The veepstakes gossip machine is a fickle creature, and this weekend it turned its eyes to Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. Bayh is "almost certainly being vetted", according to Marc Ambinder, and, despite having endorsed Hillary Clinton in the primaries, he told the National Journal that he and Obama,
"know each other, we're friends, we're about the same age, we both have young kids, we both like sports, we made that trip to Iraq [in 2006]. ... We're the same generation, so we have a comfort level, but I don't want to overstate any of that. I like him, I hope he likes me."
On paper, Bayh looks great. He's a massively popular former two-term governor of a deep-red state that Obama has a serious chance to turn blue. He was reelected in 2004 by a 25 point margin when Bush won the state by 20. At 52, he's more than young enough to succeed Obama in 2016, and yet has enough years in public office to help assuage the "experience" critique.
But much like another red-state veep prospect with a pun-friendly last name, Bayh is well to the right of both Obama and the party at large. He not only voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq in 2002, he was an honorary co-chairman of the Committee to Liberate Iraq, along with Joe Lieberman and John McCain. If those associates weren't bad enough, the group's non-Senatorial members included Bill Kristol, James Woolsey, and McCain foreign policy guru Randy Scheunemann. Even in this Congress, Bayh voted for the relatively weak Levin amendment calling for redeployment but against the more hard-hitting Feingold amendment, which Obama and Clinton both supported.
Going through the rest of his voting record, it's clear that Bayh sticks out like a sore thumb in the Democratic caucus. He has a 50% NARAL rating, he voted for a flag-burning amendment and bankruptcy reform, he's "undecided" on a school prayer amendment, he supports John McCain's proposal to boot Russia from the G8, and he supported the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that Obama made a key part of his critique of Clinton.
If Obama wants to alienate progressives while reinforcing the media narratives that he's "flip-flopping" and "moving toward the center", then Bayh is a good pick. If he wants to win and work toward liberal policy goals while in office, I suggest he look elsewhere.
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