Bayh and the Blue Dogs

BAYH AND THE BLUE DOGS…. When Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) announced the formation of his new “centrist” Senate caucus on MSNBC yesterday, he was a little evasive about his group’s membership.

For what it’s worth, Roll Call had an item about Bayh’s endeavor — it’s apparently being called the “Moderate Dems Working Group” — citing a press release of its membership. Bayh will apparently lead the group, along with Sens. Tom Carper (Del.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.). The rest of the membership includes, Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) , Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), and Mark Warner (Va.). The

That’s 15 people are willing to be identified with the group. Bayh said there are “three or four” other Democrats — he said they’re in the “witness protection program” — who are affiliated with this, but didn’t want their names on the announcement. Ryan Powers noted three Democratic “centrists” who “have been reported as attending Bayh’s meetings in recent weeks,” but whose names weren’t disclosed: Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.), Klobuchar (Minn.), and Pryor (Ark.).

That brings the total up to 18 — about a third of the Senate Democratic caucus — which is anxious, for reasons I’ll never fully understand, to water down the popular agenda of a popular president.

That said, when we talked about this yesterday, there was an important detail I wasn’t aware of: Bayh has done this before. David Waldman noted the frequency with which we’ve heard this talk from Bayh.

Hey, have you heard that Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) is forming a new, supposedly “moderate” Democratic voting bloc in the Senate?

You have? Did you hear it today in The Fix? […]

Or last year in Roll Call ($)?[…]

Or was it seven years ago from the DLC? […]

Yawn. Sun rises in East, Evan Bayh forms “moderate coalition.”

Too bad he’s not as moderate in the amount of time he dedicates to making sure people hear how “moderate” he is.

David raises a very good point, but I’m a little more concerned about Bayh’s efforts this time around. In the midst of a crisis — multiple crises, actually — Bayh and his merry band of “moderates” can do real damage to legislation that we really need.