Boom. Obama picks Evan Bayh.
Not a choice that will thrill progressives. The junior Senator, and former Governor, of Indiana is a centrist.
A facebook group I joined a week or so ago – 100,000 Strong Against Evan Bayh for VP – started by blogger/topical songwriter Max Bernstein, failed to attract anywhere close to the trumpeted number. Is facebook failure to produce mass progressive reaction against Bayh a signal that he’s more or less okay with Obama’s liberal voters? Dunno.
The other way to look at this – and I see it this way – is that Obama’s short list was heavy on centrists and DLC people and that’s been clear for a while. Our VP expectations were already lowered. Besides, the VP choice isn’t made to please us, but centrist voters, Republicans seeking refuge from two terms of Bush and McCain’s promises to be just like him, and independents. We liberals already got our man, and he’s at the top of the ticket.
Here’s the thing: In the run-up to the war, Evan Bayh, like Rob Andrews, took it upon himself to try and line up fellow Democrats to back George Bush’s scapegoating of Iraq as the boogeyman behind the World Trade Center. Given that the country now solidly rejects Bush’s approach to foreign policy, and that’s largely why Democrats chose anti-Iraq War Obama, does choosing Bayh retain the mainstream anti-Bush voters (because, seriously, where else we gonna go?) while attracting those voters with less revulsion for Bush’s adventurism?
Yet, Bayh may know how to defeat Republicans. He’s done it a few times in his home state or Indiana – including defeating a Republican Republican Lt. Governor John Mutz in the general to become governor (then winning re-election with the highest percentage of the vote in a state election in modern state history). In his second term, he beat back the Republican State Attorney General. As Governor, he had a budget surplus and cut taxes, and that combo will be attractive to many voters who might be tempted to vote McCain. Expect to see this quote heavily played up by Obama’s team, From Wall Street Journal in 1992 (click Show full bio):
Mr. Bayh’s record is one of a genuinely fiscally conservative Democrat
Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana; this is a ticket straight out of the heartland. There’s some wisdom in that. At any rate, I can’t wait to vote and get this eight years behind me.
This is an Open Thread. Have at it, Blue Jersey.