I spent the last few days thinking about what to write on Valentine's Day, and came this close to posting some screed about my ex-fiancee, which would have been completely unproductive, whiny, and boring. Luckily, my fair reader, one of my favorite Senators (and I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible), announced he wasn't going to run for reelection. So without further ado, let me eulogize Evan Bayh.
In the past 10-15 years, there has never been a bigger waste of anyone's time like Evan Bayh. During his time in the Senate, Evan Bayh was a "leader" of the "Centrist" Democrats, who believed that the way to electoral success was to cave to the Republican Party at every possible moment. Shockingly, this strategy seemed to work for Indiana, but it didn't anywhere else (which isn't such a surprise - when given the choice between one candidate who espouses a coherent political ideology, and another who gives into the same ideology while whining about it, people tend to choose the former and not the later). So, Bayh tended to do what other Centrist Dems do - he went on "Meet the Press," complained about partisanship, and ignored the disasters his appeasement strategy caused.
Worst of all, for a guy who was relatively young, talented, and popular, Evan Bayh failed to lead, ever. For you political junkies out there, I ask you to name one, just one, policy initiative that Evan Bayh lead. Seriously, is there any? I checked out his Wikipedia entry, and found nothing. Now here's a guy who was seriously considered for Obama's VP, and in twelve years, he hasn't lead on anything.
So, I can't say its entirely shocking that Bayh decided, rather than trying to lead the Senate away from the hyperpartisanship he decried, to quit the Senate and whine about it. Naturally, all the blame will be on the dirty hippies like me (who, by the way, have been right about the following issues: Iraq, health care reform, the economic stimulus, Bush's tax cuts, torture, and education reform), rather than blaming Bayh for quitting a job he clearly never wanted.
One of the rumors floating out there is that Bayh is preparing to run against Obama in 2012, and that's why he's quitting the Senate. If that's true, then Bayh isn't just useless, but also insane. Primary challenges only work when the incumbent is viewed as moving too far from the Party line. Of the two, Obama is clearly more popular among Democrats than Bayh because he actually shares their political views. The Centrists that Bayh purports to represent don't vote in party primaries. See Joe Lieberman's 2004 Presidential Campaign.
So, I'm not exactly weeping over the loss of Bayh, per se. On the other hand, his timing pretty much fucked over the Dems, and gave Obama another week of bad press. Naturally, Bayh will be a hero of the DC press (the same people who cheered the invasion of Iraq, torture, and other atrocities), and my big prediction is that Bayh will be a big whiner for the rest of his term. Good times, good times.
See, this post was much better than whining about my ex.