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Opening Arguments

He's done

Of all the reactions to Evan Bayh's retirement bombshell, this one strikes me as the most unlikely prediction:

One of two things is happening here: either Bayh is truly tired of being a senator right now, as he claims, or he's got a savvy long-term game plan to leave the swamp, recapture some outsider credentials and return in a few years as a new national leader for the Democrats.

Bet on the latter.

Bayh is a fairly normal guy as politicians go. He appears to lack the all-consuming drive of Bill Clinton or the smothering self-absorption of John Edwards. He's solid, soft-spoken and predictable - which for many translates into boring.

But don't mistake that quiet disposition for a lack of ambition. At age 54, he has probably figured out that the moment is right to remove himself from the mess on Capitol Hill, where Congress has an 18% approval rating, and rebuild his reputation elsewhere.

The epic battle of Government Keeps Growing vs. Rein Government In is now engaged. There is no place for a left-leaning, moderate-sounding "fairly normal guy" except to stand in the middle of it all and get mugged from all sides. Evan Bayh is never going to be president.

Considering my lousy record at predictions, though, you might not want to take my word on that.


Lewis Allen
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 8:26pm

I agree, and I pretty much take Bayh's reasons at face value. I think he's just sick of it.

Tim Zank
Tue, 02/16/2010 - 9:16pm

That's a pretty good hypothesis Leo. I think another huge factor in his decision was that his wife was gonna get absolutely lambasted for being on 8 different boards making millions from health care companies. They would have made her life a living hell.