Monday, February 15, 2010

Evan Bayh: If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

Word is spreading fast: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is retiring. Bye bye, Evan Bayh.

My first reaction is elation; second reaction, suspicion.

Call my first reaction of elation schadenfreude. I'm glad to see any evidence of weakness in the Democrat party. The Democrats have hideously squandered their supermajority in the Senate. Instead of working to safeguard Americans and further our prosperity, more and more of us feel cornered and ill-used.

Call my second reaction of suspicion the natural result of observing the current crop of Democrats at work. Their modus operandi has been to do whatever they want--in secret--lie about what they are doing (when they even know what they are voting on), and then smear anyone who'd like to put the brakes on or have actual public "dialog" about their bills. Democrats have promoted "dialog" with Ahmadinijad but not with Independents and Republicans, or even with Democrats who attempt to stray too far from the Obama line.

Some pundits are guessing that Bayh, a Democrat, might not want to work as hard as necessary to keep his seat in the current atmosphere of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and anger among many American voters. Others think that he wants to get out of the fray relatively unscathed so that he can return to politics later, maybe as presidential candidate. Some wonder whether he's getting out now because he sees something coming down the road that the rest of us don't see yet.

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is giving Bayh more credit:
I think it would be a mistake to view this decision solely or even primarily as a reaction to election chances.

Rather, Bayh has seemed sick of the whole process the past year.

I have commented before that Bayh was largely missing in action, or in hiding, during the health care debate when one would have expected him to be front and center. Back in mid-December, just before the Senate health care vote, I asked:
Where is Evan Bayh? His silence has been deafening.
I even issued an Amber Alert for Evan Bayh.

We have found Evan Bayh, and he apparently didn't want to be found.

Or how about this, "Evan Bayh didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left Evan Bayh."
I hope Jacobson is right. If he is, if Evan Bayh's retirement is an acknowledgment of his loss of the Democrat Party, his leaving the Senate is the honorable thing to do. And it's smart. One way or another, Bayh's decision means he's following Harry Truman's famous advice: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

In America's political kitchen today, we need people with the courage to stand up for what they believe, while they still can.


  1. Hopefully the is one more piece of evidence that the Democrat Party is imploding upon itself.

  2. In his speech today, Bayh called himself "an executive" who "doesn't love Congress!"

    Welcome to a mighty big club, Senator, and one that's getting bigger every day!

    I'm thinking that, if an experienced leader like Bayh (who knows politics from the cradle) is getting driven out of the Democrat Party, surely others will follow.

    Thanks for adding this blog to your blogroll, Joe. I'm pleased to add your blog to my blogroll. It's good reading!