[Guest post by DRJ]
Examiner Columnist Larry Elder says Senator Evan Bayh isn’t seeking re-election because he might lose:
“Could it be that the “fed-up” senator feared losing re-election? Don’t ask. CBS didn’t. The possibility that Bayh faced a tough re-election wasn’t even hinted at. But imagine Bayh, who explored a 2008 presidential bid, running for re-election while justifying to skeptical Hoosiers his votes for “stimulus,” TARP, the auto bailouts and ObamaCare.
Here’s the big underreported story.
In a hypothetical race against undeclared candidate Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. — according to a recent Rasmussen poll of likely voters — Bayh was down 3 points. Against another possible opponent, former House Republican John Hostettler, he was only ahead by 3 points. Welcome to the new normal. No Democrat or squishy Republican is safe.
By a 2-1 margin, more people call themselves politically conservative than liberal. Self-identified “independents,” who outnumber both the Dems and the Republicans, have turned against Obama with a vengeance. This center-right country now realizes it elected a left-winger for president. And voters don’t like what they see or what he’s doing.”
Elder says stepping down may help Bayh’s future career prospects:
“In Bayh’s case, how embarrassing would it be to outspend your opponent … and lose? Makes it tough for donors to kick in for a presidential run. Why take the chance?
If he bows out now, with the traditional media helpfully painting him as a lock for re-election, Bayh can go around the country unshackled. He can make news on his terms — staying visible without having to show up somewhere, vote and create a record that requires defending. To keep up his profile and broaden his base, he could shoot for a gig on Fox. [NOTE by DRJ: Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?] Fox News chief Roger Ailes has probably already sat him down for schnapps.
If Obama’s popularity continues to erode, Bayh won’t be quite as tethered to him. If he stays in the Senate and votes with Obama — as he has so far — how can he criticize? He becomes “part of the problem.” If he votes against Obama, he invites the wrath of his party’s liberal base (a redundancy). Retired, he can criticize and distance himself from unpopular policies.
For now, things look grim. Despite some positive signs, most people feel the economy remains in the tank. Home foreclosures figure to rise, with commercial real estate not far behind. Soon the Bush tax cuts expire, resulting in tax hikes during a weak economy. The spending and borrowing will eventually spark high inflation. The debt and deficit get bigger.
If Obama loses in 2012, Bayh becomes better-positioned for a presidential bid. He can say, “I would have done this or that differently.” So he pulled the rip cord. Got out on top. He can cool his heels, make some jack and get set for the 2016 campaign — tanned, rested and ready.”
Instead of Bayh-Bayh, maybe the headlines should have been Bayh in 2016 or even 2012.