Evan Bayh this week announced his retirement from the Senate saying, “I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should.” Bayh, who has only been an enabler of the Republican obstructionist “partisanship” he is now decrying, has decided that instead of working towards fixing that which ills the Congress – he is packing up and going home. This corporatist hack is the one who took the time to attack the left when his insurance-bailout bill crashed in the House. This bought-and-paid-for politician is the one who helped remove the public option from healthcare reform amid fears that it would lead to socialism (and while his wife sat on the board of WellPoint, making millions), despite his constituents being 52% in favor of it! This defender of the status quo used his group of Blue-Dog Democrats (read: corporatists) to shrink the economic “stimulus” package to levels that are making recovery actually take longer, helped preserve the Bush tax cuts that helped caused the deficit he loves to complain about, delayed Cap-and-Trade, and weakened bankruptcy protection. That this man is a Senator for the people is such a conflict of terms that it shows us what a farce our democracy has actually become.
But, one might ask, isn’t his retirement a cause for celebration? I would say not, considering the circumstances. Evan Bayh announced his plans to retire the day before the deadline for contenders to file petitions to run in the primary. This means that no one had a realistic opportunity to actually file for candidacy, which in turn means that a candidate will be selected by state party officials. Why would Bayh do this? Did he plan on retiring? It appears he did as politicians usually spontaneously retire only when an embarrassing scandal is about to become public and nothing like this seems to be on Bayh’s horizon. If he did plan to retire why strategically announce it less than 24 hours from such an important deadline? Could it be his disdain for democracy is so strong that allowing a potentially progressive candidate to step into his place, as Tamyra D’Ippolito tried to do, was so unacceptable that he choked off that possibility and handed the responsibility to the party instead of the people?
The Indiana Democratic Party will most assuredly appoint a conservative like Bayh thus perpetuating the myth that Democrats need to be centrists to win against Republicans. The appointed candidate is surely going to be a bland corporatist who will fight against his or her people’s best interests at virtually every opportunity. In the current climate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bayh planned this in order to ensure a Republican victory this November as a final gift to the “furthest left elements” of his party that he has saught to sabotage so frequently. While still relatively young, rest assured we will be seeing more of him. After unsuccessfully trying to run for President in 2008 and recent news of Bayh’s positive perception for the chances for a third party candidate in 2012, it seems that Bayh is getting ready to try his chances again, even though he of course is currently denying such a possibility.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I am deeply in favor of breaking out of the current “two” party system we have in place by promoting third parties as a great solution, however I think the prospect of Bayh’s leading a third party campaign laughable as he simply doesn’t bring anything other than a full-fisted endorsement of the status quo to the discussion. If I wasn’t so unsure about the Tea Party’s ability to stop him, I would say he had an infinitely better chance running as a Republican. I think it’s much more likely that we will see him lobbying his former coworkers in the interests of his corporate benefactors like the one his wife makes millions from. Of course, he also denies this possibility as well…
Whether he comes back as a presidential candidate or K Street lobbyist, Evan Bayh will never be working towards the mulititude’s interests and instead working to make himself and the already rich, even richer – at our expense, of course. The manner of his departure is the best example we need of his political career as we collectively say good-bayh (I did it!).