I Will Resist The Evan Bayh Puns...
... but I will not resist registering my disapproval.
When I first heard all the speculation around Evan Bayh as a Vice-Presidential pick I thought that was a sure bet, given the Obama campaign's button-down approach, that he wouldn't be selected. But many in the DC establishment are ferociously pushing him as a choice, and Steve Clemons' very informed take leads me to believe that the option is credible.
Word has reached me that at Barack Obama's Hawaii retreat, Evan Bayh's chances to find himself the next Democratic VP candidate have moved to better than 50/50.
The conflict between Georgia and Russia has been one of several factors that has helped boost his status. Bayh's support of the Iraq War and general hawkishness are seen by some as a balance to Obama's call for a new and different kind of global engagement strategy that McCain's followers consider naive.
That would be such a crucial mistake. Bayh's "hawkishness" led him to co-chair the neocon "Committee to Liberate Iraq" in 1998, an astonishing error that gave credibility to President Bush to start his illegal and unnecessary war in 2003. Look who else was involved with it, beyond the usual neocon suspects like Bill Kristol and foreign agent lobbyist Randy Scheunemann:
The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) is pleased to welcome Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) as an Honorary Co-Chairman. Bayh becomes the third U.S. Senator to join the committee after Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced their participation on January 28.
It could be, then, that 3/4 of the major party Presidential tickets, in a time of failed neoconservative policies worldwide, would have chaired this committee.
Bayh has renounced his Iraq vote. And Nate Silver considers him to be about as liberal as he can be given that he represents Indiana. But I agree with Tom Andrews - the neocon embrace in 1998 is just too much.
“He was not only wrong, he was aggressively wrong,” said Tom Andrews, national director of the Win Without War coalition, referring to Mr. Bayh. “In my view, he would contradict if not undermine the Obama message of change, turning a new page on foreign policy and national security.”
Exactly. Bayh is a milquetoast centrist who wouldn't upset the establishment and would recede into the background and not compete with the more charismatic top of the ticket. But as Swopa notes, he'd be a terrible President, and after all that's the point of a VP selection. And he would send a very loud message to the Democratic elites that they're still in charge and Obama will fall right in line. They've as much as said it already:
"The antiwar people cannot define the Democratic Party," said Al From, a founder of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, of which Mr. Bayh was chairman for four years. "I think Evan’s real strength is you get someone on the ticket who has a record of being strong on national security, and that is a very important quality to have."
"Strong on national security" should actually read "wrong on the biggest foreign policy issue of his lifetime." I hope the NYT will make a correction.
I'm part of the Facebook group opposing Evan Bayh. You should join it too. Ari Melber has more in the Windy, and he unearths this quote from a year ago showing Bayh's continued wrongheadedness on foreign policy:
You just hope that we haven't soured an entire generation on the necessity, from time to time, of using force because Iraq has been such a debacle. That would be tragic, because Iran is a grave threat. They're everything we thought Iraq was but wasn't. They are seeking nuclear weapons, they do support terrorists, they have threatened to destroy Israel, and they've threatened us, too.
Boy, he sure learned his lesson, right?