Democratic Senator Evan Bayh's sudden, surprising retirement
looks more and more like a very public break between the moderate from
Indiana and the more liberal Democrats in Congress and the White House.
Bayh, who positions himself as a centrist, has been unflinching in his
criticism of both parties. The suddenness of his retirement, and the fact that Bayh remains popular in his Republican-leaning home state, has spurred speculation about a potential 2012 presidential run. Could Bayh run, possibly as a
third-party centrist or possibly as a Democratic primary challenger to
- The Untarnished Democrat The Washington Post's Chuck Lane sees
a branding possibility. "Quitting the Senate was a no-lose move for the
presidentially ambitious Bayh, since he can now crawl away from the
political wreckage for a couple of years, plausibly alleging that he
tried to steer the party in a different direction -- and then be
perfectly positioned to mount a centrist primary challenge to Obama in
2012, depending on circumstances."
- Running as a Centrist 'Outsider' The Guardian's Michael Tomasky evaluates the prospects. "I say it's a reasonable bet that Bayh doesn't necessarily think his
career is over. He's probably still eyeing the White House, and maybe
thinking that being out of office -- being, say, a university president
back in Indiana -- is a better springboard than a Senate that everyone
in America hates." Bayh was "a darling of centrist Democrats, and he
was touted as a presidential candidate back in 2006-07 and indeed took
some steps toward a run before deciding not to."
- 'Centrists Cannot Win As Insurgents' So argues conservative blogger Daniel Larison.
tend not to reward shirkers and deserters with promotion. Party
politics may be infuriatingly, mind-numbingly tribal much of the time,
but that is definitely something one can always rely on it to be. To
retire from the field at a time when his party can’t afford to have any
more vulnerable seats and then to do so without warning and at
virtually the last possible minute before the filing deadline for
candidates will mark him for the special loathing of progressive
activists and donors for years to come.
- Dems Won't Vote Against Obama Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias wonders
where Bayh would get votes. "No incumbent president has ever been
defeated in a primary," he writes. "On top of that, successful primary
challenges to incumbents are invariably driven by base-oriented
candidates knocking off incumbents who’ve strayed too far off the
reservation. [...] there’s just no sign that Democrats have any problem
with Barack Obama."
- Bayh-Bloomberg 2012 Ticket? Why, asks Sandy Levinson, couldn't Bayh join with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican turned Obama-backer? "
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