DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT…. When we last checked in with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), he was chatting with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd in September. Todd, to his credit, asked about the disconnect between Congress fighting over tax cuts for millionaires while one in seven Americans live in poverty. Bayh replied that “things like that can wait.” He was talking about the poor, not the tax cuts.
This morning, Bayh was back on MSNBC, predicting major losses for his party tomorrow. Dave Weigel highlighted the fact that there isn’t enough attention right now on “how glib and useless he is.”
The problem with Bayh is that almost everything he says is useless and divorced from context, and he doesn’t do much more than talk. The victory of Scott Brown “should have been a wake-up call,” he said to Morning Joe hosts. A wake-up call to do what? To not add to the debt. But did he support the health care bill? Yes, it was a great achievement, but the timing was wrong for a “spending bill.” The CBO says the bill is actually going to cut the deficit, but no matter — Bayh is feeling at you, from his gut, and he thinks that bill he voted for was a disaster that was a great achievement, or something.
Watching Bayh it’s clear that he is a senator. It’s not clear why. Did he introduce the Bayh Fiscal Austerity Bill of 2009? Did he crack heads over the Bayh Lawsuit Reform Bill of 2010? Not as far as I can tell.
This has long been part of Bayh’s m.o. — plenty of lectures, weak follow-through.
Indeed, Bayh is retiring at the same time he’s presenting himself as a beacon of ideas and quality governance. Why doesn’t he stick around and try to make things better? Bayh doesn’t feel like it. He wants to help, but he prefers to walk away, even if it makes things worse.
Bayh announced he’d walk away, despite being on track for re-election, despite the fact that his departure would push his priorities further away, despite an alleged desire to try to make things better. Tomorrow, voters in Indiana will elect a corporate lobbyist to replace him.
And yet, there he was on television again, with yet another lecture about how bad his party is, how bad the process is, and how bad Congress looks in the eyes of voters.
I don’t know who’ll miss Bayh’s more insufferable qualities, but I imagine the number is pretty low.