And Another Dem Bites It. Like Flies, I Tells Ya! UPDATED
posted at 9:03 pm on February 15, 2010 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Now it’s Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN, 70%) announcing he won’t run for reelection:
In his remarks, Mr. Bayh expressed frustration at what he described as an increasingly polarized atmosphere in Washington that made it impossible to get anything done.
“For some time, I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should,” he said. “There is much too much partisanship and not enough progress. Too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem solving.”
This was a Senate seat that the Democrats already marked down as a dead-cert hold; but now it’s just one more open seat in a state that went for Barack H. Obama by the narrowest of margins (50-49) in the heavily Democratic year of 2008. But that was thirteen months and a thousand years ago; a poll of Obama’s support in Indiana today would find probably find 35%-40% job approval, with even lower marks for Congress.
Conservative former Republican Sen. Dan Coats (Wolf Howling’s best friend!) was already edging his way into the race against Bayh; with Bayh out, the edging will likely turn into a sprint, and then a stampede, as several other Republicans join the wild hunt. Indiana is now an excellent opportunity for another Republican pickup.
Reading between the lines, I don’t believe Bayh is leaving because he thinks he can’t win; rather, he’s leaving because he’s disenchanted by today’s Democratic Party:
He cited two recent examples of the Senate not stepping up – the voting down of a bipartisan commission to deal with the federal deficit and the stymied attempt to craft a jobs bill….
Mr. Bayh had been growing increasingly discontent with the Senate, an associate said, and told some advisers in 2006, when he briefly explored a presidential bid, that he did not know whether he would seek re-election to the Senate. He was seen by some fellow Democrats as someone who was not very active in the chamber on a daily basis. He often popped in for votes and was quickly gone, only occasionally giving floor speeches. He was also known to make time for the school and sports events of his children. [Great Scott, sounds like a conservative! — DaH]
In the past two years, Mr. Bayh has been focused on budget and fiscal issues and frustrated some of his colleagues by balking at the Democratic budget proposals. According to analysis by The Times of Mr. Bayh’s voting history, he has voted with a majority of the Democratic caucus roughly 71 percent of the time during the 111th Congress — the lowest percentage of his career. (He has also been the Senate Democrat least likely to vote with the party this Congress.)
We may be seeing the beginning of a flood of disenchanted Democrats, the radioactive fallout of the Obamacle’s scorched-earth radicalism: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 85% Dem) was driven out of the party for being insufficiently belligerent and bellicose; Majority Leader Harry “Pinky” Reid (D-Caesar’s Palace, 70%) has moved sharply to the left since the inauguration; Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%) is practically running the Senate. Many Democrats who are not in Ted Kennedy-land must be finding the environment much like Yellowstone National Park: scalding hot and stinking like rotten eggs.
They’ve seen Republicans retake seats that switched to the Democrats in 2008; and in some cases, like Scott Brown grabbing Kennedy’s seat, winning seats that have been Democratic since the Cretaceous Period. Like the dinosaurs of that time, Democrats are starting to go politically extinct.
Keep watching the skies, and expect more and more defections, rejections, and insurrections over the next couple of months; 2010 could turn out to be a bigger year for the GOP than 1994.
UPDATE: John Hinderaker at Power Line passes along a rumor that the next Democratic senator out the door will be Barbara Mikulski (D-MD, 95%). The skies, I tells ya; keep watching the skies!
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…