Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Bayh, Good Riddance

It was a scene that’s been played out over and over again: beleaguered politico surrounded by wife and family, as he delivers his news of succumbing.

It could have been a resignation in shame, a concession speech, a clumsy explanation for some sort of misdeed. Regardless, there the family is, providing support, no matter how false (in some instances).

I wonder what life lesson soon-to-be former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has just taught his kids, who were flanking him the other day as he threw his hands up and gave up on Congress.

If the going gets tough, kids, then just quit.

Don’t have any convictions, my children—just get out of the kitchen at the first sign of warmth.

If Evan Bayh was so sick of the gridlock in Washington—and I don’t blame him for being frustrated—then he should have sucked it up and stayed and tried to be part of a solution.

Instead, he walked away and his timing was awful—not even giving any fellow Democrats much of a chance to file, since he quit the day before the signatures were due to the clerk’s office.

Now, the Dems in Indiana might not be able to hold a primary for Bayh’s seat, which is now up for grabs this November. Though the head of the party in that state vows there WILL be a candidate, somehow, some way, and not only that, the mystery candidate will be victorious nine months from now.

Analysts say the timing of Bayh’s decision comes not as a coincidence; it was his last dig at a party with which he’s clashed. Bayh happens to be one of the more conservative Democrats you’ll ever see, which isn’t terribly surprising, considering the state from which he comes.

Whether that’s true or not—Bayh’s ulterior motive—it doesn’t change the fact that he clearly lacks the fortitude and the gumption to be a difference maker, so good riddance to him.

You think he’s the first and only member of Congress who doesn’t like Congress?



“I love serving the people of Indiana,” Bayh said as his wife stood nearby and had that Stepford look about her. “But I don’t love Congress.”

Yeah, that’s a good way to change things: run away.

If Bayh truly loved serving his people, he would have stayed a Senator—he was almost sure to win re-election this year—and fought to change that with which he’s frustrated. He’s only served two six-year terms, and not all that long with his party in the majority.

But now he’s getting out, fed up with the machinations of our Legislative branch of government. On the surface that may seem admirable and taking the high road; but if you scratch a bit, you’ll see that it’s simply another act of the meek, the milk toast.

Maybe Bayh has something else lined up, not that he HAS to work right away. Maybe this is it for him in politics. He used to be governor, so maybe he’ll return to the state level.

Regardless, at the moment he’s simply a quitter; a man who lacks the temerity and the perseverance to fix something that someone of his talents could certainly help fix. He’s a waste—an unrealized asset.

Bayh doesn’t like the way the sausage is made and so he’s fleeing the factory.

He may love serving the people of Indiana, as he said, but clearly not as much as he loves serving himself.

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