Senator Evan Bayh retiring because of "partisan gridlock"?

Is this really serious? Democrats have an 80 seat majority in the House and have had a supermajority in the Senate up until a week ago. So how can there be "partisan gridlock"? The media coverage on this is just too willing to accept this claim. See this discussion at the LA Times. If Bayh had wanted to claim that he was tired of Democrats bickering with each other, that would have been a different story.

Even the very left wing fivethirtyeight blog has Indiana with Bayh listed as the ninth most vulnerable seat out of 36 up this year. That by itself provides a good reason for Bayh not to run.

UPDATE: There are a couple of other points to make about Bayh's decision to retire.

From the Hotline:

no other Dem is expected to collect the required 500 signatures by then, meaning Dems will get the chance to pick their own nominee. Some DC Dems say the process is the best-case scenario short of having Bayh on the ballot for a 3rd term; allowing the party to pick a nominee will avoid a primary. . . .

From the Daily Kos:

Unlike Democrats, Republicans already have candidates vying for their party's nomination, including former Rep. John Hostetler and Senator-turned-lobbyist Dan Coats. Because the signature deadline is tomorrow, that pretty much sets the GOP field. Unless both Hostetler and Coats were to withdraw, Republicans won't be in a position to choose a nominee as will Democrats. The implication of that: Bayh's timing appears to make it nearly impossible for candidates like Rep. Mike Pence (who says he will not run despite Bayh's retirement) or Gov. Mitch Daniels to get on the ballot.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is confident that the Democrats will keep the seat:

I am also confident that the efforts of Senator Bayh along with those of the DSCC will keep this seat in the Democratic Caucus.”

UPDATE: Did it backfire?

Restaurant owner Tamyra d'Ippolito (D) has enough signatures to make the ballot in the race to replace Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), she told Hotline OnCall in a brief interview.
Reached at her home, d'Ippolito said she was on her way out the door to drop off more signatures at the county clerk's office. D'Ippolito's backers have until noon to submit 4,500 signatures, including 500 from each of the state's 9 districts, to the appropriate county clerks.

Apparently, Bayh (or someone speaking for him) is confirming that he was playing this game to help the Dems keep the seat.

It would be something close to a nightmare scenario for Democrats: were D’Ippolito to qualify for the ballot, she would be the likely nominee and the party would be left to face the GOP with a political neophyte who said she is running in part to take on a party establishment she said practices “sexism with a big S.”

It’s precisely what Bayh had hoped to avoid. By disclosing his retirement one day before the filing deadline, the idea was that no Democrat would qualify for the primary ballot and the party’s state central committee could tap their favored candidate. . . .

Bayh did have this interesting comment:

"But if I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months. If I could help educate our children at an institution for higher learning, that would be a noble thing. If I could help a charity, cure a disease or do something else worthwhile for society — that's what has motivated my life and that's what I think Congress needs to focus on, things that will help the American people meet the challenges they face in real ways in their daily lives. That's what I want to do with my life. And if you'll invite me back on your show in 11 months, I'll be able to tell you!"



Blogger Angie said...

But Mike Pence decided not to run against him, so it was far from likely that he would have lost. I'm probably farther right than most people, but I didn't hate Bayh. He was definitely a centerist, so he was probably feeling shut out of both parties.

Gridlock is a good thing. We have enough laws and programs already.

2/15/2010 3:09 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Hot Air runs a story wherein a Lefty Dem accuses Rahm Emanuel of 'setting up' Baron Hill (D-IN) by colluding with Bayh about the timing of the announcement and precluding the Lefty from getting on the ballot.

Supposedly Hill has his nomination papers all ready to go...

2/16/2010 9:07 AM  

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