THE PREDICTABLE EVAN BAYH…. Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D-Ind.) latest efforts to trash his party began in earnest over the weekend, complaining that “congressional elites” may have “mistook their mandate.”
About two hours before the polls closed in Massachusetts, Bayh, who is up for re-election this year in a traditionally “red” state, was at it again, warning Democrats of “catastrophe.” In the most predictable and self-serving response possible, the Indiana Democrat who is constantly urging his party to shift to the right is now insisting the party has to shift to the right.
“There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this,” Bayh told ABC News, but “if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up.”
What is the lesson of Massachusetts — where Democrats face the prospects of losing a Senate seat they’ve held since 1952? For Senator Bayh the lesson is that the party pushed an agenda that is too far to the left, alienating moderate and independent voters. […]
“The only we are able to govern successfully in this country is by liberals and progressives making common cause with independents and moderates,” Bayh said. “Whenever you have just the furthest left elements of the Dem party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country — that’s not going to work too well.”
I have to assume the political establishment will quickly embrace this as the conventional wisdom — Dems moved to the left, the public got nervous, so they lost Kennedy’s Senate seat.
But I have a couple of follow-up questions for Bayh. First, when exactly did the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party start imposing their will on the rest of the country? I like to think I pay fairly close attention to current events, and I don’t recall the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party calling the shots over the last year. Indeed, the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party tend to be livid at how little they’ve won, generating widespread frustrations at the party’s base.
Second, what would Bayh recommend for the rest of the year? Not delivering on the platform Democrats promised voters? I can see the ads now: “Vote for me — I abandoned my agenda, ignored my mandate, and ran for the hills at the first sign of trouble.”
Look, Martha Coakley was an awful candidate who ran an awful campaign. This, coupled with public frustration over the economy and the pace of change in Washington became a toxic combination.
But to hear Bayh tell it, the electorate will reward Democrats if the party gives up on the agenda that got them elected — and gave them the largest majorities in a generation — and simply becomes Republican-lite. That seems like very bad advice.