Monday, November 22, 2004

Great Indy Star Article about possible Bayh candidacy

The article is really quite fascinating. I particularly liked Luntz' anecdote about his focus groups. Here's the article:

Bayh gets early look for '08 president race
Senator says it's too soon, but others say he's a top candidate.
Sen. Evan Bayh, shown above with his wife, Susan, has not shown much interest in a White House run. -- Michael Conroy / Associated Press
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Feedback: Should Bayh run for president?Evan Bayh Fact File
Sen. Evan Bayh
Age: 48
Residence: Indianapolis
Party: Democratic
Salary: $158,000 annually
Education: Bachelor's degree, Indiana University; law degree, University of Virginia
Personal: Married, sons Birch Evans IV (Beau) (above) and Nicholas
Political experience: Indiana secretary of state, 1986-89; Indiana governor, 1989-97; U.S. senator since 1999
--Source: Star Library research

By Maureen Groppe
Star Washington Bureau
November 16, 2004

WASHINGTON -- A few days before Sen. John Kerry picked John Edwards as his vice presidential candidate this summer, Republican pollster Frank Luntz was asked by a TV network to test the appeal of seven potential running mates.
Luntz read a description and played a video clip of each of the Democrats to a group of swing voters.
The voters liked Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh the most.
"I think he would make an incredible candidate," Luntz said. "I think he has exactly the attributes that will appeal to swing voters that John Kerry lost this time. A centrist approach. A positive outlook. And a gentle demeanor."
Bayh was not picked by Kerry or, in 2000, by Al Gore for the Democratic ticket. But he is among those most frequently mentioned as a Democratic presidential contender in 2008, even as he tries to tamp down speculation about his future.
Admirers say he has the right attributes for a White House bid, especially a political resume and style that exude moderation. Yet Bayh's shortcomings, including a cautious personality that lacks star power, could be a challenge if he tries to compete on a national stage.
"Of all the people who have not run for president before, he's the leading new candidate," said Chuck Todd, editor in chief of The Hotline, an online political newsletter. "The only thing missing from him on paper from being the perfect candidate would be actually being Latino."
The key reason Bayh is being touted is the divide between Democratic -- or "blue" -- states along the coasts and parts of the Midwest and the Republican -- or "red" -- states everywhere else.
While President Bush racked up large margins in the red South and West and made inroads in the blue Midwest, Bayh was easily re-elected in a red state, raking in 62 percent of the vote. That's a higher tally than Bush's 60 percent in Indiana.
Bayh did not have a strong opponent this year and was not targeted by the Republican Party, but many Democrats are worried their party is not connecting with crossover voters -- as Bayh has demonstrated he can -- in part because it's seen as being on the wrong side of a cultural divide.
"We've got to look at folks that can speak to rural voters and Southern voters in particular, and Senator Bayh has a proven track record of being able to do that," said Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Gordon Fischer. "You're not going to succeed in a state like Indiana without winning some Republican votes, some rural votes. Even southern Indiana has a tinge of Southern politics to it."
Polls and many political experts place New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as the early front-runner for the 2008 Democratic nomination. But many Democrats are fearful that picking someone tagged as a liberal and from the heavily blue Northeast will guarantee failure and a rerun of the 2000 and 2004 electoral maps.
Bayh said it's too early for him to talk about whether he will run or whether he has the resume the Democrats need.
"I do think that whatever's right for the Democratic Party and right for the American people will be found in the center, both geographically and ideologically," Bayh said. "National security, economic growth, making government accountable and fiscal discipline, and then showing we're in tune with middle American values -- I think that's the right approach. Who embodies that best? We'll have to let the voters decide."
The following are some of the factors that could affect Bayh's viability and decision to run:
Moderate, but unknown
Both as governor and senator, Bayh has cultivated an image as a moderate. He is chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, the moderate group that boosted the career of former President Bill Clinton. He also is part of a new group, called Third Way, which will push centrist legislation.
In his first Senate term, Bayh broke with his party more often than the average Democrat, siding with Republicans most often on business, budget and taxes, and on national security issues.
But there still is no big issue that Bayh is known for nationally, in the same way that Arizona Sen. John McCain -- a Republican who might run in 2008 -- championed campaign finance reform so that the issue now is synonymous with him.
"If I were (Bayh), I'd pick out a couple issues in the Senate that matter to him . . . and become a national spokesmen on them," said Richard Harpootlian, a Democratic activist and former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party.
Merle Black, a presidential scholar at Emory University in Atlanta, agrees.
"He needs to make himself a lot better-known," Black said. "He's certainly not a household word. . . . At this stage, he would need to sell himself to prominent, influential Democrats in other parts of the country who can be his advocate."
Bayh gets points from political activists and observers for being telegenic and a smooth speaker. But he hasn't shown that he can excite a crowd, some say.
Bayh's keynote address at the 1996 Democratic National Convention was viewed by many conventioneers as a good time to hit refreshment stands. Contrast that to Barack Obama's keynote speech this year, which made the newly elected Illinois senator an instant celebrity and even sparked talk of an Obama presidential bid in '08.
"There is a missing pizzazz element to him," Todd said of Bayh. "He's so careful and so wholesome that there's a missing glitz factor. That may be simply because he has not tried to be a national candidate. Maybe once he goes and starts testing the water, that will change."
Running from the Senate
Bayh -- who spent eight years as governor in Indiana -- would have to test the waters from the Senate, which has not been a successful springboard to the presidency since John F. Kennedy's victory in 1960. Four of the past five presidents ran as governors.
Governors can set the agenda in their states while senators cast one of 100 votes on an issue. Bush and other Republicans criticized Kerry for not having a longer list of accomplishments from his 20 years in the Senate.
"As an executive, you have a definitive record of accomplishment to point to," Fischer said. "You can say you've created this program or funded that program."
Democratic governors named as possible 2008 prospects include Bill Richardson of New Mexico, a former Cabinet secretary who is Hispanic; Tom Vilsack of Iowa, who was also on Kerry's short list of running mates; and Mark Warner of Virginia, who also appeals as a centrist. Govs. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and Janet Napolitano of Arizona also have been mentioned.
To win the presidency, Bayh first would have to win his party's nomination, and that could be tricky for someone trying to steer to the middle. He received low ratings from abortion-rights groups while being considered as a potential Gore running mate. Bayh is particularly criticized for supporting a ban on a procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion, with no exception for the life and health of the woman.
Bayh voted with Democrats this year to block a vote on amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage. While Bayh said he opposes same-sex marriage, he has refused to say whether the Constitution should be amended.
Bayh also could face future Senate votes that might put him in conflict with the Democratic Party, such as on any Bush nominations to the Supreme Court.
But Joe Andrew, former national and state Democratic party leader, said traditional litmus test issues won't be as important to Democrats during the presidential primaries as will picking a candidate they think can win nationwide.
"Bayh trumps virtually any other presidential candidate on the simple test of electability," Andrew said.
Fund-raising prowess
Bayh has shown he can raise money. He had more than $7 million in campaign funds as of Oct. 13, the third-most of any senator. He also has raised $1.5 million during six years through a separate political fund that he uses to contribute to other Democratic candidates and to pay for travel.
Bayh has received the most support from individuals employed by the financial, insurance and real estate industries, which contributed $1.6 million to his re-election fund, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Bayh's past chairmanship of the Democratic Governors' Association , as well as his role as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, which is more business-friendly than many traditional Democratic groups, have helped him build a fund-raising network across the country.
National security
Bayh does not have a military record to bolster his national security credentials. But that's an area he has tried to build on in the Senate. He serves on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, was one of the first Democrats to back Bush's request to use force against Iraq without restrictions, and has been a strong supporter of a national missile defense system. Bayh also has been part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing for a massive overhaul of the nation's intelligence network, as recommended by the independent 9/11 commission.
Family situation
When Bayh announced in 2001 that he would not run for president this year, he cited his twin boys as the main reason. Bayh said a presidential run would require him to spend too much time away from his then-five-year-old sons.
Asked if family considerations will again be the deciding factor, Bayh responded: "Whatever I do publicly will also have to be consistent with being a good father and being a good husband."
Andrew said Bayh is far from deciding about running, and he still has plenty of time to do so.
Others disagree.
"I think he needs to start fairly soon, and I think he needs to come South," Harpootlian said.
But in New Hampshire, which traditionally has the first presidential primary and whose delegation Bayh visited during this year's Democratic National Convention, Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan said the party hasn't sent invitations for its 2005 fund-raiser, an event that presidential hopefuls will want to attend.
"I think it's a little early," Sullivan said, "for all of us to be talking about presidential candidates."

Debate about Bayh on Daily Kos

I had a nice debate about Evan Bayh with some folks over at, one of my favorite blogs. Most of the people there are really liberal, so I don't think there reaction would be representaive of most democrats and swing voters.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Michelle Cottle on Why Hillary can't win

THAT'S LIFEStop Loss by Michelle Cottle

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Only at TNR Online Post date 11.19.04

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Iran is going nuclear. Iraq is on the brink of civil war. Egypt is suffering an actual, literal plague of locusts. The Red Sox won the World Series. Karl Rove is front-runner for Man of the Year. Clearly the Apocalypse is at hand. With the Four Horsemen descending, Democrats have precious little time to get their act together, and someone needs to sit them down for what a friend of mine calls a "get right with Jesus talk."
For the past few weeks Dems have spent their days (and, knowing the geekiness of Beltway types, probably their nights) wringing their hands about the unpleasantness of November 2 and what it all means. They have agonized about the party's failure to connect with religious voters, married women, old folks. They have bemoaned its lack of vision, lack of narrative, lack of a core message. Unhinged by defeat, they have vowed to reevaluate every policy the party has backed (or blocked) since the glory days of FDR in an effort to figure out how they let some smirking, swaggering, verbally challenged, pathologically incurious cowboy whip their butts. So intense is their identity crisis that, at this rate, I half expect the 2008 nominee to run on a platform of mandatory school prayer, abolition of the IRS, and free TEC-9s for all new voters. And if that doesn't work--a constitutional amendment banning gay people.
Now, let us set aside for a minute the fact that, if the success of George W. Bush has taught us anything, it is that self-reflection is for losers. I recognize that the Democratic Party is the party of pointy-heads who overanalyze the frappuccino menu at Starbucks. Liberals deconstruct. It's what we do. But in the midst of all this rampant self-analysis, what perplexes me is that just about everyone seems to be scrupulously avoiding discussion of the unavoidable reality that the Democratic Party lost because it once again ran a certifiably piss-poor candidate for president.

I'm sorry, I know Kerry came close. I know he gave a helluva debate performance. I know he tried really hard to convince Middle America that he would recognize Dale Earnhardt Jr. if the bad boy of NASCAR spent an afternoon doing doughnuts on his front lawn. But the fact remains that JFK2 was a terrible choice for Democrats, especially now, especially against this president.
Having written ad nauseum about why this is so, I won't bore everyone with a detailed recap. Suffice it to say that the senator brought nothing--zero, zilch, nada--to the table that would actively appeal to any voter beyond the safe bicoastal blue zones. (Even poor Dick Gephardt, eternally handicapped by his lack of eyebrows, might have made inroads into the Midwest.) Hey, there's no need to take my word on the matter: Über-handicapper Charlie Cook was offering this same assessment less than a week before Election Day.
Thus far, however, most people seem to be holding their tongues about this core truth. Maybe it's too soon, and Dems are allowing Kerry a little time to heal. Maybe Republicans are hoping Dems screw up and run him again in 2008. But my suspicion is that everyone is still so awed by Kerry's coming so close, by his outperforming all expectations, that they have completely forgotten why expectations were so low to begin with: because he was a lousy candidate.
Ordinarily I'm not the kind of gal to kick a guy when he's down--at least not unless I'm pretty sure he's so far down he ain't getting back up. But I make an exception in Kerry's case because, while Democrats are busy reflecting, they need to carefully consider the costs of disregarding a candidate's basic likeability. (Not to be confused with his IQ or experience or fundraising clout or height.) Dems can rework their policies and narrative and meta-message all they want, but if they don't learn to pick a contender with a common touch and a broad appeal--meaning someone who can relate to the masses outside the Delta Shuttle corridor--they are going to wind up wandering in the wilderness far longer than Moses.
Most importantly, the party would do well to come to grips with this electoral reality now, before it finds itself staring down the barrel of an even grander presidential disaster. I speak, of course, of Hillary '08.
Since Election Day, I have suffered through multiple discussions with giddy conservatives all but drooling over a Hillary run. They--like most liberals I know--all assume Senator Clinton is the horse to beat in 2008. But unlike discussions with liberals, my Hillary chats with conservatives typically begin with a variation on, Have your people gone completely insane? I'd like to take offense, but I can't, because nominating Hillary would be insanity. It's not that she's a bad gal. And she's surprised most of the Beltway crowd by turning out to be a relatively moderate, low-key, collegial, workhorse senator. Factoring in her high name recognition, her mythic status with the base, her ability to energize female voters, and, of course, her easy access to the greatest natural politician of our time, it's easy to see Hillary's appeal. Looked at rationally, she'd make a crackerjack presidential candidate.
But the American public is not rational about anyone with the last name Clinton. If you thought the Republican base was energized this year, just give them the chance to vote against that uppity Clinton girl. The GOP possibilities for fund-raising, not to mention creative attack ads, are mind-boggling.
At minimum, Hillary starts with some 40 percent of the country dead-set against her. Granted, an equal number would start out in her corner. But it's hard to see how she unloads all of her baggage in order to reach enough mushy-middle voters to win. The political class may now think of Hillary as a moderate legislator. But the bulk of the electorate, all those folks who won't tune into the race until after Labor Day '08, will be voting on Hillary the icon. Think headbands and cookie-baking. Think Vince Foster and the Rose law firm billing records and the health care debacle. Washington understands that Hillary has grown, but it will be much tougher to convince Middle America. (And let's face it: Her status as a senator from the ultra-uppity, Yankee state of New York is unlikely to help.)
Bush was unquestionably a polarizing figure this election. But it bears recalling that he initially came to power not by energizing his base, but by projecting an aggressively non-polarizing image that drew swing voters to his corner. (He also got a little help from stupid Floridians and the U.S. Supreme Court, but it's considered bad form to mention all that now.)
If Dems have any hope of performing better in 2008, they need to rally around a candidate who won't freak out the GOP base, even as he or she reassures wary swing voters that Democrats aren't the godless, convictionless, condescending, out-of-touch cultural aliens that Karl Rove claims. It's still too early for anyone to know who that candidate is yet. But I damn sure know who it ain't.

A bit about Bayh

Evan Bayh was born on Decmber 26th, 1955. His father, Birch, was a Senator from Indiana. Evan Bayh was from 1989-1997 governor of Indiana. He was elected to the Senate in 1998 and was reelected November 2nd with 62% of the vote in a state that gave Bush 60%. Senator Bayh isa well known centrist Democrat. He is the chairman of the DLC, a group of centrist Democrats once led by Bill Clinton. Bayh serves on the He serves on the Intelligence Committee, the Armed Services Committee, the Aging Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Small Business Committee, and the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. In 1996, he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Bayh votes against Presidential Yacht

Yesterday, Congress passed a huge spending bill which appropriated 2 million dollars for the purchase of a presidential yacht. Sen. Evan Bayh voted against this bill, which Sen. McCain said was filled with "unnecessary and wasteful" " pork-barrel projects." The bill cost the American Tax-payer $388 billion. Hillary Clinton voted for the bill.

Bayh's Positions

Evan Bayh is neither liberal nor conservative. He is a leading proponent of the Third Way movement. He chairs the Democratic Leadership Council. Please check out this link to see how he's voted on the major issues.

Why Bayh is the Best

Here's a run through of possible Democratic Candidates in 2008.

1. Hillary Clinton- I am not and will never be a Hillary Hating Democrat. I believe such Democrats take GOP propaganda a little too seriously. Nor do I believe she's too liberal to win. In fact, her record has been one of muscular centrism. But I do believe there is a perception that Hillary is very liberal. Her being from New York is also not a help. Simply put, I think she'd be easily labeled and defined by the GOP. Additionally, I'm not a big fan of a couple of families ruling the country.

2. John Kerry- There are already rumors that Senator Kerry may run again in 2008. I truly admire Senator Kerry. I was not simply an Anybody but Bush guy; I actually wanted Kerry to be President. Nor do I think John Kerry is a liberal or a flip flopper. But the image is there and I imagine that it will stay.

3. John Edwards- =I don't like John Edwards. First, he seems really fake. During the VP debates, he kept on saying things about experience that you could tell had been rehearsed beforehand since the question wasn't about experience. Also, during one of the primary debates, he didn't know what the Defense of Marriage Act was. I think he's a real lightweight. I also don't agree with him on free trade.

4. Howard Dean- I like Howard Dean. He's a centrist who will forever be seen as a leftist. I think "the scream" dooms any future chance of winning.

5. Mark Warner- Mark Warner would be my second choice. He's a centrist, southern Democratic Governor who can win the rural vote. But there are a few problems. First, he lacks foreign policy experience. Second, he lacks experience in general. Third, he's incredibly wealthy, which I don't think helped John Kerry very much. I think a Bayh/ Warner ticket would be difficult to beat.

6. Barack Obama- I love Barack Obama but I think he'd be better served by getting a bit more experience before a presidential run. He'd also make a great VP candidate.

7. Michael Easley- I think Gov. Michael Easley of North Carolina would also be a good candidate. A problem again is a lack of foreign policy experience. Also, I think NC will be red regardless of the candidate, though I may be wrong. Also, Bayh is a bit more telegenic than Easley and a bit younger.

Evan Bayh for President

Bayh2008 is dedicated to the election of Evan Bayh of Indiana to the presidency in 2008. Senator Bayh is in no way involved with the creation or administration of this blog.