Bayh's red-state survival technique: I'm not with these guys!

The problems for Harry Reid and Barack Obama in getting the Senate to go along with big-spending, big-government agenda items do not come from Senate Republicans, but from their fellow Democrats in otherwise red states.  Usually, the media focuses on Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, and even common-sense liberal Joe Lieberman as examples of Democrats bucking Reid and Obama in the upper chamber.  Indiana’s Evan Bayh sent out a message to his constituents today, hinting that he may take more leadership in Democratic dissent on Obama’s expansive and expensive agenda.  HA reader Greg D forwards Bayh’s attempt to distance himself in preparation for his re-election bid in 2010:

Getting out of the red

Usually, politicians use their email newsletters to tout the benefits of government programs they voted to create, fund or continue. Today, I am emailing to tell you about the overstuffed appropriations bills I’ve voted against in 2009, because we can’t afford business as usual during this economic recession.

As you will see from the chart below, I have voted against thousands of earmark spending projects this year, including projects to study Monk Seals, combat Mormon crickets, renovate the Hoover building and recover oysters from Chesapeake Bay.

Indiana deserves to have an independent voice in the nation’s capital who will stand up for what’s right. I was one of only three members of my party to vote against the omnibus spending bill because it raised spending at three times the rate of inflation. I was one of only two to vote against the federal budget, because I believe it’s irresponsible for America to keep spending money we do not have.

Before the year is out, Congress will vote to raise the federal debt ceiling again, authorizing Washington to borrow even more than the record $12 trillion we already owe. I won’t do it…not unless Congress commits to a strict new, non-political process to start getting our country’s fiscal house in order.

Enough is enough.

Each citizen’s share of the debt now exceeds $38,000. When our deficits grow, we are forced to spend more and more taxpayer money on interest payments. That money would be better spent on health care for our citizens, education for our kids and tax relief for middle-class families.

We can’t keep charging to the national credit card. Washington needs a credible plan to pay its bills. Last week, I stood up in the Senate and told my colleagues so.

It seems as though Bayh has figured out that the Obama agenda is not very popular, and that Harry Reid seriously miscalculated whatever mandate voters gave Democrats in 2008.  Suddenly, the man who was on Barack Obama’s short list for running mate has disavowed Obama’s big-spending ways.  Bayh now wants everyone to know how independent he is, especially on appropriations and spending.

But is Bayh actually saying anything of value?  Symbolically, breaking with the party means something, but notice what Bayh’s not saying in this message.  He’s not telling Indiana voters that he will block the very expensive and liberty-encroaching ObamaCare proposal, which Reid will shortly propose.  Bayh also fails to mention anything about blocking the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill, which will kill Indiana’s coal economy and manufacturing sector.

Cutting spending on Chesapeake oysters is easy.  Telling Indiana voters that Bayh will protect their economy by killing cap-and-trade, and protecting American freedom and the private sector by stopping ObamaCare might go a long way toward establishing real credibility as an independent voice.  But the fact that Bayh has to distance himself from Reid and Obama tells us just how badly the Democrats have botched things in 2009.