Evan Bayh: Seemingly always on the wrong side of history

The Evan Bayh era  has run its course.  What does Indiana have to show for it?

Evan Bayh was elected to statewide office in 1986 at the ripe old age of twenty-nine and became governor of Indiana two years later.

I was nine years old when Bayh got elected for the first time in Indiana and now I’m thirty-two.  Bayh himself is still not an old guy.  It’s sad really; all that wasted youth and talent. (And I am not talking about myself.)

Looking back on how things unfolded, Bayh went from boy-wonder to a bland, corporate lackey who often found himself on the wrong side of history.   He favored invading Iraq.  He chose Hillary over Obama.  He  was “New Democrat” instead of a populist.  He chose free trade over fair trade.  He could have been a leader on healthcare reform but instead helped killed it.  .  He was also a vocal supporter of capital punishment.

He could have led Indiana, instead he followed.

This is what he said in the lead up to the Iraq war:

“There is reluctance in my heart, as I know there is in the other senators, to contemplate the use of force …we were simply left with no other credible alternative to protect the safety and well-being of the American people.”

One more note. President Obama launched his presidency when he gave  his impressive keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention.  Bayh gave the keynote at the 1996 convention.  It was bland. And boring.


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