"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bayh for POTUS?

A TPM reader makes the case.  Marshall doesn't buy it, and really neither do I.  If he were to be planning to do so, I don't think he would wait until 2016.  If Bayh were planning to wait until 2016, he wouldn't essentially drop out for the next 6 years. That would be a crazy and unworkable plan.  I also don't think he is worried about losing his seat this year- beside his money and his rep, the name "Bayh" is still golden in Indiana.  The only cynical explanation is that he is planning to mount a centrist, Democratic populist insurgency against Obama in the primaries in 2012.  But I really don't see that happening either- Bayh is a decent guy, and also a smart one.  The power of the incumbency can crush a primary challenger.  Hell,  Ted Kennedy couldn't even beat Jimmy Carter.   Unless the economy tanks to 1930s level and we have a series of devastating terrorist attacks, Obama will not be challenged by his own party- and if that happens, best of luck beating Hillary Clinton.

I think the actual case to be made for his dropping out is that he realizes he might not ever be President, and is tired of the Senate.   Political reporters want him to be a national figure in the same way they want Tim Pawlenty to be one- it fits their idea that Americans will always get jazzed by bland white guys from dreary midwest states.  In some ways, this is giving respect to voters, assuming that they don't need their candidates to have fire and, well, noticeable human emotions.  But it is also pretty condescending to think that the ideal generic candidate dreamed up by columnists is somehow palatable to real people.  It shows a decidedly limited worldview.   In reality, studies show that 93% of registered voters fall asleep before even getting to the second syllable in "Pawlenty".  I might have made that up, but I would bet it is pretty accurate.

1 comment:

  1. I am extremely skeptical that a man with exactly zero name recognition outside of Indiana (and the obsessive chatter of an incredibly tiny number of political junkies), about the same amount of charisma, and no particular platform of interest would have any chance with an insurgent campaign. And, unless he is a congenital idiot, surely he must know that.

    Maybe he just got tired of the Senate, as you say. Seems crazy to me, but a lot less crazy than trying to take down Obama in 2012.