Monday, February 15, 2010

A sad day in Hoosierville

Evan Bayh I was saddened and disappointed today to hear that one of my Senators, Evan Bayh, has decided not to run for re-election this year.

Senator Bayh has been a fixture in Indiana politics for many years, serving two terms as Governor, followed by two terms as Senator. He is seen as a moderate Democrat, fiscally conservative but socially liberal, and considered one of the "blue dog" Democrats in the Senate. A very liberal Democrat would have little chance in such a conservative state as Indiana, but he has always been well-liked and has served Indiana and the United States well. Some of my Democrat friends feel that he should have been more liberal; I feel that his presence as a Democrat was important, and on major issues like health care, he came through for helping all people, not just the well-off. He is also apparently a pretty good guy, and I've never heard a word about any improprieties or scandals.

So why is he not running again?

After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned. For some time, I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should. There is too much partisanship and not enough progress — too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving. Even at a time of enormous challenge, the peoples' business is not being done.

Examples of this are legion, but two recent ones will suffice.

Two weeks ago, the Senate voted down a bipartisan commission to deal with one of the greatest threats facing our nation: our exploding deficits and debt. The measure would have passed, but seven members who had endorsed the idea instead voted “no” for short-term political reasons.

Just last week, a major piece of legislation to create jobs — the public's top priority — fell apart amid complaints from both the left and right.

All of this and much more has led me to believe that there are better ways to serve my fellow citizens, my beloved state, and our nation than continued service in Congress.

That's right. He's sick of the partisan politics in Congress. So sick of it that he wants out.

My feelings were a strange combination of disappointment that we're losing a good person in our government; disappointment in him that he didn't stay to fight for us all; and a complete understanding of why he is so frustrated and disgusted with what he is seeing lately. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty frustrated and disgusted, too. Bayh raises a great point, especially with the question of the debt commission (he has long been a proponent of being careful with our budget and cautioned against overspending): Republicans who previously endorsed such a commission actually voted against it. Yes, they voted against a commission that would address our national debt.

I'm sick of it, too, Evan.

For anyone who thinks that he dropped out of the Senate race because his seat was threatened, think again. He had double-digit leads against all comers, and he really is a fixture in Indiana politics. I think that he would have won re-election. I really believe that he has just had it with what he's seeing lately (and mentions that it is coming from both the left and the right) and can't stomach it anymore. I really do understand, because sometimes I find myself saying, "I swear, I'm moving to Canada!"

Partisan I have two questions. First, I want to know when our legislators are going to take notice and realize that we aren't voting them into office just to play these ridiculous games, to automatically gainsay whatever the opposition party wants to do; we vote them into office to actually do shit and work towards the betterment of our country and all of its citizens. This gridlock benefits no one, and it is seriously fucking up my country. Yes, you may be my legislator, but it is also my country.

Second question: Is there something fundamentally wrong with our legislative system that this can happen? That recent fuckaroo with Richard Shelby from Alabama blocking all of Obama's nominees until he got billions in federal aid for his state...that is absolutely ridiculous, and I'm glad that our President said basically to cut the bullshit, or he's going to bypass all y'all and make recess appointments. Shelby backed off. Washington seems to have become all about stopping the other side from getting things done, rather than enacting legislation that will help our country move forward and address a myriad of issues we are facing. This shortsightedness is becoming increasingly frustrating; I'm able to look to the future and see what might be, able to plan ahead, able to see what problems there might be and try to plan accordingly. Why can't our legislators do that?

I'm sad that the system has disillusioned a decent guy like Evan Bayh so much that he is getting out. But I do understand. I'm starting to think that getting out isn't such a bad idea, too.


  1. It is such a shame, that partisanship has become the norm and that bi-bartisanship is the exception. In the short term, I do not see it getting any better, our populace is much to short sighted.

  2. you know that i see things from the working poor or barely working angle and i have no idea what it is like to be well off and have the feeling that well, as long as i have all i need then fuck the little guy...or to hell with those service workers who seem to be faceless to politicians.....i wish they truly could live MY life for a week and see how a person lives, I MEAN REALLY LIVES. Because there is not much difference between those who get up and work every day and pay ALL their bills and still don't have much and a man or woman who has power in Washington and can change lives. I think i can make a difference but not on their level. They need a wake up call. The Republicans in Washington are NOT representing real Americans. Good people are hungry tonight and many are homeless and they deserve a good life too and are not getting it. I stand behind Obama and hope that soon they all learn to work together so the jobs that are desperately needed come back.

  3. Lord, Beth, I feel kinda sick behind this news! You'd think some other country had imposed this administration on us, rather than that we'd voted him in fair and square ourselves. I can't seem understand the obstructionism no matter how hard I study it. We must surely look more and more like fools in the eyes of the world. I'm getting really scared that I'm too old to immigrate to New Zealand.

  4. .... and he's cute.

    Leave it to Miss Ginger to narrow it down to what's really important!!!

  5. It is an awful indictment of our political structure and organization when a decent person feels that he has to quit because the @$$holes he works with can't get it together enough to drop the personal baggage (and dipping into deep pockets) long enough to attend to governing the people they serve with equity and justice. He's not the one who should be stepping down. And although he may be a good guy, I find him rather spineless for not addressing his issues directly with his Senate colleagues. Although maybe he has. It just seems to me that he could better serve the people (and the country as a whole) by staying where he is and continuing to fight for what he believes is right. Therefore my only conclusion is that there is some other compelling reason for it. Time will tell....

  6. I think term limits need to be a serious part of the conversation. We restrict the amount of time a president can serve, so why not other members of Congress? Two terms for senators, six for reps; that gives them a dozen years to do their jobs and get out of town. Career politicians seem to do the most damage.

    A guy like Shelby needs to be called out. I'm sure he's railed on and on about the "reckless spending" and such, yet here he is blocking progress unless he gets money to spend. Obama should have publicly humiliated him.

  7. Excellent! I agree wholeheartedly. I am disappointed in Evan's decision, but if you look at the vitriole emanating from our national capital you can clearly understand his thoughts and feelings on this matter.

    If anything, we need to walk in his shoes to fully comprehend his decision to exit.

    You're right, with his double-digit lead and $13 million dollar warchest he was sure to be a shoo-in for a third term.

    My disappointment, for all its worth, however, is nothing. It is Evan's life, his family's life that he has to be concerned over. So I wish him well, and remember his gain is sadly, our loss.


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