Somewhere Mike Pence just smacked himself in the forehead and said “DOH!”
And while the Congressman, if he hasn’t already, will release a statement saying that he still won’t be running for Senate, it doesn’t change the fact that current Democrat Senator Evan Bayh has shocked the political world by announcing he will retire instead of seek re-election this year. Yes, the former rumoured Presidential contender, former rumoured Vice-Presidential nominee, rising rock star in the Democrat Party will millions of dollars in a war chest and leading in most public polls against any would be Republican contender…has decided that it wasn’t worth running in 2010. My favourite part of the story is that he didn’t tell the President or Harry Reid until today…and that anyone who wants to run for the seat needs to collect 5,000 signatures by TOMORROW (though that part is under dispute).
This begs to question, why the sudden retirement? You could argue that the Democrats are really just turning into a regional party focused in the Northeast and California, or that Democrats have become so blindly ideological there are no room for moderates in their party anymore. According to a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal, looks like it was more the later…
Many in his party, Mr. Bayh said, are “tone deaf” about the real message voters are sending, which is that Democrats have “overreached rather than looking for consensus with moderates and independents.” He added: “It is amazing that some people here in Congress still don’t get it.…For those people it may take a political catastrophe of biblical proportions before they get it. I don’t think we’ll get to that. But we might.”
These are stern words from a man known more for rounding the edges of a debate than sharpening them. But they come from someone who knows a thing or two about Democrats wandering into political minefields. Mr. Bayh saw it happen in his own family. His father, Birch Bayh, was a respected veteran senator from Indiana in his own right when the conservative Reagan Revolution snuck up in 1980 and washed him and a Democratic Senate majority out to sea.
The son subsequently followed his father into politics and became governor of Indiana at the age of 32. From that seat, he watched as Democrats in Washington were again hit by a wave from the right in 1994 and lost control of both houses of Congress. “Every 14 or 16 years we seem to have to relearn this lesson,” Mr. Bayh said. “I do have a sense of deja vu, and the movie doesn’t have a happy ending.” But, he added, “there is an alternative ending we have an opportunity to write.”
Apparently it’s an alternative ending that will be no longer written by Evan Bayh. The fantasy of Republican’s taking back the SENATE or all places just got slightly more believable.