Bayh. He lived on his Dad's reputation. Name 2 issues or pieces of legislation attached to Evan Bayh? I didn't think you could. This guy suffers from megalomania similar to John Edwards.

Posted by: DCBoudin | February 15, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

ROFL, Evan Bayh RETIRES and Sarah Palin is a Qurter

Posted by: sophic | February 15, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Anybody in his right mind knew the Oboobma era would be brief. Just not this brief.

Posted by: thebump | February 15, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

How can the Republicans not win big? The Democrats hate the Democrats and won't even bother to go to the polls. The Republicans will. They've learned their lesson! You're not going to see the big spenders you saw with the Bush administration. You're going to see true conservatives. You going to see more government shift to the states. You're going to see states keep more of their residents' tax money and use it for such things as healthcare! Bye, Bye Hypoccrats!!

Posted by: georges2 | February 15, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The Big Tent policy of the Democratic Party is it's undoing. They let Socialists and outright Marxists in, and what do you know, those two now run the Democratic Party. And the moderate Democrats now seemingly have no place in the extreme left world of todays New Democratic Socialist Party.


What we are seeing is the death of the democratic party. Bayh left because he know's Barrack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are out of touch with the American people and will NOT do a pivot. They are so far left, they do not have the capability to pivot and head in the direction of the American people. And for Bayh and other moderate democrats to be associated with that is a stain on their record.


The New Deocratic Socialist Party will continue on it's course off the cliff. And in November, there will be no place to hide from the wrath of the American people for those elitist Marxists who now call themselves the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Indpnt1 | February 15, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

This guy was the posterboy for the blue dogs....worse than a republican... take Landreau and Nelson with you.

Posted by: seakeys | February 15, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats are irresponsibly spending America into Oblivion and attempting to force Crap Care on All Americans, they don't have a clue on how to start the economic engines and their future will only kill business growth...this is just the tip of the Obamination of America.
The Democrats keep forgetting who they work for and they, their arrogance and their ignorance will be defeated. Yes, this is always a surprise to the media pimps...

Posted by: sophic | February 15, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

This view, of course, is based on the current political climate, and the one piece of good news for Democrats is that they are prepared for the difficulty of this November's elections in a way they were not prepared for the rout of 1994.

__________________________________________


An excellent point. Instead of bending over the log and taking it dry, they'll have a moment to reach for the KY first.

Posted by: mlincoln1 | February 15, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

There is no sense having someone like elected as a democrat when he acts like a republican. I am glad he is not running. I would have no problem if he switches party.

Posted by: kevin1231 | February 15, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Why do people continue to call him a "centrist" or a "moderate" Democrat? This guy voted for the "stimulus" and let's not forget his vote for Obamacare. That was his chance to show his supposed independence. He could have killed Obamacare, but he didn't. You can't call yourself a "centrist" or "independent" if you keep voting for Obama's unpopular hard left agenda. Voters won't be fooled by Democrats who talk moderate but vote every step of the way to advance the party's unpopular agenda.

Posted by: Punditocracy | February 15, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

After betraying the people there was no way Bayh could get re-elected.

The problem here is that too many people have their eye on that Bayh vs. Coates poll.

Look at the half dozen other polls. They show the same thing. No name Republicans at xyz percent, and Bayh never once exceeding 45%.

He was doomed to electoral insignificance.

A regular election is coming up and the Democrat state committee thought it would get to name one of their cronies to run against whoever the Republicans select. Instead this ol'gal named Tamyra D'Ippolito was just 500 votes short of getting her nominating petitions qualified so she could run in the Democrat primary.

There are 2 days left.

She can get those 500 votes FROM REPUBLICANS.

She'll run unopposed in the primary; get the nomination; and the Republican, whoever that might be (there are several), will win.

Posted by: muawiyah | February 15, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I knew both Bayh and Time Roemer in their early political years. Bayh used to hang out with shady Mafia characters; Tim Roemer, by contrast, is a fine man, and he is not adverse to working hard.

I hope he runs for the seat; if he runs and wins, it will be the first beneficial thing Evan Bayh has done in his whole life. Stand aside.

Posted by: expat2MEX | February 15, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Evan. See you in the White House in Seven Years. ............... ......President Obama: Keep COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES from occuring and closing Small Businesses.....use 10% of the $787 Billion "JOBS" Bill our children will pay for; to AVOID 1930'S style, full-blown DEPRESSION !

Posted by: MSFT-PELOSI | February 15, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

A blow to the Dems?? THREE Republicans are leaving! I'd say the Republicans are the ones really taking the blow! I'd say it's about time for Dionne to take off his rose-colored glasses when he's looking at his own party!

Posted by: Maerzie | February 15, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

The further away from the center a person gets, the less rational they are in their analysis.


The Dems here who don't see their own party as being in dissaray, are VERY FAR to the LEFT of center.


It is they who we REPUBLICANS are going to thank for running the Democratic Party off a cliff.


November 2010: Can't wait for the Democratic Party debacle of the century!

Posted by: Indpnt1 | February 16, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Journalism is also a broken institution that nearly fictionalizes the political process and contributes to politicians reluctance to take prinicpled stands. Are you quitting, Mr. Dionne? In the Senate, except seeking the Presidency or Vice presidency by turns and voting for a tax cut here or there, Bayh left no footprints and barely any fingerprints. How did the press treat Palin for quitting? Bayh's resignation is self serving and small.

Posted by: eastport1 | February 16, 2010 4:50 AM | Report abuse

"There is no way for Democrats to sugarcoat the news of Sen. Evan Bayh's retirement: This is mighty good news for Republicans."

NOT JUST GOOD NEWS FOR THE REPUBLICANS... Independents, like me, and some smart Democrats understand what's going on...

They support a President that does not have a plan. They are "attached" to a President that "sure is bringing change" to Washington....

...From a Majority in the Congress and a Super Majority in the Senate "CHANGE IS OCCURRING"...

Posted by: analgesic33 | February 16, 2010 5:44 AM | Report abuse

"...the GOP is within striking distance of taking over the Senate, an unthinkable idea even a month or so ago.”

Unthinkable only to hacks like yourself. If you had read any non-liberal blog in the last five months, you would have picked up on the 41+ (what Dems will lose in the House) and 9+ (what Dems will lose in the Senate) chatter regarding mid-terms. But since you've been cheer-leading for Obama, of course it's a surprise to you. Oh, by the way, Dems will lose control of the House (just in case you were clueless about this as well).

Posted by: johnhiggins1990 | February 16, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats and this president deserved a blow, a drastic blow, sir.

And I for one am sincerely thankful to the senator for delivering it before the total collapse of our country.

Posted by: prossers7 | February 16, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

There are 11 Republicans retiring from the senate and 10 or 15 retiring from the House. The center right Democrats will win 5 or 6 more Senate seats and at least 15 more seats in the House in the mid-term election. All of you little big house middle classers who vote Republican might not have time to vote. You'll be working 18 hour days because of all the jobs that will be created by the Obama economic miracle. Jungle Jim will be on safari with Evan Bayh.

Posted by: ODDOWL | February 16, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

E.J.,

John Mellencamp has been added to the list. Might as well. Perfect Democrat candidate. Clueless and angry. He can teach Al Franken how to sing. Some numbskull North Dakotans wanted "Big Ed" Schultz of the hateful MSNBC pundit lineup to run out there. Ed was so proud when he announced it on the show. For all of his calls for the Democrats to "get tough" and his talk about "fighting words", there is no fight in old, fat Ed. Another lost seat. And E.J., when will you stop referring to the Democrats as "them" and construct your sentences with a "we". At least at MSNBC there is no pretense of impartiality.

Posted by: JackReacher | February 20, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

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