Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tully: Dems Uneasy With Bayh Backing Clinton

Star political columnist Matt Tully writes today about Sen. Evan Bayh's decision to back Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) for president and finds Indiana Democrats uneasy about Bayh's choice. Describing state party chairman Dan Parker's reaction, Tully writes:

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker is highly skilled at the art of putting on a brave face.

He did so this week when I called to talk about the somewhat surprising decision by his mentor -- Sen. Evan Bayh -- to endorse Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid.

"The first thing I'll say is, I have faith in Evan Bayh's judgment," Parker said.

Bayh, he said, "has the best interests of Indiana and the country" in mind and did not "come to this decision quickly." He also predicted that Hoosiers who may not be Hillary Clinton fans "are going to give her a second look" if she claims the Democratic nomination.

"She is ready to do the job on Day One," Parker said, echoing words Bayh used in his endorsement statement.

I told Parker he was in fine spin mode, as it's clear the last thing many Indiana Democratic Party insiders want is Clinton at the top of the ticket next year. The reasoning is, Clinton will be an especially divisive figure in Republican-leaning Indiana, and a trickle-down effect could hurt Democratic chances of reclaiming the governor's office.

Tully offers two prevailing thoughts for Bayh's announcement: 1) "Bayh is hoping to jump on board the vice presidential train"; or 2) "As with many members of the U.S. Senate, Bayh is focused on his national profile." Tully includes in his discussion the take I gave on Bayh's endorsement. "Local blogger Gary Welsh called Clinton 'one of the least popular politicians in Indiana' and said Bayh was doing nothing more than putting 'his proverbial finger to the wind' in an attempt to get his name on a national ticket," Tully writes. And Tully doesn't necessarily disagree. He concludes: "Regardless, the announcement is classic Bayh. He joins the Clinton team at a time when she appears headed toward the nomination, but when it is still early enough to get a splash of national media attention. And perhaps a promise to get a close look as her running mate next year."

I should note that everyone has been thinking in terms of how Bayh could help the Democrats by being on the national ticket. There has been no attention paid to his potential drawbacks. I submit to you that if he does become a part of the national ticket, the national media will have a field day recounting how the Bayhs have used their insider political status to parlay millions for themselves during Evan's political career. How does a guy who entered public office in Indiana more than two decades ago owning little more than a $50,000 condo and a used BMW manage to build an estate worth at least $10 million, particularly when he only spent two years of that time working in the private sector as a "partner" at Baker & Daniels. And most of that two-year period was devoted to campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat and other Democratic candidates. Contrast that with Sen. Richard Lugar's financial standing. He entered the Senate as a millionaire in 1976. Today, he's worth no more than $2 million. Is Bayh a smarter investor than Lugar? Or is Bayh less discerning when it comes to public ethics? You'll be hearing plenty more on that if Bayh makes the national ticket.


Wilson46201 said...

Surely you know by now that attorney Susan Bayh [uxor] also works and contributes to their joint assets...

Anonymous said...

The tired repetitive EB drivel offered up here is sorry.

Surely you don't expect us to believe that because Tully said it, you're somehow validated.

You're a better writer drunk that he is sober. And a clearer thinker.

The only part of this post that makes any sense, is the statistic about net worth. There is some paydirt there. Although, Susan Bayh has contributed mightily to the family bank. To my knowledge, Char Lugar has never worked outside the home.

Personally, I hope you and fellow right-thinkers spend a lot of time worrying about Hillary's impact on the national and state tickets. Spend all your time on it. Hire a bunch of consultants. Spend millions. Until mid-Nov. 2008.

Gary, such talk is divisive and reeks of the Rovian spirit. How about we discuss the issues, huh? Where are Hillary, Evan, Edwards, Biden, Romney, et al, on: the fiscal health of our nation, this insane war, international affairs, etc.

You're seriously under-estimating the wisdom of Hoosier and national voters. They're completely "over" this President and the Rovian divide/conquer politics.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Susan Bayh earned virtually all of her money from sitting on corporate boards--nothwithstanding her complete lack of qualifications to sit on those boards other than the fact that her husband was an important politician--and the generous stock option plans she got from service on those boards. Evan has cast plenty of votes which benefitted those corporate boards on which she sat and is still sitting to this day. This practice of using one's spouse for payola is nothing more than a legalized form of bribery. It flies in the face of what movement Democrats claim to represent. This is far from being a Rovian attack.

Anonymous said...

And when Susan Bayh was a trustee at Butler University, she was paid $25,000 -- eight times the going rate for a part-time professor --to teach a single class. Evan has not one, but two honorary degrees from Butler.

Anonymous said...

I think anybody could have seen this endorsement coming from a mile away. The reason Evan Bayh was so popular in Indiana as a Democrat was because he was seen as a centrist, right? I think Hillary's a little too left for a conservative state but I guess we'll see. She'd be foolish to give him the VP nod, though, if you ask me. I'm thinking Bill Richardson for the Hispanic vote.

Anonymous said...

The Indiana Dems should be uneasy with Bayh backing Clinton. Also note that Hogsett is running the Indiana show for Hillary. I was wondering whatever happened to good 'ol Joe. I sure hope Hogsett is more successful in running Clinton's efforts in Indiana than Eddie Mahern was in running Jimmy Carter's back in '80.

As far as the Bayh personal bank account, one always has to wonder when the Senator's largest contributor has been the Carlyle Group.

For a quick gander at Evan's payola list of benefactors go to:

Wilson46201 said...

For a quick gander at Lugar's payola list of benefactors go to:

Anonymous said...

This practice of using one's spouse for payola is nothing more than a legalized form of bribery. It flies in the face of what movement Democrats claim to represent.

How downright Republican of them!