Home > Politics > Bayh’s next move: to run or not to run

Bayh’s next move: to run or not to run

Charles Lane makes sense here:

Quitting the Senate was a no-lose move for the presidentially ambitious Bayh, since he can now crawl away from the political wreckage for a couple of years, plausibly alleging that he tried to steer the party in a different direction — and then be perfectly positioned to mount a centrist primary challenge to Obama in 2012, depending on circumstances.

A lot of speculation out there right now about the motives for Bayh’s decision.  The more I think about the circumstances, the more I’m inclined to think that yes, Evan Bayh will be running for president. 

Allahpundit, makes a good argument against a 2012 bid:

As for a primary challenge to Obama in 2012, please. Obama’s problem among Democrats isn’t with the center, it’s with the left; a challenge from Bayh would force liberals to grudgingly unite behind The One, which, combined with support from young voters and minority voters, would carry him through. (Don’t forget that O will be forced to tack right next year after the GOP picks up seats in Congress, so Bayh’s appeal as a centrist alternative come 2012 will be blunted.)

Meanwhile, the Dem establishment would be royally pissed that anyone would try to weaken Obama ahead of a tough general election campaign. In which case, why would Bayh risk his chances in 2016 at a quixotic 2012 bid?

And why, if he needs to build bridges inside the party for a future run, would he reportedly sandbag the Dems by not telling them of his decision until three days after he made it? He’s put them in a horrible position here, not only by making them scramble to recruit a candidate but by boosting the GOP’s chances to retake the Senate considerably. Not a smart move for a guy thinking about a nomination down the line.

I have to disagree with the presumption that Obama will move to the right if the GOP makes significant noise in the midterms.  Nothing’s a given here.  The left wing of the party will be pulling him more and more to the left.  We’re seeing this now with healthcare reform.  As toxic as that is (and it looks like healthcare reform was the big reason for Bayh stepping down), the liberal base insists that its toxicity is because the White House hasn’t gone left enough.  

And independents are jumping SS Hopenchange faster than Democrat congressmen can step down.  That doesn’t bode well for Obama Democrats in 2010 or, if things continue on this path, in 2012 either.  The left-wing may be the only solid support left for Obama, but that might not be enough. 

I agree with Allahpundit’s point that Bayh definitely didn’t make any friends with the party by leaving them in such a tight spot.  But this guy’s been planning to run for the Presidency since forever.  There may be something more to this side-story than not, and that remains to be seen.  

The bottom line is that 2012 is still light-years away politically, and Obama himself may himself be toxic come election time.  At that point a primary challenge may  so not be so crazy (pass the popcorn).

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  1. February 16, 2010 at 5:26 PM
  2. November 1, 2010 at 4:36 PM

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