I was reading a column written by Jill Lawrence of Politics Daily and I learned that I helped cause Evan Bayh to quit his day job.
During the long, still incomplete march to pass a health reform bill, Democratic moderates – in particular Montana's Baucus and Nebraska's Nelson -- routinely took incoming from liberal bloggers for dragging the bill rightward. The left was especially critical of Bayh's take last month on Republican Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts. Bayh told ABC News that voters up there "just don't believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems." He said Democrats would court catastrophe if they ignored the wakeup call. John Amato wrote at CrooksandLiars.com that Bayh was promoting Fox News talking points.
Yes, I am that mean and scary and Bayh just couldn't handle the heat from C&L, baby.
Look, I don't expect all Democratic politicians to vote 100% across the board, but when there is a signature piece of legislation that could help millions of Americans on a vital issue like health care, then I think the few ConservaDems should not help destroy a bill that is so critical to so many lives. Howie Klein has a breakdown of his voting record.
Last week polls showed ConservaDem Evan Bayh with a nearly insurmountable lead over lobbyist Dan Coats for the Indiana Senate seat. And this morning Chris Cillizza broke the news that Bayh had decided not to run for re-election. That must have been kind of sudden since he spent the last 6 years sucking up to every lobbyist on K Street, raised $8,911,690 and has a hefty $13 million in his campaign account. Beloved of Goldman Sachs, Eli Lilly, Allianz and dozens of corporations with anti-working family agendas, Bayh's fundraising looked extremely... Republican. But then, so does his voting record. Since Obama was elected president only Ben Nelson was a less dependable vote for Democrats when they were needed most-- on crucial, substantive roll calls where Democrats either lost or almost lost. The 3 worst scores among Democratic senators for the 111th Congress:
Ben Nelson- 47.76
Evan Bayh- 53.73
Blanche Lincoln- 59.70
Voting almost 48 % of the time against a newly elected Democratic president is beyond being a conservative democrat. it's aiding and abetting the enemy of change. Bayh whined like a teenager whose parents cut off their Internet yesterday when he gave his presser and said he was so tired of the partisanship. He could have done his part and helped President Obama and the Senate put together a good health care bill, but he did not. Politics is a contact sport and he proved he couldn't take it.
Ron Brownstein made a similar point On Andrea Mitchell this morning:
It's hard to see how he justifies this to other Democrats. But look it's more broadly what's happening with the Democratic Party. They've gone from 93-94, it took them 15 years to reestablish unified control of the House and the Senate and the White House as they did in 2009. And here they are, one year into it and the party seems to be in many respects losing its nerve. You have the Bayh thing as the latest in a series of --, Beau Biden, Lisa Madigan in Illinois, a variety of Democratic House members in tough districts walking away.
Look, politics is a contact sport and the Democrats have had the best opportunity they've had in 15 years to advance their agenda, and yet as they take all the flack that comes with that it feels like some of the party is crumbling and losing their nerve. Stunning decision.
And shudder this thought by Digby:
The good news is that we are separating the men from the boys. The Democrats have everything, but it's all so icky and hard that a whole bunch of them are just walking away. Good riddance. If they don't have the cojones to stick it out when their country needs them, then they shouldn't be in politics.
I'm glad these guys weren't in charge during the Depression and WWII. We'd all be dirt farming for the Greater Axis Empire today.