Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bayh Moving Closer To Presidential Bid

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) takes the next step in his expected 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination by announcing the formation of an exploratory committee. Bayh will appear tomorrow on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopolous" at 11:00 a.m. to discuss his presidential bid. According to the Star's Maureen Groppe, ABC is billing Bayh's interview as an exclusive. NBC's Tim Russert is the king of the Sunday morning talk shows, with much higher ratings than Stephanopolous' ABC show. Perhaps Bayh's campaign wanted the candidate to kick off with a softball interview, unlike the intense, tough grillings Russert is known for giving his guests.

Sen. Bayh has done quite well in the campaign fundraising department with more than $10 million in the bank. He'll need much more than that, however, if he wants to compete with the fundraising prowess of the Democratic front-runner, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). On paper, Bayh is the ideal candidate for the nomination. He has had tremendous electoral success in a red state. He has the executive experience most of his potential opponents are lacking, having served two terms as Indiana governor. He has picked up some valuable foreign policy credentials during his decade in the Senate. His centrist views don't scare away significant portions of the electorate. And most importantly, he is a scandal-free candidate.

Having said that, everything that makes Bayh an attractive candidate for the general election is pretty much a liability for him as he attempts to stir the Democratic Party's liberal base. He consistently polls way behind other potential candidates, such as Clinton, Edwards, Obama and Kerry, earning support from only about 2% of Democrats. Obama, who's qualifications for the job pale in comparison to Bayh's, immediately soared ahead of him in the polls as soon as he hinted he might run. Yesterday, the New York Post reported that there was rising speculation that Clinton would pass on a 2008 run if Obama jumps into the race. I find that very hard to believe.

The odds still favor a Clinton nomination, which I think would guarantee defeat for the Democrats in 2008. Her popularity among Democrats is largely driven by party activists' affinity for Bill Clinton. As much as Democrats like Bill Clinton, he has never been widely popular with the American public. The fact is that he received less than 50% of the vote in both runs for the White House, earning a smaller percentage of the vote than both Al Gore and John Kerry earned in their respective presidential bids. A significant portion of the electorate will never vote for a Clinton again because of the well-deserved baggage both Clintons picked up during their 8 years in the White House. A Clinton win would require a visible third-party candidate, along with a weak Republican candidate. As it stands now, any of the Republican front-runners, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani and Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) could defeat Clinton. Republicans' worst fear is that someone like Sen. Bayh will win the nomination. I'm not sure any of those Republican front-runners could beat him.


Anonymous said...

Surely, you're joking about Romney defeating anyone, AI. He's just one bottle of JetBlackDyeNo.14 away from goofiness.

Your Republicanism is showing.

I hope the far right keeps talking about Hillary and her "electability" for the next 23 months. Nonstop.

She'd be divisive, but no moreso than W.

It's a long time until November 2008.

Bil and Jerame over at Bilerico oculd've written this Evan Bayh post. For them, Evan's not liberal enough.

We'll see. His birthday is this week. He'll use that to launch his committee.

Whether he can win is another thing. Indiana ought to be proud, tho.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm not touting Romney's candidacy, but he's quite effective on the stump, and he wins big marks for working with Dems in the legislature there to pass a comprehensive health insurance plan--leading the nation in that regard. If Romney were the Republican he was when he first ran for Massachusetts governor, he would have my support. Unfortunately, he threw in with the religious right crowd in a shameless way after the gay marriage court decision came down.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't a Bayh/Obama ticket be something to see!

indyernie said...

Gag ME ...PUKE....Spit, You've gotta be kidding.

Anonymous said...

Careful, Ernie.

You may have to eat that vomit.

Anonymous said...

Only ones who truly think Hillary is the front runner, or will even run, are Republicans. Sure she wants maxiumum power, influence, and the cash that goes with, but Republicans fool themselves to think she would tarnish what she foresees as a future legacy of Senate triumph and glory with a losing presidential campaign.

Anonymous said...

Great article AL - you're at your best when you do thoughtful analysis like this and in this case, you're right on target -

Anonymous said...

Think of this: there is nothing, NOTHING out there about Hillary that we don't already know.

Rush, Sean, and their ilk have been trashing her for years. It's a cottage industry.

And the national polls consistently put her negative/positive ratings at about 50-50.

In that environment, please tlel me--how is she any different than Bush was before his plummeting downward?

By almost all accounts, she is an excellent senator who does her homework and presents thoughtful views. We could do worse in this country, and we have. Hell Bill Frist bubbled up form milionaire status to Senate Majority Leader. Shiver my timbers. Mediocirty reigned supreme.

Evan Bayh and everyone else who wants to be the anti-Hillary will probably do just fine in the wings.

And if she stumbles, it's an open primary field. Until then, it's hers to lose.