Feb 23, 2010

Bye Bye Bayh: Democrat defects from the Senate

by Ethan Massey

Senate Democrats began bailing water Feb. 15 when the in-drought Republicans finally got the rain they have been
praying for.

Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana announced Monday afternoon that he would not be seeking re-election. Bayh’s announcement marks the third Democratic retirement from the U.S. Senate and leaves five previously Democratic seats open, according to CNN.

Though this development places Republicans in apt position for next year’s election, it will not be the most favorable outcome for voters.

“For some time, I have had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should,” said Bayh in his press release. “Even at a time of enormous challenge, the people’s business is not being done.”

Bayh has long been known for voting and making friends across party lines. He has acted as a spearhead of bipartisanship throughout his political career. Despite his feeling that he can be better used elsewhere, Bayh’s departure will come at a time when Congress need more politicians like him.

The need for reform may come as a shock to some, but for many it has been ignored too long. Passing a bill in Congress is currently as likely as finding a leprechaun with a pot of gold.

It has become normal for Senate processes to grind to a standstill while many politicians chase short-term political goals. Even the most important issues get sidestepped in an effort to hold on to the elusive majority vote. It is time for Congress to stop looking for election and start looking to the future.

Citing the failure of passing the jobs bill and deficit reduction commission, Bayh said reform of Congress is a necessity, according to his press release. Though senators themselves are well meaning, many of their agendas are controlled by elections and approval ratings.

Also, it is rare to find a politician who is willing to cut across the thickening partisan line and work for what is right, regardless of the polls. Bayh’s absence in Congress will only make such a commodity scarcer.

Despite the difficulty of meeting the demand for levelheaded politicians, Bayh feels he is better able to serve the people in some other capacity. Bayh is considering working in some executive position, and is even contemplating running for governor again, according to Fox News.

Although Bayh has misgivings about his personal role in Congress, it is clear that middle-ground politicians are needed to even out the playing field. With the anti-incumbent atmosphere so prevalent, Republicans have a chance to balance the Senate in next year’s election. However, what Capitol Hill needs is what America was promised two years ago — real change.

Contact Ethan Massey at

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