Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I agree with most observers that an Evan Bayh challenge to Barack Obama in the 2012 Democratic primaries is highly unlikely -- even as his ratings slip among other groups, Obama has 80+% approval among Democrats, according to Gallup -- but I think a third-party challenge (yes, perhaps under the aegis "Unity12") is entirely possible. I suppose you can't blame the SOB -- it's quite possible the GOP nominee will be a still unelectably extremist Sarah Palin, while it will probably be easy over the next few years to push the meme that Barack Obama is a mirror-image extremist of the left (just because it's always easy to push memes like that).

But I think Bayh is assuming he's going to be able to take advantage of all the liberal-bashing he's done over the years. If so, he's nuts. Oh, sure, if he really does seem able to split the Democratic and Democrat-leaning vote without cutting into GOP totals, then he'll be given free rein by the GOP ... but if he threatens to peel off swing voters the Republicans need to win, he's going to be the hippie that gets punched.

Even now, the Media Research Center isn't taking kindly to a suggestion that Bayh was a right-wingers' kind of Democrat:

On Monday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez and Jessica Yellin both tried to portray liberal Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh as a centrist. Yellin insisted, "Republicans should be sad to see Evan Bayh go because he is one of the centrists who worked very hard to work with Republicans." Sanchez replied, Evan Bayh is no liberal!"

... Actually, Bayh has a liberal voting record during his time in Senate. His lifetime ACU rating is 20.70, and his 2009 ADA score is 70%. That must be what CNN considers to be "centrist."

And there's actually more where that came from --middling to very high ratings from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, La Raza, the League of Conservation Voters, SEIU, and so on, and weak to downright lousy numbers from the Christian Coalition, National Right to Life Committee, Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, Citizens Against Government Waste, and other right-leaning groups. Yeah, Bayh really is anti-liberal -- but by the time the GOP noise machine gets finished cherry-picking that voting record (assuming he really is a threat to the Republican nominee), he's going to be wearing tie-dye and patchouli in the public's mind.

In a way, it's just what he deserves.

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