Paul Krugman on Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN):
Just the obvious point: whatever his real reason for suddenly dropping out — everyone is still wondering — by dropping out with no warning, leaving his own party unable to stage a proper primary, Bayh was behaving selfishly and irresponsibly.
Yet you can be sure that many of the usual suspects will treat him as some kind of principled paragon. After all, he denounced the nastiness of partisan politics — while doing his best to reward it.
Bayh’s my senator and I’m completely ashamed with what he has done to the Democratic Party and the Senate. Not only has he given points to the obstructionists who obstruct for the sake of satiating a hunger for power but he has attempted to move the Overton window away from the nation’s median position on fiscal and policy issues.
His latest attempt to steal the power away and hand it to the conservatives isn’t simply a kick to the party but a kick to those people in Indiana who voted for him and have funded his 2010 re-election bid. Bayh should have taken incredible Obama’s win in Indiana for the presidency as a sign that the Overton window within Indiana was moving leftward–or at least was very maleable to that bend. Instead of noticing that, he was bothered to only notice whether his hair was crooked when, in truth, it was his politics.
Furthermore, his excuses are completely bunk. He mentions that Republicans (7 of them) who were very supportive of a debt commission ended up voting against it anyway. He also mentions Democrats dropping the new jobs bill (Reid blocked Baucus’ compromise bill that would add practically no jobs and instead create unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy) as another example of why he has decided to retire. He is basically saying he can’t bear watching the Senate continue in this manner—a manner that doesn’t work for the people of the country.
It’s all bunk because if he actually cared about what Congress does for the people of the country, he would make it his mission to change the problems with inherent with the system he sees so many problems with. Instead of being a beacon of reason, he decided to be a beacon of selfishness and an asshole.
As much as I recognize his strategic significance to the Democratic majority, good riddance.