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The Case Against Evan Bayh

Yesterday we made the case for Barack Obama to pick Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh as his running mate. Today we argue the opposite side.

VP Watch

What Does He Believe In?

Depending on how you look at it, Bayh's centrist approach to governance is either evidence of his commitment to bipartisanship or a sign that he doesn't believe in much of anything.

Bayh is almost always in the ideological center of the Senate -- a position that has served him well in terms of electoral politics but has left many people wondering exactly what sits at the core of Bayh's governing philosophy.

One close observer of Bayh's decade in the Senate argued that he has yet to distinguish himself in that body, adding that there isn't a single issue on which Bayh has led. That may be something of an overstatement -- Bayh is a leading voice in the Democratic party on the looming threat from China -- but it is true that the Indiana senator is known far more for his style of politics (post-partisan centrism) than any core belief system.

Thumbing His Nose At Liberals

Obama and Bayh
Sens. Barack Obama and Evan Bayh at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., July 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

To the extent Bayh has organizing political principles, they come out of the Democratic Leadership Council, a group he chaired earlier this decade. The DLC is reviled by the emergent liberal left of the Democratic party particularly the blogosphere; in 2004, Markos Moulitsas, perhaps the most powerful member of the so-called "netroots" penned a post entitled "Time for the DLC to Die."

Obama, whose primary victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton was credited, at least in part, to his strong support from the party's liberal wing, has had rocky relations of late with this crucial bloc -- largely due to his decision to support a domestic surveillance bill that included immunity for telecommunications companies who handed over caller information to the government.

Picking Bayh has the potential to inflame this group even more -- not just because of his DLC ties but also because he was a leading proponent of the war in Iraq and voted in favor of the 2002 use of force resolution.

In an interview with Post editors and reporters in February 2006 -- as he was ramping up his exploration of a presidential bid -- Bayh refused, as some of his fellow Senators already had, to renounce his support for the war.

"We've got to be somewhere between 'cut and run' ... and mindlessly staying the course," Bayh said at the time. "You've got to have a sensible middle ground."

Picking Bayh likely would be seen as a slap in the face by some on the liberal left of the party. Would they abandon Obama for McCain because of it? Almost certainly not. But, they could wind up staying home, reducing the significant edge Democrats currently enjoy over Republicans in the battle of the bases.

Too Safe?

Bayh is widely seen as the safest pick Obama can make. He brings relatively little baggage (or potential baggage) to the ticket and is so on message that it's hard to see him making any big mistake while out campaigning in the fall.

But, the very safety that recommends Bayh to many Democrats is seen as a potential problem by others. The theory goes that Obama has generated so much excitement and interest from all sorts of people -- traditional Democratic constituencies and even those who have never been interested in politics before -- that picking a standard-issue Washington politician would drain some of the excitement and sense of "candidacy as movement" from Obama.

In essence: Bayh would be a charisma drain. He would break up the logic of the ticket, turning Obama into a conventional candidate in a year when out-of-the-box appeal is the hot commodity.

On the Record Problems

Bayh was one of the most prominent surrogates for Clinton during the primary season, and, to the surprise of many people, was extremely aggressive about his approach to Obama in the heat of the contest.

In an interview with the Post's own Dan Balz earlier this year Bayh seemed to suggest that Obama would be a weaker general election candidate due to his ties to his former pastor -- Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"You're running for president and people want to get a sense of who you are, and when you're new to the public stage you're a little more susceptible to having the canvas painted in by your political opponents," Bayh said.

In late 2007, Bayh said this following the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto: "The job of the next president is not to be entertainer in chief. The job of the next president is to move our country forward to make the substantive changes that will matter in our daily lives, and to protect us in an uncertain and dangerous world."

There are other quotes -- trust us. And, while it's important to note that none of these quotes are silver bullets that would destroy Obama (or Bayh), a collection of them could be damaging if played the right way in a television commercial by the opposition. The Republican National Committee has already used Bayh's comments in a release hitting Obama and if the Indiana senator is the pick the pace would undoubtedly increase.

Agree? Disagree? What did we miss in making the case against Bayh? Feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments section.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 23, 2008; 9:40 AM ET
Categories:  Veepstakes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: McCain Veep Pick: Feint or For Real?
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On the Veep thing...Caroline Kennedy is my first choice. Sebelius is second. Choosing Hillary and Bill would, unfortunately, be like Caesar choosing Brutus.
On McCain's daily bowel movement about Obama working out and also canceling a visit to wounded troops, there's no connection between the two.
However, wouldn't it be amusing to see video of Captain America working out? That's a picture you won't see.

Posted by: JMFulton, Jr. | July 27, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't care who Obama picks as his VP, he has my vote I know being from Indiana Bayh was a good Governor. I worked for the State of Indiana under Republican Governor's our wages were frozen for years.Under Bayh our wages were increased in both of his terms.Connie from Indiana

Posted by: Connie form Indiana | July 26, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

As an democratic-leaning independent, I hope Obama picks Bayh. Obama needs a strong fiscal moderate and experienced executive to balance the ticket. Forget about the liberals. They are with Obama no matter what. He needs to win independents and blue-collar dems to win. I would prefer to not vote Republican, and Bayh is the only choice who will keep me from voting for McCain.

Posted by: Sean | July 26, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I love it how the poster below me said that Evan Bayh is as boring as Al Gore and Dick Cheney.

I guess he overlooked the fact that Clinton/Gore and Bush/Cheney won their presidential respective elections....twice!

Obama / Bayh 2008 !!

Posted by: Greg | July 25, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Bayh can speak equally comfortably with Wall Street, and blue collar America."

I'm afraid it's more like, "Bayh can act on behalf of Wall Street while convincing the blue collar worker he's doing their business." Mostly, Wall Street wins and the blue collar worker loses.

Posted by: Alan | July 25, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Adam - When are the American people going to actually look at a person's positions, rather than base their vote on whom they'd like to hang out with in Vegas?

Evan Bayh may not be as charismatic as Obama, but who is? bush was less charismatic than reagan. Gore was less charismatic than Clinton. cheney was less charismatic (though more intelligent) than bush II. So, who gives a rat's behind about "charisma."

Maybe Obama will actually look at the substance of the person in choosing a VP. Bayh was a two-term Democratic Governor of a state that has usually been republican territory. He won by landslides because he is fiscally conservative, and reaches across the isle to forge common ground? What is wrong with that?

As somebody else said below, Bayh also has a strong track record on the issue that will most be on voters' minds this election - THE ECONOMY. Bayh can speak equally comfortably with Wall Street, and blue collar America.

If Obama is about bringing people together, doesn't it make sense that he should pick a person that has been doing exactly that for his entire career? Otherwise, maybe Obama could just pick an old drinkin' buddy because he is "charismatic."

Posted by: Steve in Cleveland | July 24, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse


When is the national media going to ask John Edwards if the National Enquirer story is true or not? My gosh, if you read there article you have to ask some serious questions about the judgment of John Edwards.

How difficult is it for a major newspaper reporter to just ask him if the story is true or not.

Why hasn't Sen Edwards come out and vigorously denied the contents of the story.

Posted by: Christian | July 24, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I could care less about Bayh's effect on the ticket. What is terrifying about Bayh is his actually being the Vice-President. The man would make the robust role of the Gore and Cheney Vice-Presidencies a joke, and can anyone really imagine Evan Bayh as President, the whole nation would fall asleep. Obama would be doing serious damage by picking Bayh.

Posted by: Adam | July 24, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I could care less about Bayh's effect on the ticket. What is terrifying about Bayh is his actually being the Vice-President. The man would make the robust role of the Gore and Cheney Vice-Presidencies a joke, and can anyone really imagine Evan Bayh as President, the whole nation would fall asleep. Obama would be doing serious damage by picking Bayh.

Posted by: Adam | July 24, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Nobody will ever make Obama seem boring.

Obama-Bayh '08

Posted by: Willa | July 24, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Bayh took up the case for sovereign wealth funds recently. Those are foreign government owned investment companies flush with billions from your gas money. Guess who's 7.5% owned by a SWF? It's The Carlyle Group, #7 on Evan's lifetime donor list.

Bayh is centrist DLC. According to CQPolitics, they met with their Republican counterparts with guest private equity giant, Pete Peterson. Pete wants private equity underwriters (PEU's) to keep their preferred tax status, 15% vs.34%, while cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The second guilded age is here and Bayh's facilitating it.

Posted by: Alan | July 24, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting observations, but nonetheless, Bayh is absolutely & unequivocally certain to be the next vice president.

Click here (if you dare!):

Posted by: Lisajm | July 24, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I think the concern in the liberal blogosphere about Bayh might be overblown. I'm curious what Kos thinks about the pick. Kos is VERY practical, and he wants to win. He probably understands that if Bayh delivers Indiana the election is over. Also, Bayh has stated clearly that knowing what he knows now he would not have supported the Iraq War. That is probably enough. Remember, the netroots supported Edwards even though Edwards initially voted for the war, and they also rallied around Kerry in 2004 after Dean was defeated.

Posted by: Gerardo | July 24, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

sorry chris

I figured it out!

That's it... 2 lefties on a ticket means you win and have a successful presidency...

Reagan and Bush sr.

Clinton and Gore

two different tickets both with

Posted by: dl | July 24, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I figured it out Colin Powell! He was a lefty too. lol

oh but they'll never elect 2...lefties on a ticket.

Posted by: dl | July 24, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

sorry george jr wasn't a lefty.
but says something that
Reagan was ambi dextrous lefty when he was younger - but back when they forced you to write righty.
Bush Sr.

Carter wasn't and neither was Georgie Jr.

but the guy who actually really won the President in 2000 Al Gore was.

Luckily this time...both Barack and Mccain are both lefties.

maybe one of these vp's are lefty

Posted by: dl | July 24, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

...and I don't know who said but yeah Bayh may be a nice guy...but he wouldn't have beat McCain...

sorry the one thing you HAVE to have now to run for President to win... charming spunk.

He's nice but mccain crushes him on the charming spunk thing...

look at Al Gore who had better qualifications than Bush...but when he ran boring as all heck.

George Bush Sr. was more qualified than Clinton...but Clinton crushed him on charming spunk.

Reagan ...charming spunk
Carter...yeah believe it or not look he had charming spunk.

Obama has some... but McCain has it too...

and all of them ...lefties. lol

Posted by: dl | July 24, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

John reynolds and the rest really sorry but I know you are trying hard to amke a huge case for picking Bayh because of Indiana but the numbers if you take them all apart state by state...aand compare to trends in past elections and the issues and trends in the primary

yeah the case for Bayh securing Indiana is just not a huge one...first because in the electoral map that we all are looking at it's a nice add but their are other blue collar candidates that bring us close

and the fact is Bayh doesn't have "it"

but even more importantly than that ...he said some really not so great things about obama on tape in the primary... a lot worse than even someone like John Edwards or Joe Biden...or even Hillary it would at least have already been on the table and expected since she was the one running against him.

These comments that are cued up and waiting in Foxnews production offices. and don't think they wouldn't be played at a VP debate...

that combined with the sheer fact that he is milktoast and alooks like a number of other candidates who didn't really bring anything to the ticket besides a state but were "quiet and not risky"...

yeah it just doesn't add up to a good pick.


It's going to be Biden

that is why when Obama could take one assistant on the trip with him...Reed and Hagel brought their own...Obama brought Biden's.

and he really does get confused with a Pert model...or maybe it's Prell.

Posted by: dl | July 24, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

The ironic part of this conversation is that if Evan Bayh was the Democratic nominee for President, he would beat McCain handily. He may not have rock-start charisma, but neither does McCain. He does have the experience that many of us are concerned about -- this isn't an easy job. Some bring up Bush's inexperience, but that just makes the point NOT to take a chance on someone with no real accomplishments.

This should have been the Democrats' year for a rout, but they have cowered to the extreme left, and it is now a competitive race. By the way, there are a lot more pro-life Dems than you may realize. Moveon may have the vocal radicals, but they only get one vote per-person, same as the legion of pro-life Democrats.

Posted by: Risk Reward | July 23, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps most importantly, if Obama wins, then the Democrats will be out a Senator in a state whose gubernatorial race is up for grabs.

That has to be a calculation, or at least a reason to follow the Indiana gubernatorial race closely if Bayh is chosen (and Obama wins), as the Governor will get to choose the replacement.

Posted by: verasoie | July 23, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

First, I'm biased in favor of Bayh because I'm a Hoosier. That said, I'm a liberal Dem and have supported Obama from day 1. I firmly believe that Bayh is the best choice among the remaining candidates. Unlike many liberals, I know the difference between being right and winning. I think it's sometimes difficult for liberals to accept that liberalism is at it's core a class perspective--not epitome of reason. Anyway, on to my reasons why we need Bayh.

First, I can't imagine Obama winning Indiana w/o Bayh--and even that will be tough. Just look at Indiana's voting record in Presidential elections. Second, I don't think we can count on Ohio any more. I'm not sure what's going on down there but I have the sense that it's become more and more infested with Christian conservatives. Third, Michigan will be difficult if McCain gives Romney the VP nod. The Romney name has a lot of cache here and Romney loves to spout his pie in the sky promises about how Republicans will return the manufacturing sector to its prior glory. This state is in desperate financial condition--and has been for at least 3 years. We are tired of being laughed at and taken for granted. Obama/Bayh/Gore can bring some real hope of transforming the Midwest into a center piece in the green economy of the future.

The only objection that really concerns me in the least about Bayh is the prospect of the Dems losing his Senate seat. However, just about every one of my relatives in Southern Indian hates Mitch Daniels with a passion--even those who never voted Dem in their lives. I've heard several hard core Republicans party activists say they will never support him again. I haven't seen any polls but unless there's been some miraculous turn around in the last few months, I don't see him getting another term--especially with all the excitement Dems have this year. My 2 cents.

Posted by: Scott from Michigan | July 23, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse


Indiana, a state that has only voted Democrat for president one time in over 50 years, will be Obama's if he selects Bayh.

If you will recall -- historically, at least -- Kennedy selected Johnson as a strategic move to win Texas, and win the presidency. And, Texas was the state that made the difference for Kennedy! Kennedy became president because Johnson was on the ticket.

Bayh on the ticket will deliver Indiana to Obama.

Now, add up all the other states that are in Obama's column for sure ... everything where all the polls agree he is up by 8% or so.

Hmmm. See what I mean? With Indiana, Obama pretty clearly has enough electoral votes.

So, all the other arguments and thoughts are interesting, although not germane.

Bayh=Obama being president [without Ohio, without Florida, and without Bull***!]

Posted by: John Reynolds | July 23, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza's conclusion is right but for the wrong reason. Bayh, is no longer a centrist but since 2004 has moved significantly to the left. He is against almost all trade agreements, has come out against the Iraq War, and voted against both Alito and Roberts. Cillizza, is usually on point but this time he relies on reputation as opposed to facts on the ground.

Posted by: Ian | July 23, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

sorryjoe in columbus

was being funny...something again Obama needs and Bayh really doesn't bring.

Bayh is Mitt Romney and George Bush comes from money.

But yeah sorry to insult you but Bayh is miilktoast and most of America would have to learn that he is Presidential...because no one knows that. and yeah even though it is funny and sorry insulting I think a lot of people would say, "is that the guy who use to do the head and shoulders commercials back in the 80's?"

we have tried the non dicript VP that does not make waves...

Obama doesn't need that...Hillary would have needed that but obama doesn't need that...he needs familiarity...a foreign policy EXPERT...and someone who seems like they have a little blue collar in them...

Bayh wasn't running against John McCain when he ran before.

and as far as the governor thing...I don't think America cares that much especially since it is counter-intuitive to have for a VICE president.

sorry...the individual leadership thing is not about the resume as much as how they carry themselves in the past...Governor's have carried themselves like "the boss"...

Obama already does that.

Posted by: dl | July 23, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

It would be foolish for Obama NOT to choose Evan Bayh as his running mate. Why? Because all the other choices are pretty retarded.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS? LMAO! And they say Bayh is "boring"?!? At least Bayh can deliver his homestate and has foreign policy experience. (And he has a penis). She looks like a church lady in a power suit and talks funny. Next.

TIM KAINE? I live in Northern Virginia, and let me tell you he isn't incredibly popular here and the guy has no charisma and he looks kinda funny. Plus, he is pro-life. Obama might very well alienate women voters with this choice, something he cannot afford under any circumstances. In addition, something about him strikes me as an angry.

JOE BIDEN. An arrogant East Coast blowhard with no executive experience. Too many skeletons are lurking in that closet, I can feel it. Plus, he is a plagarizer and VOTED for the Iraq war! Which is why I don't understand lefties that think Bayh is unacceptable but Biden somehow is?!?! LOL. Please help me understand the logic behind that one.

CHRIS DODD. No executive experience. Is a typical Northeastern liberal Democrat. Good luck with Dodd in places like Ohio and Missouri. Next!

BRIAN SCHWEITZER. He would be okay if he wasn't an awkward, funny looking fat man.

The only choices I like for Obama are Ed Rendell, Mark Warner, and Evan Bayh. Since Ed Rendell is not going to accept and Mark Warner is busy running for Senate, that leaves Evan Bayh, which is a pretty good choice IMO.

Clean cut, no baggage, can probably deliver Indiana and plays well in states like Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan, 8 years as governor and 10 years in the senate. A real nice, likeable guy. Centrist Democrat. Passes the test of "Do No Harm" and doesn't upstage Obama. They look good together.

Plus, junior needs a little adult supervision anyway, so I say he goes with Bayh.

Posted by: Moderate Democrat | July 23, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Chris is correct, Bayh would be a bore. What's his father doing, that would work. Eventhough DC Dems might hate it, I like a Chuck Hagel choice. Too bad Napolitano is from AZ. She's a ____er but wouldn't be able to pry her state from AZ's senior Senator. If Obama really wants to make a splash, why not choose a working mom who is a poet and deep thinker. Caroline Kennedy. That would be a wow.

Posted by: george s | July 23, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Bayh is a very safe, boring pick, but doesn't reinforce the change message. Chet Edwards or Brian Schweizer would be excellent picks. Chris is wrong in saying that and no one says to VP (McCain turned down Kerry). If he does change his mind, Webb would be the best pick.

Posted by: renu1 | July 23, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

dl's comments below are absolutely ridiculous, and unnecessarily insulting.

Evan Bayh has not only survived in blue-collar America, he has thrived there. Edwards could not bring his own state to Kerry, and he won't bring it for Obama. He is a trial lawyer, and that is how people view him. Done.

Hillary brings too much baggage, and only decided to become a friend of working people when it suited her.

Bayh is considered VERY substantive on national security and economic issues. He has the respect and a loyal following in Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky.

A "head and shoulders model?" I won't even dignify that with a response. Any Democrat that with landslide victories in red-state Indiana has all the "cajones" I need in a VP.

Posted by: JoeinColombus | July 23, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Can someone reach over to the PA and turn it down for a moment or two. Scrivenor keeps echoing that same screed all over the joint. Cut the overdriven feedback for a moment and maybe that particular echo will die out.

Posted by: | July 23, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I was nervous about checking out your piece today Chris (because I'm for Bayh) but after reading it, I breathed a sigh of relief. That's all you've got?

Posted by: Justin | July 23, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Typos are so easy, but please, can we add this one to the English Language:

bovious hostility.


Posted by: | July 23, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Get one thing straight, if a true centrist party gets organized, it will hold Congress and the White House in a permanent strangle hold that Rove and Delay would truly appreciate, (and despise every remaining day of their lives)

A party that can draw the center most 40% of the electorate consistently always has the largest plurality, and therefore elects its people. Period. Ross Perot senses this, but can't quite figure out how to make it work. NOBODY else seems to get it, or we would have a "American Center (Socialist?) Party, that chugged along with no real opposition for generations.

Being a deadcentrist (you need to put that word in the dictionary, lest referring to a dead centrist generate deliberate confusion.) is in fact a positive for EB.

Posted by: | July 23, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I am an Independent and am considering Obama now, but would definately vote for him if Senator Bayh is on the ticket.

Posted by: Theresa | July 23, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

9 times out of 10

the ticket with more "b#lls" more "macho" or more "blue collar" wins.

The only thing that can trump that is inspiration...but it better be backed up by a vp candidate that has some cajones.

Hillary (no pun) and Edwards bring more cajones than Evan Bayh does.

Posted by: dl | July 23, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

and you don't pick a vp because he brings one state...even if it is a swing state...

Pennsylvania may be an influence but not Indiana...especially when another blue collar liked candidate can do similar.

Saying Bayh can bring Indiana and/or because he supported Clinton is just unbelievably weak.

Obama doesn't want a wimpy seeming VP mark my words... and no matter what anyone says...most people mistake Evan Bayh for a Head and Shoulders model from the early 80's.

Posted by: dl | July 23, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

again Bayh, Edwards, Quayle, Lieberman...

milktoast... and not enough of a household name. and his foreign policy gravitas is not compelling in the slightest.

Bush Sr. may have won with Milktoast but he had been VP for 8 years himself.

Bill Clinton may have won with a then "more milktoast" al gore... but Bill Clinton was very funny and had a macho gubanatorial swagger.

Obama needs blue collar...a little funny... a little stronger and a lot more well known VP.

I know I am a broken record but as messy as Biden is... Obama needs a "familiar face that could be president"...

and I don't think Obama is boring and traditional in his choices that he makes...enough to pick Bayh anyway.

and unfortunately no one knows who Kaine is...and/or who Kaine will be replaced by.
and Reed shallow as it sounds the photo op is horrible because of the circus like height differential.

Posted by: dl | July 23, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Look man Evan Bayh is the best pick- Obama leads Indiana by .05 thats not much- Evan Bayh had a 80% approval when he finished his terms as a governor- Sebelius , Richardson both should have important jobs on his cabinet someone has to fix homeland security and please can the FDA work as well as UPS please. Sec of state is Biden for sure- Obama could win with him at the 2 spot as well but I always see the sec of state getting more action anyway But you know what if I drink a few beers I wanna see Biden handing Mccains and whatever his picks ass back to them Biden speaks what he feels and I usally agree if he was the Sen. of Michigan this discussion would be over.

Posted by: Bonkaz | July 23, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse


I think it speaks to Bayh's strengths how really weak the arguments against him are. The questions Obama is going to ask are these:

1-Can Bayh be President? Answer: Yes...heck he was governor of a state for 8 years and Senator for 10.

2-Can He Work With Him? Answer: Yes. They do already and have no bovious hostility.

3-Personal Chemistry? They seemed totally comfortable in Indiana last week, are friends, have common interests, etc.

4-Will Bayh Help Him Win? Answer: Yes. All Obama needs to be President is the Kerry states (252 EV) plus Iowa (7 EV) and Indiana (11 EV). Obama leads big in Iowa and leads by 1 in IN...Bayh would lock down IN and therefore the election.

Posted by: Cederico | July 23, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Chris -- you forgot to mention the all powerful electoral math! Yes, Bayh is popular in his home state, but Obama already comes from an adjacent state and he did pretty darned well in Indiana during the primary -- with Bayh working hard for the other side. Obama has already shown strength in states bordering his own. I think he will look for a veep 'outside the neighborhood'.

Posted by: Julia Kelly | July 23, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't need anyone to lean on. My judgment is impeccable. even when it's wrong, like the surge. you think Bush had problems admitting mistakes, at least he admitted the surge was needed. I can't even say it after it's proven. I am that arrogant.

Posted by: snObama | July 23, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Experience, experience, experience.
When it comes to experience, Senator Bayh outshines all others on the "short list". Though he is known as Senator Bayh, many forget that he served two full terms as Governor prior to his entry into the senate. I feel that prior service as a State Governor is critical for a presidential or VP choice. Sadly neither Senator Obama nor Senator McCain have had this experience. Being the Governor of a state is akin to running a small country. Serving a term or two as a senator, one does not gain the broad experience necessary to lead this nation. Senator Bayh has performed well in both positions. I would like for our next president to have someone with Senator Bayhs experience to lean on during these troubled times.
Just my 2 cents.....

Posted by: R. Breshears | July 23, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"One close observer of Bayh's decade in the Senate argued that he has yet to distinguish himself in that body, adding that there isn't a single issue on which Bayh has led."

and yet his record for leadership is much stronger than Baracks

Posted by: Anonymous | July 23, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

what are you talkin about. I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan. I am very experienced.

Posted by: snObama | July 23, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Experience is a real issue for voters who will decide this election. Bayh is the only experienced choice who is not old.

Posted by: tim | July 23, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Bayh is not a centrist, he is right of center. For example, he voted for the 2005 bankruptcy reform act (or BAPCPA, which Obama opposed and has recently criticized McCain for supporting), and the flag burning amendment (which, again, Obama opposed on the ground that "we must balance our respect for the flag with reverence for the Constitution") - both of which were opposed by a solid majority of Senate Dems. And if Bayh's judgment in matters of national security is so impressive, then how did he come not only to vote for the Iraq war, but also to serve with the likes of McCain, Bill Kristol and Obama-basher Randy Scheunemann on the so-called Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (which Bayh actually co-chaired). If there is a unifying principle in Bayh's Senate record, it is the desire to do whatever will most help him reach the Oval Office and to avoid anything that might possibly hinder his upward mobility. Hence his lack of leadership. True leadership requires not only vision but the boldness to take a stand, even a controversial one. No one will ever accuse Bayh of being bold. His is not the face of "change we can believe in"; it is the face of "sameness we are afraid to abandon". Bayh represents politics as usual - the opposite of the message which Obama has been preaching, and to which millions of voters have responded with astounding passion. Having said all that, I expect that Obama will pick Bayh because he represents the safety of blandness. Obama could do better, but he probably will not; and I am very sorry for it.

Posted by: Midwest Voter | July 23, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The Carlyle Group fell from #3 to #7 on Bayh's lifetime donor list, but stands at a healthy $75,000.

Bayh's healthcare platform centers on giving Americans access to "affordable health insurance." Note the focus on insurance vs. actual care. Mrs. Susan Bayh sits on the Board of WellPoint, a huge health insurer. Flipping her stock options provided ample income for the Bayh household the last few years.

Bayh's freshness is the typical D.C. variety, sticking hands in other people's pockets. If we want more influence selling, Evan's the ticket.

Should Evan almighty get the VP nod, the GIM (government-industrial monstrosity) should be very pleased. GIM is Eisenhower's military-industrial complex on steroids.

Posted by: Alan | July 23, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

tim - since I pointed out how stupid liberals were, I guess it is proper to respond with something utterly idiotic.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 23, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

To LibEconomics

I guess you prefer the Republicans economic scheme that makes the private sector $5 poorer for every dollar the government is poorer.

Hope you enjoy the new day. Republicans are obviously incapable of a coherent domestic or foreign policy.

Good riddance to the stupid and the evil - The Right Wing!

Posted by: Tim from Silver Spring | July 23, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Social Security Tax Plan [Larry Kudlow]

Cato tax expert Dan Mitchell just emailed me his new video analyzing Obama's class-warfare Social Security tax scheme. It's definitely worth a look.

As Larry Lindsey recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "It is shocking to think that we have a presidential candidate who would make the private sector $5 poorer in order to make the government $1 richer."

Posted by: Lib economics | July 23, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Inconvenient Testimony [Chris Horner]

Yesterday, Dr. Roy Spencer testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

His comments were of no interest to the media, for the very simple reason that he said the "wrong" thing.

The career scientist's research (as opposed to quasi-religious enviro-dogma) reveals Earth's climate to be far less sensitive than those computer modelers assume in order to produce their alarmist scenarios -- scenarios that, year in and year out, continue to be proven wrong by observations.

We don need no stinkin facts. we're liberals

Posted by: al gore - call your office | July 23, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama has built his whole campaign on his opposition to the Iraq War. Choosing anyone -- Bayh, Clinton, whoever -- who voted for the war would be a huge mistake.

Posted by: ponpal | July 23, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Darn reality, intruding on my Liberal utopia. how can I only be two points ahead? with all my promises? I will simply have to promise more.

Posted by: snObama | July 23, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse



There is a constitutional crisis in this country. This is the charge: The rule of law has broken down on the local level across the nation. Bands of well equipped private citizens, tacitly and materially supported by elements of the power structure at multiple levels, are bypassing the legal system. The charge is that this extra-legal militia is patrolling the streets, stalking and harassing, allegedly inflicting physical harm upon persons targeted by this extra-legal control mechanism, which denies them their constitutionally protected right of due process under the law.

Even uniformed police are reported to have been intimidated by this network of extra-legal control, using volunteer citizens as the "street muscle."

Victims say that in addition to being physically harassed, their property is being vandalized; their privacy is being invaded; their mail is intercepted, financial and billing statement altered, family finances decimated; and their physical well-being has been compromised, using hi-tech modes of physical punishment.

Victims charge that a network of bureaucratic programs appears to work in tandem with this extra-legal control mechanism.


Some of the agencies looking into those matters may have long-standing knowledge of these programs.

President Clinton often talked about "the politics of personal destruction." Hillary Clinton warned against the "vast right-wing conspiracy," a concern she reaffirmed, albeit in milder descriptive language, in her autobiography, "Living History."

The network of programs and policies that are allegedly circumventing the judicial system, violating constitutional rights and meting out vigilante justice, might collectively be termed the MECHANICS of personal destruction.

It's alleged to be happening all over, in virtually every city and town and county in the nation -- including right there in Washington and in bedroom communities across the river.

It is the rule of the jungle supplanting the rule of law. And there is testimony that horrific, silent and potentially deadly microwave, laser and x-ray weapons -- "directed energy weapons" which are replacing traditional armaments -- are being used by rogue elements to slowly degrade the health and destroy the livelihoods of targeted persons.

I wonder aloud whether Bill and Hillary Clinton weren't trying to warn the rest of us about an evil that even the power of the presidency could not keep in check.

I know your beat is politics. Chris. But politics, and the entire electoral process, is being marginalized, relegated to little more than window dressing, as true power is stolen away by a neo-fascist element that has found a way to seize the true reins of power and authority. It is analogous to what John Dean called "a cancer" -- not just on the presidency, but on the entire body politic.

Amazing as it sounds, this powerful apparatus appears to exist under the radar of most elected members of Congress. Those who should know, perhaps they believe such activity, so-called "black ops," exists to target "terrorists," so-called enemies of the state. They naively refuse to believe that these programs, over time, appear to have morphed into a vast system of extra-legal vigilante control not unlike the East German Stasi, the KKK of the old South, the Gestapo of the Nazi Third Reich -- and that these programs effectively deny American citizens their constitutional rights.

This appears to be nothing less than neo-fascism under the guise of "national security" and "keeping America safe." And liberals and progressives, arguably disproportionately targeted by these programs, naively insist that "it can't happen here." Among the most complicit in this regard: the national mainstream media. Only the Libertarians seem to perceive the threat.

Whoever is elected the next president will inherit these programs. That person, if he learns of such programs, is likely to be told of their necessity and propriety -- that such an extra-legal control mechanism, using citizen vigilantes as street "muscle" and extra-legal programs targeting financial resources, can co-exist with democracy. In fact, this extra-legal control mechanism is destroying our democracy; much damage already has been done. Individuals and families are being slowly destroyed. Some call it a "silent holocaust" due to its clandestine nature and the use of silent, invisible directed energy technology.

I've written about this neo-fascist threat based on first-hand experience. I post this here because I know that the national media reads this blog. I do so at risk to my personal well-being. But I do so because there is a crisis in our nation; the boil must be lanced before the national body politic becomes fatally infected.

Here are the links to two articles I've written about this imminent danger to our constitutional democracy. I urge you and your colleagues to study this issue, do some research, and start asking some tough questions, starting with the Department of Homeland Security:

"Mr. Chertoff, are you aware that many Americans believe they have been the victims of so-called community or gang stalking, possibly perpetrated by persons equipped and trained by federally funded volunteer programs under your charge? Have you heard of such reports, and are you investigating to ensure that these programs and their resources are not being misused?"

That would be a good place to start. I believe it goes much deeper; but the curative process must begin before more Americans are seriously damaged by this descent from the rule of law to the nihilist rule of the jungle.

A FINAL NOTE: My communications are subject to constant disruption. I would appreciate it if Fix readers would forward the links below to people you know at the,, or any other group that could help. I can't do this alone; and I have put myself at some risk already.


Posted by: scrivener | July 23, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

against the DLC - There is a gubernatorial election this year in Indiana. With Bayh on the nation ticket it boosts Long Thompson's chances (significantly) of beating the incumbent republican. Then she can appoint a successor to Bayh.

Besides, Gore came from a republican leaning state, and thank God Clinton put him on the ticket. Al Gore bolstered the Dem ticket in '92, and was one of the most successful VPs in history.

Posted by: Indy Guy | July 23, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

McCain should not get trapped into surge dialectics, but stay on 5-6 domestic themes: he wants to transition us to green energy through drilling, nuclear, clean coal, and all our resources; Obama has bought into Gorism and thinks we can hope and change our way magically to "wind, solar, and millions of new jobs in green energies"; McCain will close the border first and discuss the thorny issues later; Obama won't. McCain will cut federal spending and pay off debt, Obama wants a trillion dollars in new entitlements; McCain won't raise taxes; Obama's could make the top brackets pay, European-style, 65 percent in state and federal taxes, and stifle economic growth with new levies on capital gains, inheritances, payroll, and income; McCain will appoint judges who follow and interpret, not create, laws; Obama will do the opposite; McCain knows the military and what it can do to protect American interests; Obama wants to create a shadow civilian force "that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the $500 billion a year Pentagon.

That should be his message, and he should not get involved with pro-Obama pundits refining and upgrading Obama's latest incarnations on Iraq. Even biased reporters are chaffing at the new gospels of Obamism, and the carefully scripted appearances designed to limit exposure to the sort of circus we see at the White House Press room, and eventually will want more impromptu Obama.

Posted by: vdh | July 23, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

i've said it before, and i'll say it again: removing a democratic senator from what has been a reliably republican state is folly. even if he's a conservative democrat, he still helps get the party to 60 in the senate.

obama can't do anything if he can't get the legislation to his desk.

Posted by: against the DLC | July 23, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama has a problem: What do you do when you're a lightly accomplished one-term senator, a former state legislator from Illinois, a Harvard law graduate who has no substantive record of accomplishments, and you are running against a war hero whom polls show that Americans overwhelmingly view as far more fit to be commander in chief?

Pose, of course.

What else can a guy like Obama do?

So the man who would be president of the United States of America flies around the world in the middle of a political campaign, enlisting the U.S. military and the Berlin Wall as free campaign commercial backdrops, to lend him the emotional weight and substance -- the aura as a commander -- that he hasn't yet earned on his own.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell was the one journalist with the courage to name what she was actually seeing happen: Obama faking even being interviewed by the press.

"Let me say something about the message management. He didn't have reporters with him, he didn't have a press pool, he didn't do a press conference," either in Afghanistan or Iraq, noted Mitchell on the air. Instead Obama manufactured "what some would call 'fake interviews,' because they are not interviews from a journalist," Mitchell went on.

Poor John McCain. He's so last-century. Still living in a world in which deeds matter, policies matter, what you would actually do with the power entrusted to you matters.

Posted by: maggie g | July 23, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

It is more than a little pathetic to hear nightly network news reporters talking about Obama's overseas trip in terms of his gaining needed national-security experience and foreign-policy credentials. As if a few days abroad can miraculously give anyone the experience to be commander in chief in a time of war.

The irony is that the much-improved situation Obama observed in Iraq and the lessons he learned in a few hours of briefings from Petraeus were the result of a war strategy the junior senator has repeatedly rejected and ridiculed throughout his campaign. Bush approved the surge, but it has McCain's name written all over it.

It's cool. I am used to claiming credit for things I didn't do. since I have done nothing, that is my only option. but I did write a book about myself - twice.

Posted by: snObama | July 23, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Markets were also blamed for the Great Depression of the 1930s and New Deal politicians were credited with getting us out of it. But increasing numbers of economists and historians have concluded that it was government intervention which prolonged the Great Depression beyond that of other depressions where the government did nothing.

The stock market crash of 1987 was at least as big as the stock market crash in 1929. But, instead of being followed by a Great Depression, the 1987 crash was followed by 20 years of economic growth, with low inflation and low unemployment. The Reagan administration did nothing in 1987, despite outrage in the media at the government's failure to live up to its responsibility, as seen in liberal quarters. But nothing was apparently what needed to be done, so that markets could adjust. The last thing politicians can do in an election year is nothing. So we can look for all sorts of "solutions" by politicians of both parties. Like most political solutions, these are likely to make matters worse. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

Posted by: tom | July 23, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

It may not be fair, but Bayh has always struck me as Quayle Lite.

Posted by: FlownOver | July 23, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Mike b - will clinton bring her husband and all his interns to work with her? will Edwards bring his mistress and love child to DC?

Just wondering?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 23, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax Voter - I don't much care who Obama chooses as VP so long as it isn't some ratbag NeoCon or Wall Street connected type. As an avowed "Clinton hater" I have come to the conclusion that she would be the best choice, though, if there is some way of keeping Bill away from the White House. Hillary is tough as nails, is one heck of a good campaigner, has very similar ideas to Obama, has recently come into her own as a leader, and would make for an extremely effective *activist* VP and would even make a pretty good President. Bayh has absolutely no personality. So... Clinton, Clinton, Clinton! Outside of John Edwards, there isn't anyone else.

McCain, like it or not, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. The mis-speakering, public confusion, uncontrolled anger, and a lot of other signs clearly point that way. The old beloved hero-maverick John McCain has given way to a crazy old coot. It looks like a whole lot people are waking up to that sad fact. The media is even, in a very halting manner, beginning to take note and even mention that as a "possibility". CBS went so far as to edit out some pretty weird comments and mis-statement from their interview with him. As the voters wake up to this, McCain's potential as a possible President are going out the window. What I am waiting for, now, is to see if the GOP takes enough note of this to dump him before the election. My bet is they will and look for Romney, the darling of the Wall Street crowd and NeoCons anyways, to be foisted off on McCain as his VP "choice". Then, pressure will come to bear for McCain drop out with Romney running as the Republican candidate in the general. This all sounds rather Byzantine and tin-foil-hat stuff, but it is looking more likely every day. At least, this is what I think is going to happen and I am usually not that far off in analysing trends.

The "in memory of McCain" sympathy vote, a ton of money, a negative campaign using the internet and paid bloggers as "Swift Boater 2008", and a series of rapid and unpredictable changes is going to make the general election a mess and a lot closer and far more dangerous than people think. I genuinely believe that an Obama-Clinton ticket (or, but he says not, an Obama-Edwards ticket) is about the only thing that will weather this storm.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 23, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Adding to the point I just made, picking Obama would not only hand the GOP a Senate seat, but it would probably be filled by someone very conservative.

I suspect Gov. Daniels would appoint former GOP Congressman David McIntosh. I've met Mr. McIntosh, and on a personal level I like him quite a bit. But politically he's slightly to the right of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

When Gov. Daniels ran in 2004, Mr. McIntosh stepped aside in the primaries to unify the state GOP (an act that President Bush publicly thanked him for during a fundraising event in Indiana). I have a feeling if Gov. Daniels were able to appoint a Senate seat, he would repay Mr. McIntosh for that favor.

Posted by: Hoosier Paul | July 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

These conditions simply did not exist at the beginning of the war. We had to create them.

In May 2003, there were only about 8,000 Iraqi Security Forces. By the end of 2003 they had grown to 100,000. By January of 2007, when the surge was announced, there were 323,000 Iraqi forces. Today there are almost 500,000. And as those numbers grew, those forces were being trained by people like General Petraeus. They worked more and more with coalition troops. They took control over more areas of Iraq. They gained combat experience.

In short, you can't go from 8,000 rag-tag troops accustomed to the Baathist Army's corrupt chain-of-command to 500,000 soldiers willing and capable of working with the modern, professional US military overnight. It took years. In fact, I'd say it took about four years.

And what about the "attitudinal shift among certain elements of the Iraqi population?" You think holding three successful and honest elections (remember the purple fingers), a functioning parliament and an accepted constitution might have had something to do with it? Those things didn't happen overnight, or painlessly, either.

You can say the surge worked, but it only worked because of what came before it. And what came before it took a good four years of pain and cost. President Bush told us long ago it would be "hard work" that would take "patience." To all those "told you so" types, please repeat after me: "President Bush was right."

You think the Iraq war was bad? It could have been worse. In fact, let's look at how much was accomplished before the surge.

Saddam's regime was ousted in about one month, with relatively few US fatalities and limited Iraqi civilian fatalities. Since April of 2003, the operation has been one of countering the ruthless insurgents, often foreign and al-qaida, while assisting the greater Iraqi population to be self-governing.
Israel, Saudi Arabia and other countries were not drawn into the conflict. The war did not spread throughout the region. In fact, the conflict was largely confined to five provinces within Iraq.
The two months of highest US troop fatalities occurred in 2004 and the rate appeared to be falling until about 2006 (an election year -- coincidence?).
Multiple Iraqi elections were held by the end of 2005. The transitional authority was replaced with an Iraqi-run government elected by the Iraqi people under an Iraqi-written constitution.
Iraq's GDP grew from $20.5B (US dollars) in 2002 to $34.5B in 2005, an increase of 68% in those first three years of US presence, despite the setback of the initial war itself.
Crude oil production was back above 2 million barrels per day by October 2003, or at least 80% of the pre-war peak, and would remain at or above that level for most months thereafter.
Electricity generation exceeded pre-war levels by 2004. Nationwide, the average hours of electricity available per day would be higher than the pre-war level by early 2004.
The number of registered cars more than doubled from pre-war to October 2005. Telephone subscribers went from 833,000 pre-war to over 4 million in 2005. Internet subscribers went from 4,500 pre-war to over 147,000 by March 2005.
Commercial TV, radio and independent newspapers and magazines went from zero pre-war to 44, 91, and 294, respectively, by December 2005.
The number of children enrolled in middle and high schools increased by 27% from 2002 to 2005.
The number of Iraqi security troops went from under 9,000 in May 2003 to over 200,000 by the end of 2005, and in increasing states of readiness.

All in all, the time period between the March 2003 invasion and the beginning of the "surge" in January of 2007 (in short, Rumsfeld's tenure), was one of great accomplishment. It set the stage for a successful surge. I would go so far as to say the pre-2007 accomplishments were necessary conditions for a successful surge.

Nothing is ever perfect, but how much better could anyone have expected it to be? Moreover, how can anyone with an ounce of humility think he knows how to have done it better? After all, this is war.

By all means, let's praise General Petraeus to high heaven. But let's also recognize the much-maligned Donald Rumsfeld et al for what they did with their thankless assignment.

And all this -- pre-surge, surge, and post-surge -- are necessary conditions for pulling our troops out of Iraq while also leaving it reliably safer than before 2003. In fact, things seem to be going so well that Barack Obama's and Prime Minister Maliki's wish of a pullout in 2010 might very well be possible.

What a shame if Obama would get the credit for a "pullout" that could only have been possible because of the decisions of President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and David Petraeus and the lives of over 4,000 US troops.

Posted by: facts always interfering with lib lies | July 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This was a case against? The three main points seem to be:

-1) He's a centrist and works well with the other side
-2) He resists some of the more radical extremists of his own party
-3) He's a former Clinton supporter.

I may be missing some subtlety of thought, but this doesn't exactly add up to "J'accuse!"

Posted by: malis | July 23, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

New York -- New York Times Co. says its second-quarter earnings fell 82 percent from the year-ago quarter boosted by a one-time gain. Meanwhile, print advertising revenue continued to shrink. The New York-based newspaper publisher says its quarterly net income dropped to $21.1 million, or 15 cents per share, which included 11 cents per share in buyout costs.

Maybe the Pelosi congress can bail them out.

Posted by: could it be the lies | July 23, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Substantial majorities of citizens of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom say that they would like to see Democratic Sen. Barack Obama rather than Republican Sen. John McCain elected U.S. president, and also that it makes a difference to their country who is elected. Obama, with a small group of other senators, visited Afghanistan and Iraq this week as part of an official congressional fact-finding mission,

why should Europe be the center of appeasement and surrender when amerika can join us right away the French delegates said, while cowering under a bed.

Posted by: we surrender | July 23, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama's momentum here in Indiana is truly astounding. Yes, Bayh would put him over the top, but I believe Obama can win the Hoosier state without him.

Also, as others have mentioned, Indiana's governor is a Republican, who will almost certainly win this November's election (Gov. Mitch Daniels is a brilliant campaigner, and the Democrats nominated a weak, weak candidate). So picking Bayh would hand the GOP a Senate seat.

Posted by: Hoosier Paul | July 23, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

No sooner did President Bush lift the executive ban on oil exploration in the outer Continental Shelf then Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, put the kibosh to its prospects. "The only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil resources is action from the US Congress," said President Bush last week.

We will tolerate no solutions to any of america's problems, Pelosi was heard to say.

Posted by: Pelosi galore - worst ever | July 23, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

NEW YORK - The New York Times [NYT] Co. will increase the Monday-Saturday newsstand cost of its flagship paper by 25 cents to $1.50, the publisher said today. Times Chief Executive Janet Robinson said the price increase for the New York Times will take effect Aug. 18. The company has already raised home delivery prices for the paper 4.5 percent in two separate hikes since last July.

typical Lib answer. raise the price. Make the idiots who are true believers pay for the whole mess.

Posted by: when people stop buying - raise the price, lib econ | July 23, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if Bayh should be VP. Maybe so.

But Sebelius? The Governor of a small state we have no chance of winning, and who has ZERO experience with national security and foreign policy? And she would not connect with blue collar guys in the rust belt.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Norm T | July 23, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

What Chris's post ignores is that Obama still stands to lose a significant portion of the more conservative elements of the Democratic Party. Remember that we almost nominated Hillary. Bayh could be reassuring to that group. In fact, I suspect that nominating a vp that isn't "soft on national security, soft on crime and soft in the head" could be a real asset.

The liberals can't elect a president by themselves and they need to get used to the reality that sometimes you accept a half a loaf.


Posted by: drcl | July 23, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Indiana has a Republican governor.

Posted by: Aleks | July 23, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Bayh represents Indiana, a state whose electorate mirrors much of Ohio and Pennsylvania, must-win states.

Bayh's centrist positions allow Obama to be slightly to his left. People vote for the President, not the Veep, and Obama can reclaim many who are presently unhappy with his move to the center. Whether that will be enough for the Daily Kos crew remains to be seen, but where are they going to go in lieu of Obama? Nader? Not if their collective memories can go back as far as 2000 and what ensued thereafter.

Bayh is unexciting to most but Obama more than makes up for that. Bayh would provide a degree of assurance to midwesterners who are more center-right, those who have a degree of social conservative persuasion without the doctrinaire set-in-concrete beliefs. That spells "independents" which the ticket would have to win in large measure.

Posted by: DavidE | July 23, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Bayh is a safe pick which in the end makes him a bad pick. If Obama is about change, he can't always choose the safe route. That would be politics as usual.

Sebelius is the pick.

Posted by: Bill J | July 23, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Do posters like Scrivener and David just make things up, or do they just enjoying taking anything out of context. Realclear Politics shows that the cumlative polls still have Obama slightly ahead, noting that the Rasmussen had the smallest sample. Betweens Scrivener's fantasies of a HRC convetnion coup and his belief that Dodd brings anything to the table he has no cred. I like Dodd, but most of the country will not support a New England democrat, who can be painted as very liberal, his recent financial questions will be exaggerated, and with a Republican governor in power, there is no need for CT to have a second Republican senator.

Posted by: TREP | July 23, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Bayh is widely seen as the safest pick Obama can make."

Surely the choice of a Vice President demands more, far more.

Posted by: FirstMouse | July 23, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Obama should pick someone who supported him through the primaries. Bayh did not, and I agree that his previous statements will hurt the general election campaign.

Plus, although Obama has charisma to spare, Bayh is a black hole of charisma. He's blander than bland. What's with that hair? Makes him look about 5 years old.

What's the opposite of gravitas?

Posted by: RealCalGal | July 23, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

When the disinformation artists who hang here are endorsing Bayh, you've got to wonder...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 23, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

There is no question that people who supported Hillary Clinton are disappointed and even some are even devastated by her loss. On top of everything else, any close defeat is so much harder to digest than a blow-out, because of the might-have-beens. I believe that in the end, most of these voters will come hout in November to support the Democratic nominee, but I can see, reluctantly, that some may stay home.

But to imagine for one moment that Obama supporters would sit out the election, as suggested here, because he picked the centrist but magnificently inoffensive Evan Bayh, thus handing the presidency to John McCain, is to depart from political analysis and head into a science fictional parallel universe. I am no centrist myself, but I cannot imagine responding to a choice of Bayh as VP by giving up on Obama, the election, and the country. If that is the biggest boogeyman we can muster for the "against" posting, I think I'd better start practicing my "Obama and Bayh" chant!

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | July 23, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I have written many times in my comments here the reasons why I think Bayh is by far the best choice for Obama. Chris, you mentioned many of those points in your column yesterday arguing in favor of a Bayh selection. Certainly, no person is ever a perfect selection. There will always be strengths and weaknesses to anyone selected, but I think Bayh's strengths far out weigh his weaknesses. But I also can't help thinking how similar many of the comments here and in other places by those - mostly on the left of the party - who oppose Bayh are to much of what was said about one of the left's current biggest heroes, Al Gore, in '92 and before. While Gore had begun establishing himself as a proponent of good enevironmental policies, technology initiatives, etc. prior to his selection as Clinton's VP choice, he was far from a favorite of the party's left. In fact, he was a DLC'er who was viewed as a moderate and cautious politician who approached issues as a pragmatist rather than an idealogue. He was seen as stiff and boring, as well. But Al Gore worked out pretty well, and Bayh will as well. Those in favor of Obama should not lose site of the fact that elections are not won on the fringes, but in the middle. And Bayh, as another comment pointed out, takes solidly Democratic positions on the vast majority of issues (except of course in the opinion of those who don't or can't see that the views pushed by the leftist blogosphere are frequently not supported by the vast majority of Democrats, much less independents). If those who support Obama want him to win, Bayh is the candidate that will help him reach that goal.

Posted by: Kevin20 | July 23, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris,

Now that you mention it, I remember those nasty comments from Bayh about Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Apart from being a boring choice with no real political capital, his nastiness should discount him.

Furthermore, you correctly mention that he will sap the ticket of the charisma and make it a run of the mill political marriage. In that case, Governor Kaine for VP all the way. Gov Kaine is Catholic and he can bring Virginia into play!

Posted by: Frederick | July 23, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Denny couldn't be more wrong. My wife worked for the state of Indiana for 27 years. Evan Bayh gave state government workers collective bargaining rights for the first time in history. He did it by executive order because there is no way that the republican state legislature would have approved it.

He didn't raise salaries of state employees because he was trying to balance the budget. Incidentally, he also cut back on his own expenses to show that he was going to sacrifice himself.

A real Democrat? Come on. That kind of elitist, narrow-minded thinking is what will keep us out of the White House. We need to expand the party to include more people. Besides, Evan Bayh has a 90+% voting record with working people. Look at the score cards.

Evan Bayh would be a great choice...for Democrats (and people) outside Washington.

Posted by: HoosierDem | July 23, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Meant to say "How can any Hoosier resist" the basketball ace Obama, not just Hoosier Dems.

Final thought: Obama won't need Bayh to pull him to the center; he'll go anywhere he has to. And that's the worry...

...and why only Dodd can shore up his base, as well as reassure Independents and fed up Republicans that by voting Democratic, they're not turning the keys to the store over to totally inexperienced management.

Obama needs Dodd more than Dodd needs the job. He needs maturity and well as someone with a disciplined tongue; the other choices that posters have mentioned today fall short in those traits.

Posted by: scrivener | July 23, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs a real Democrat for VP, not a milk toast substitute. I can a large effort being made by state employees againsat Evan Bayh. He used no political capital to legislate for state employee unions. He signed an executive order that was wiped out by Mitch Daniels on his first day in office. State employees receieved no raise for 5 of his 8 years as governor. One year they a got a rasie the cost of health insurance increased larger then the raise. We need a real Democrat!

Posted by: Denny | July 23, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Biden=Blunder. Rendell=Buffoon. Choose Bayh.

I agree with everything James said below. Bayh also has an incredibly strong economic resume. During his two terms as Governor of Indiana, Bayh oversaw economic growth, balanced budgets, and job creation. He did all this in the Midwest where such achievements are hard to come by.

I couldn't disagree more with the person below who said Obama should choose an older person to balance the ticket. Obama and Bayh would bring the kind of youthful appearance and sense of "change" that Clinton and Gore brought in 1992. Both men play basketball, and you can imagine the image of these two young, good looking guys taking a break from the campaign trail to play a little pick-up basketball.

- Bayh is a centrist (which Obama needs).
- Bayh has great economic experience (which the country needs).
- Bayh has national security knowledge (which Obama could benefit from)
- Bayh has great executive experience (which Obama needs).
- Bayh has strong support from the working class (which Obama needs).

Posted by: UWTC | July 23, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I doubt we can come up with a VP candidate more qualified, yet underwhelming, than Bayh.

As a presidential candidate, I considered him far too cautious, and at times mediocre. As a VP candidate, on the other hand, I submit that after 8 years of Dick Cheney's contemptuous, deceitful, overreaching 'unitary executive' tactics, a milquetoast veep may be just the thing we need.

Posted by: Eli | July 23, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Of all the VP picks, Evan Bayh is by far the most sensible choice, if Democrats want to win in November.

Yesterday's polling out of Ohio suggests that despite the economy and the Iraq war, Obama is failing to connect with voters there (he trails McCain by 10 points according to Rasmussen), and as the race tightens, Ohio has the potential to once again fall into the GOP's hands. Evan Bayh helps Obama here, and he helps Obama amongst white working class voters in PA, Michigan, and Missouri as well.

Bayh is also the only Democrat that can actually flip a state for Obama, due to his immense popularity in Indiana. Obama can survive a devastating loss in Ohio IF he wins Colorado and Indiana

And also, let us be perfectly clear about one thing: Bayh IS NOT A CONSERVATIVE! Check out his voting record, he is a true centrist Democrat in almost every regard and Obama desperately needs a white protestant male, centrist Democrat, one with executive AND foreign policy experience. Bayh is the only potential VP candidate that fits this profile.

And also, it helps immensely that Evan Bayh comes across as a genuine nice guy with virtually no skeletons in his closet.

Posted by: David | July 23, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Bayh=Yawn. Biden's the man.

Posted by: Soonerthought.Blogspot.Com | July 23, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama-Junkie said it perfectly: Rendell is the only Hillary supporter that should even be considered.

Posted by: Chris | July 23, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Obama should choose Bayh.

1) Cillizza said Bayh is a "leading voice in the Democratic party on the looming threat from China." That plays INCREDIBLY WELL with Midwestern voters who see jobs going overseas and are fearful of globalization.

2) "Thumbs his nose at liberals." Again, that is a badge of honor among the blue collar/rustbelt voters that have not embraced Obama. The republicans would LOVE Obama to pick a liberal. The middle-of-the-road people would have no place to go. Evan Bayh gives them comfort.

3) Bayh's staunch advocacy of Clinton? Big deal. Does anyone remember when goerge bush sr. severely criticized reagan's economic plan during the 1980 republican primary race? Obama and Bayh (and the voters) can get past that stuff pretty quickly.

Pick Evan Bayh. It's the smart choice.

Posted by: James | July 23, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse


Spot on. But you forgot to mention three other factors that work against Bayh:

1) His youthful countenance. He falls short in the "adult supervision" category, if only because he looks like the kid with a fishing pole over his shoulder in an old Norman Rockwell "Saturday Evening Post" cover.

2) His religion. He's not Catholic, a group that Obama sorely needs. Chris Dodd is not only a devout Catholic on the reformist side of the Church, but stands firm on constitutional issues (an area in which Obama needs to show some spine).

3) Obama wins Indiana anyway. Can you say "BASKETBALL"? How can any Hoosier Dem resist a guy with a smooth lay-up and wicked hook shot? They may even forgive him for the newfound "pragmatism" that is causing his core constituency to wonder where Obama's core principles reside.


Posted by: scrivener | July 23, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

There's also that he says he didn't run for President this year because it would have required fundraising full time.

The main job of a VP candidate is fundraising.

Unlike Sebelius and Richardson, both of whom worked hard for the vice-presidency, Bayh seems to expect it to fall into his lap. He could be another Ewdards, and kind of phone it in.

I like Bayh, but his refusal to run for President hurt him a lot in my mind. If you think you'd make a good President and you have a good chance of getting the job, I feel you have an obligation to run. You shouldn't need to be begged to be Veep. That's selfish.

Posted by: Matthew H | July 23, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"...he was a leading proponent of the war in Iraq and voted in favor of the 2002 use of force resolution."

Obama has been able to negate McCain foriegn policy advantage by pointing to the fact that he was against the war. It contradicts Obama's message to select someone who was a proponent for the war in Iraq. I don't see how Bayh can be selected given that vote.

Posted by: JNoel002 | July 23, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

You're right that picking Bayh would anger liberals (like me) and make an exciting candidate seem boring. But judging from his recent behavior it doesn't seem Obama is much concerned about either of these factors.

Posted by: tkinnama | July 23, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Does it make sense to choose as a VP candidate a senator from a state with a Republican governor (Indiana, Rhode Island, Connecticut) or a governor from a state with a Republican lieutenant governor (Virginia)? In the end, perhaps it should be a choice between Biden and Clinton. At least Obama has better options than McCain.

Posted by: David Fahey | July 23, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with most of what you said about Bayh. The 'thumbing his nose at liberals' part plays well for a general election VP candidate coming after the Bush/Cheney years.

For Obama, picking a VEEP who was an avid Hillary supporter during the primaries opens Obama up for more past internal party criticism and takes him off message in the general election campaign.

Obama needs to choose someone who he is comfortable campaigning with and governing with. He needs someone who has "got his back" politically speaking when addressing a host of issues. Not to many Hillary surrogates who qualify as VEEP will "cut the mustard" on this.

The only VEEP on the Hillary surrogate side I see as a good Obama VEEP choice is Pennslyvania Gov. Ed Rendell. His condemnation of Obama was minimal at best.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 23, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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