Monday, October 16, 2006

Can The Dems Bayh A Red State?

Many insiders (both GOP and Dem) think that Hillary is going to run and has the nomination all but locked up in 2008. There have also been many that have pretty much conceded this would be a two-way race between Sen. Clinton and Mark Warner (with some giving the edge to the more moderate Warner).

But with the surprise exit of Mark Warner last week, there are many feeling left out in the cold. They are the anti-Hillary voters and they feel all that's left is a choice between the Deaniac candidates, and her. (Although she has tried to paint herself more as a centrist over the last couple of years, there are many that haven't been sold, yet.)

But not so fast.

Here comes Sen. Evan Bayh (IN), following in his father former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh's footsteps. And if you live in Iowa or New Hampshire, you will no doubt see him coming soon. In fact, he has already been to both states quite frequently, lately. And now with Warner out, there are some prospective supporters out there who would love a moderate Democrat that could carry a red state.

Bayh carries a red state every time he runs, in an Indiana election. In 2004, a very polarizing presidential campaign, he won a landslide re-election bid with a little over 60% of the vote, while Bush won the state handily. Since Indiana is almost as red of a state as there is, that's what I call carrying a red state. Iowa is a red state with similar demographics to Indiana, despite the popularity of the liberal Tom Harkin.

According to the Indy Star, Bayh is now is seizing on an opportunity that could prove crucial to posing a credible challenge for the party's nod.
He is actively wooing potential Warner supporters.

Bayh is an attractive candidate for moderates everywhere, and that includes Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. And if the Dems are truly interested in regaining the White House with a mandate, they really should take a look at him. His lack of name recognition and slow flow of campaign dollars should both be resolved after a strong showing, in Iowa. That's where Kerry's momentum began, as the anti-Dean candidate.

But the one thing that will hurt him the most in the party will be his vote on Iraq. Never mind that Kerry voted for the war, he was able to tap dance his way out of it. Hillary did too, but most Dems will forgive her, when the moment of truth arrives.

But Bayh may not be so lucky with the Kos Kids and the Dean wing of the party. They will be dead set on making o8 another referendum on Bush, despite the fact he won't be running. (Bayh has not vascillated on the vote, but has criticicized Bush's handling of the war and has done so with growing frequency.) The question will be, how much of the Democratic base is actually hard left, as opposed to just being anti-Bush?

Time will tell how Bayh will fare in the primary process. But one thing is for sure, no one has a lock on it just yet. One only needs to look at the Carter campaign in 76 and the Clinton campaign in 92 as a model. At this point in both of those races, it was assumed that others would be vying for the nomination, and few experts gave either a chance.

That's just about where Evan Bayh is right now.


Rob said...

Actually Bayh has said that if he knew now what he knew then he wouldn't have voted for the IWR.

Here's a video about it when he sat down with some bloggers here in Indianapolis...

and here a video from Iowa Public Television:

LASunsett said...

Hello Rob,

I suppose that a lot of people, knowing what we now know, would not have voted for the war. Hindsight is always better than foresight. But unfortunately, we do not have that luxury.

If you think back to the time when the resolution was before Congress, 9/11 was still very fresh, as was the anthrax attacks. The thing that we could ill-afford to do was miscalculate in the other direction from where we did. I think Bayh said something to that effect in the video.

What has been attractive to me about Bayh, is his unwillingness to pile on the President for the fact that there were no weapons found. Sure he has stated that there were none and he wouldn't have voted for the war had he known that. But he hasn't been a poster boy for the MoveOn.Org types in accusing the President of lying, just to take us to war. (At least if he has, I have not seen it.)

It's too late to debate the reasons for going to war, what we need to focus on now is how we are going to resolve this. We cannot just back out now. We can set a timetable, but it has to be kept secret and cannot be made public for security reasons.

Pressure needs to be put on the Iraqi government to get their acts together and work harder at getting their security up and running more efficiently. I think they are getting a bit lazy and knowing they have us to fall back on, gives them too much comfort room.

If Bayh is to be successful, he will have to come up with some specifics on how he will handle the Iraq situation. That's a sticky situation because of the sensitivity of a lot of the information he has access to in the Intel Committee.

I am afraid just saying that knowing what he knows now he wouldn't have voted for it, will be good enough for the general election. He may gain some limited support from the hard left in the primary process (and then again he may not), but I do not believe it will translate to the November polls, should he get the nod.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Come back anytime, Free speech is welcomed here. Whether one agrees with me or not, I welcome all comments.

A.C. said...

Harold Ford, Jr sounds similar to Bayh. Ford wants a red state vote and knows he can't play to the Deaniacs to get it. I get the feeling Ford's ntire persona was crafted by his political machine family. Do you get that feeling about Bayh?

LASunsett said...


//Do you get that feeling about Bayh?//

I am not sure.

I do know that the father was far more liberal when he ran for President, than the son ever was. When Bayh left the governor's office, he left a surplus. That got squandered by his successor's people and Indiana ended up deeply in debt. Some hard core leftists consider Evan a DINO (Dem In Name Only) because of his moderate positions.

So again, I cannot say that is the case here. If it is, that means his dad has become more moderate.

A.C. said...

Watch out for the politicians who leave surpluses--that just means they overtaxed you!

As to Bayh now changing his vote on Iraq that's really a non-sequitur, isn't it? The real question is what do we do now. Ford, Jr has smartly stressed that construct over the vote, which you have to respect in a candidate. His plan stinks, but at least he's not dwelling on the past.

LASunsett said...


//Watch out for the politicians who leave surpluses--that just means they overtaxed you!//

Or they didn't pay the bills.

LASunsett said...


One other thing.

Once during his stint as governor, the GOP led legislature sent him a budget that he vetoed because it spent too much (that's a paradox, isn't it?). They overrode it and he made a ton of budget cuts.

A.C. said...

I'd be willing to give some of these Bayh-type dems a chance if I thought they'd remain moderates. If nothing else but it might shake up the republican majority and make them work harder for it. But then again at crunch time you have to figure they're gonna come down with Speaker Pelosi on the issues that matter, and that's something that hardly inspires confidence.

LASunsett said...


//I'd be willing to give some of these Bayh-type dems a chance if I thought they'd remain moderates.//

Even moderates need a plan. Just being moderate won't get the job done, if they don't have something of substance. Dems don't have one, the GOP is fastly losing theirs.