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Evan Bayh lashes out at Congress, gridlock

Washington, DC—In a sign that political paralysis in Congress is taking a toll on its own members, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) on Monday unexpectedly announced he would not run for reelection this year, blasting the Senate for its recent failure to address major issues like reducing unemployment and the federal deficit.

“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned,” said Bayh, whose decision to step down was all the more surprising because he appeared almost certain to be reelected to a third term in November even though he represents a predominantly Republican state.

“There is too much partisanship and not enough progress—too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving,” Bayh said in a statement. “Even at a time of enormous challenge, the people’s business is not being done.”

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Bayh blamed “so-called centrist Democrats” for enabling Republican obstructionism, claiming that they were exploiting Senate filibuster rules to extract concessions that capitulate to capricious Republican demands and water down White House initiatives.  “A handful of ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats in both chambers did all they could to blunt Obama’s agenda, block meaningful health care reform, and reinforce the image of the Democrats as a party unable to govern,” Bayh said.  “The Republicans couldn’t have done it all by themselves—they needed the help of a key group of Democrats who were willing to repeat their talking points and serve as all-purpose concern trolls.  Some of them did it for personal gain, some for sheer pettiness, but it doesn’t matter what their motives were.  What matters is that they have effectively sealed the Democrats’ fate for the foreseeable future.”

Bayh refused to name specific members of Congress in the statement, but a senior aide said privately that Bayh was “especially furious” at Senate Democrats who pose publicly as “deficit hawks” but vote repeatedly to lower tax rates on the very rich.  “Evan wants those people out of the Senate altogether,” said the aide, “and he wants them out now.”

Posted by on 02/16 at 11:39 AM
  1. I still think the way to overcome gridlock is to force a real filibuster and then blast the final 38 seconds or so of RATM’s “Killing in the name of” into the senate chamber on a continuous loop.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  02:54 PM
  2. The addendum would have to be something like: “Bayh condemns his own obstructionism and resigns in an act of onanistic protest.” Or something to that effect.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  05:20 PM
  3. "In conclusion, I didn’t leave bipartisanship, bipartisanship left me.”

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  05:51 PM
  4. In other news, most of those leaving the legislature are doing so because they can no longer afford it.  They are already vested in their retirement and full benefits package, and they are seeing that those in their late 60s and early 70s are getting sicker and sicker each term.  Now that the SCOTUS has ruled in corporations favor, there will be dozens of lobbying jobs available starting at a cool million per, and these Senators and Congresspersons are looking to cash in big.  I think more will be taking the corporate revolving door as well.  Now back to our regularly scheduled rants.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  06:14 PM
  5. Actually, syder, I think Bayh is running for president.  He’s going to put together a grand coalition of the center to replace the tired old platitudes of left and right with the sort of practical bipartisanship we can believe in.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  06:24 PM
  6. Unity ‘12!  Bayh/Bloomberg! 

    Feel the excitement.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  06:48 PM
  7. "all purpose concern trolls”

    Now there is a party just waiting to happen.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  09:07 PM
  8. Indeed.  And I do believe that this marks the first time the phrase “concern trolls” has been used in an official statement by a sitting Senator.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  09:14 PM
  9. I’m fairly sure it is the first time the phrase has been used outside of a mother’s basement.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  09:22 PM
  10. Heck,
    that’s nice Professor.
    I just came over for the Hockey.
    Now I guess I have to pop over and see
    what the fashionable tenure committee members are packing.

    Back in a few.

    C

    Posted by Poicephalus  on  02/16  at  10:12 PM
  11. The problem with the jobs bill was that it didn’t acknowledge that only the private sector can create jobs. Many companies would be hiring except for the high cost of postage. If the jobs bill only contained reduced or free postage for corporation then surely it would have received wide bipartisan support.

    Posted by  on  02/16  at  10:37 PM
  12. Shorter NY Times: You call it concern trolling we call it front-page news.

    Senator Evan Bayh’s comments this week about a dysfunctional Congress reflected a complaint being directed at Washington with increasing frequency, and there is broad agreement among critics about Exhibit A: The unwillingness of the two parties to compromise to control a national debt that is rising to dangerous heights.

    The Grey Lady, she ain’t what she used to be.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  09:53 AM
  13. That’s some high quality snark there.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  10:00 AM
  14. I, for one, applaud Bayh’s selfless act of virtual defenestration although seeing his aides actually throw him from the roof (rather than the window; height is important) of the Senate building would have been more selfless of him and entertaining for me. And speaking of selfless, does the Evan get to keep the reported $13 million in his campaign fund? That would certainly help him with groceries and all while he looks for another job with healthcare benefits.

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  02:48 PM
  15. Tom,

    I think he can roll the 13M into his presidential campaign without penalty. Or… he could donate it to Haiti relief ????

    Posted by  on  02/17  at  05:49 PM
  16. He’s the Sarah Palin of his party.
    Now for the lectures and book tours.

    Posted by Hattie  on  02/17  at  06:29 PM
  17. So as usual David Broder has far surpassed what anyone could have produced snark-wise. I won’t link to it since my new goal in life is to survive the Post, but it’s really amazing.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  02:46 AM
  18. I interrupt to mention that praise needs to be given to CNBC and MSNBC for showing all of the Olympic hockey matches, regardless of the time of day.  Eighteen to twenty hours of hockey, men and women, is great for the sport and for Olympic fans.  The mash up with curling just makes it all good.  And now back to the snark.

    Posted by  on  02/18  at  09:54 PM
  19. Well, I for one am disgusted at all this partisan hockey, where the players are concerned only about scoring points for their side.  It’s time for them to put down their sticks and skate together for the good of the entire community.

    Posted by  on  02/19  at  10:38 AM

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