Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Dear God NOOOO!!!!

Political Wire:
NBC News notes that nothing is on Sen. Barack Obama's official schedule yet "but the traveling press registration e-mail has us flying to South Bend at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and not leaving until 3:25 p.m. the next day... It seems seems like an awfully long time to be in one place."

Could Obama be meeting with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) to ask him to be his running mate?

Please let this be the Obama campaign juking the press (or juking the Crazy Train into picking a Bayh foil). Booman:
From a strictly ideological point of view, Evan Bayh represents the Clintons by proxy among members of the known short-list. He's the only person under serious consideration that endorsed Clinton during the campaign. He's a former chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. There's a very good chance that Bayh would staff up the Naval Observatory with a bunch of also-rans and cast-offs from the Clinton campaign, giving them new life and hope for a role in a future presidency. For Team Clinton, Evan Bayh represents their best hope for jobs and significance in an Obama administration. These attacks on Obama are sending a clear message that they can make trouble for Obama if he shuts them out. As I see it, this is not really a lobbying campaign for Hillary, who they all know is persona non grata in the Obama household. It's an oblique campaign for Bayh.

And they just might get what they want. Just this morning, Bayh joined with Obama in sending a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking him to dedicate more money to address brain injuries. Obama will appear with Bayh on Wednesday in Elkhart, Indiana, and people there are buzzing with excitement and speculation that Obama will tap Bayh as The One. One theory is that Obama will want to get some coverage for his pick that doesn't have to compete with the Olympics, which start on Friday in Beijing.

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in thinking that, if Obama's intent on using his VP slot to placate Clinton, I would really prefer he pick Clinton!

Bayh is the poster child for the old Democratic Party I know and despise. He's a spineless, finger-in-the-wind politician who habitually cedes the high ground to conservatives on national security, "morals," and generally turning the USA into a police state. Every time the Senate Democrats desperately need to hold the line on some Republican atrocity, Bayh is one of the last hold-outs, always unwilling to back the Democrats if it's gonna look like it was his vote that kept the GOP out of the winner's circle. After all, how is a Democrat to win re-election if he can't run as the more sensible Republican?

Can you just imagine Evan Bayh in a raucous VP debate? "Well, you're right Governor Romney, I stand in awe of the Great Maverick Patriot Straight Talker John McCain and all that he did in Vietnam, which of course clearly shows that he's the perfect presidential candidate. It's a little known fact that I really wanted to be his running mate! But if I may share one little quibble with your phrasing..."

Admittedly, Bayh is not without his strengths. As much as I would caution against relying on a tactic with such a weak track record, he is from a state that is, at the moment, at least, in play, and I'll wager his approvals are fairly high here. After all, the records for biggest Democratic landslide in an Indiana Senate race and highest percentage of the vote in a modern statewide Indiana election both belong to Evan Bayh, and they're not even both for the same race. If there's anything the Indiana Birch Borer has shown, it's that he can win statewide offices in the Hoosier State. Even though he's always the last guy off the fence in important votes, to his credit he did (eventually) vote against confirming United States Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Not bad for a DLCer. He's also extremely cautious as a politician; there is very little likelihood of Bayh stealing the spotlight from Obama. Very, very little. Heh.

On the other hand, Bayh is a politician associated neither with "change" nor with national security gravitas. In fact, here's a fun little riff on his Wikipedia page that, to my mind, should be a disqualification:
Bayh, in contrast to Senator Richard Lugar, was an early supporter of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq.[6] On October 2, 2002, Bayh joined President George W. Bush and Congressional leaders in a Rose Garden ceremony announcing their agreement on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, and was thanked by Bush and Senator John McCain for co-sponsoring the resolution.

He's a relative unknown even in neighboring states, known mainly by political wonks because he's the son of 1976 presidential candidate Birch Bayh (and it's a widely held opinion among Indiana Democrats that Birch was the better man of the two). He is the very model of "milquetoast." And best of all, Indiana's governor is a Republican, which means he gets to choose the person to finish Bayh's term, handing the GOP a free Senate seat just as the Democrats are planning an ambitious agenda. Good thinking, morons.

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