Thursday, February 18, 2010

Broder on Bayh (and why it's far better to be a governor)

David Broder of the WaPo in JewishWorldReview...

The last time Sen. Evan Bayh was the subject of this column was in October, when he organized a letter from 10 moderate Democrats informing Majority Leader Harry Reid that they would oppose any increase in the statutory debt ceiling unless it was accompanied by a serious move to rein in the national debt.

Specifically, the Indiana Democrat and his colleagues asked for a vote on the proposal to create a bipartisan commission to examine all aspects of spending and taxation and recommend deficit-cutting steps for a guaranteed vote by the House and Senate by the end of this year.

The Bayh threat worked. President Obama, who had been silent on the subject, belatedly gave the action-forcing commission his blessing, and Reid called it up for a Senate vote. But despite winning a 53-to-46 majority, it fell short of the 60-vote margin needed to avoid a filibuster.

This was the final straw...Both parties were to blame, he said. Twenty-three Republicans (and one independent) voted no, seven of them people who had previously co-sponsored the commission bill. So did 22 Democrats, many of them committee chairmen looking out for their own prerogatives.

I cannot fault Bayh for leaving, nor can I disagree with his statement that "short-term political advantage" trumped the national interest in this case and in many others in this sorry excuse for a Congress.

He is not alone in turning his back on the Senate. Eleven incumbents have announced their retirements -- an unusually large crop. Three other retirees -- Republicans Christopher "Kit" Bond of Missouri, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and George Voinovich of Ohio -- are, like Bayh, former governors of their states. A fifth retiree, Sam Brownback of Kansas, is leaving to run for governor...

This observation about (former) governors is most interesting. It also points to some/much of Obama's struggle-- and why the country has been (wisely) reluctant to allow Senators (or Reps) to be President.


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