From Bay Watch to Bayh Watch to Bye Bayh
Washington was recently hit with very heavy snowstorms, including unprecedented totals of snowfall. But an even bigger storm hit Washington last month (politically speaking). That was in Massachusetts (of all places) when a no-name Republican (outside the state) won a special election to replace the late Ted Kennedy in the Washington.
Considering that Scott Brown was the first Republican to win a U.S. Senate seat in nearly half a century, a tidal wave of epic proportions struck DC, proceeding north to the Bay State and then across the entire country. The elitist Democrats took for granted that someone in their own party would continue in the legacy of the self-described liberal lion. Instead, the new U.S. senator ran on a platform that he would be the 41st vote against the wildly despised government run health care known by some as Obamacare and that Ted Kennedy’s seat was not owned by his family or the Democrat Party but the people of Massachusetts.
The term “the people’s seat” helped propel Sen. Brown to victory on Jan. 19th. The shocking defeat to the Democrat Party compelled my own U.S. Senator Evan Bayh to say afterward:
“There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all this but if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up. It’s why moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren’t buying our message. They just don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems. That’s something that has to be corrected.”
That “correction” may come sooner than we think.
Less than 4 weeks after Hoosiers’ junior senator told ABC that his party better pay attention to what happened in the land of Kennedy and Kerry, he throws in the towel on his reelection bid. And all this less than two years after undergoing serious consideration as a possible vice presidential candidate for the 2008 presidential election.
My, how times have changed!
Sen. Bayh cited political difficulties and the atmosphere in Congress as primary reasons for bowing out. I think I can “Bayh” (buy) into that argument. Many members of Congress have been able to attest to the political bloodbaths there in this the 111th Congress.
But there is likely a much bigger reason Sen. Bayh is calling it quits. He voted for Obamacare against the will of the vast majority of Hoosiers, and of all days, on Christmas Eve. His colleague in the Senate, GOP Sen. Dick Lugar, voted against it, as did all Republicans. Additionally, one of Sen. Lugar’s aides in one of his Indiana offices personally told me prior to the vote that calls were “one-sided” on the issue. The aide would not say which way it was but given the national opposition Obamacare generated, you can draw your own conclusions as to which side callers were on.
Sen. Bayh claims his chances for winning reelection were good. Indeed, the paper that serves this part of the state, the Northwest Indiana Times, backed him up in an editorial today, saying he had a 20 point lead over a former Indiana Republican senator. The Indiana Democrat Party claimed potential victory as well, citing unnamed poll numbers in their favor.
However, the belief that Sen. Bayh would retain his seat requires, as Hillary Clinton once said, “the willing suspension of disbelief”.
Here are several reasons why.
First, the new Republican senator from the Bay State was reported as being down in the polls by as much as over 30 points back in early November. If being down 30+ points just 2 1/2 months prior to your election portends victory and then in arguably one of the top 5 liberal states in the nation, then I need an explanation how being 20 points down with 8 1/2 months to the November election and in one of the more conservative states in the country translates to a certain loss for Republicans.
Secondly, the NWI Times and the Democrats, according to the Indy Times article, have apparently relied on skewed polling. The reliable Rasmussen poll showed Sen. Bayh down 3 points to current Congressman Mike Pence and former Congressman John Hostettler. It simply is not credible to believe there is a 23 point swing between polls, even if there was a 2-3 week gap from when they were conducted. It would be understandable if the polls were, say 2 months apart, as in the Scott Brown/Martha Coakley race.
Thirdly, as noted earlier, Sen. Bayh voted against the people who put him in office by voting for Obamacare. Given the large number of House & Senate Democrats not seeking reelection this fall, it’s quite clear he didn’t want to face the voters this fall. After all, he was the one who said the Massachusetts earthquake on Jan. 19th was a wake up call. If Sen. Kennedy’s seat was unsafe, then so are all Democrat seats in Congress.
Fourthly, to its credit, the NWI Times did a story this past fall, using the Federal Election Commission’s website to determine how much campaign money entered the coffers of both of Indiana’s senators as well as Congressman Pete Visclosky of the 1st District (this writer’s rep). It reported that only about 15% of Sen. Bayh’s donations came from his home state. That would make it quite clear that Indiana’s junior senator is bought almost lock, stock and barrel by corporate interests.
Fifthly, and along the same lines, Sen. Bayh, like virtually all Democrats in Washington, tuned out his constituents. Out of somewhere between 25 and 30 faxes this writer sent him between July of 2007 (when we first moved here to Indiana) and the start of 2010, he has responded but twice and one of those times was when this writer wrote a letter to the editor, criticizing him for lack of representation to those of us paying his ritzy Washington salary. Other Hoosiers, including some Democrats, have said the same thing, according to posts on various web forums.
So despite his past popularity, all these items made Sen. Bayh quite vulnerable.
To his credit, Sen. Bayh did stand up to his own party a few times. It was obvious that even a liberal like him could only stomach so much. But he did vote with Harry Reid and all 56 other Democrats (along with 2 independents who virtually always vote Democrat) Senate by voting for the 2000+ page monster of devastation that would have likely crippled America. And that vote, no matter how much pressure was applied to him, was inexusable and unconscionable.
So no matter what anyone says, Sen. Bayh, like virtually all other Democrats, are at risk of being unseated in November. It’s a fitting end to someone who largely represented interests outside of Indiana and who was unresponsive to those who didn’t have the deep pockets that some of his elitist contributors have.
And now it’s time to get behind John Hostettler for U.S. Senate. The former Congressman from the Evansville area had a solid conservative record in Congress, both on fiscal and social issues. The issue this writer remembers him for was when he introduced legislation in 2005 that would curb legal fees from going to groups like the ACLU in the event of adverse rulings on suits pertaining to items like displays of crosses and plaques of the 10 Commandments. His bill passed the House but never got a vote in the Senate. And with Democrats winning control of Congress in the fall of 2006, the bill bearing his name never got another vote. And despite his stellar voting record, he was unseated that fall in an anti-incumbent mood.
As the founder and director of the Stop the ACLU Coalition at http://www.stoptheaclu.org (currently inactive), this legislation was very near and dear to me and I was proud of the Congressman for taking the ACLU and their ilk on in this fashion. What also prompted this legislation, among other items, was a horrible ruling that forbade the Indiana state legislature from opening up in prayer in Jesus’ name during state sessions. The decision was eventually reversed by a court of appeals but unfortunately, in a fit of irony, Judge David Hamilton is now sitting on the bench of the court that reversed him, being confirmed in November.
Also, in another fit of irony, Sen. Lugar was the only Republican who voted for Judge Hamiltion, perhaps in large part due to being from Indiana. Like Sen. Bayh, Sen. Lugar needs to be retired as he has lost touch with Hoosiers as well (despite voting against Obamacare) but that is still a few years away.
So if Indiana’s former Congressman is fortunate enough to win the Republican nomination in May and win the general election in November, it will pit two Republicans together – one who sponsored legislation to rein in the likes of the ACLU and another who apparently supports an ACLU friendly judge.
With that said, it’s time for Hoosiers to sing Blue Bayh you (Bayou) and recognize that Sen. Bayh’s soon to be old seat belongs to the people of Indiana and not any entitlement politician. It’s time to send a rock ribbed patriotic Hoosier like Mr. Hostettler back to Washington.
Can we do it and can we take Indiana and America back to God and the Constitution and from the socialist/Marxist/Communist Obama? Yes, we can! And we must.