Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The myth of Evan Bayh

Wall Street Journal writer Jerry Seib quotes Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN):
"The only way Democrats can govern in this country is by making common cause with moderates and independents," he said. "It may be too late to regain them on health care. It's not too late to regain them on spending." To a president being pulled by some toward the left, and by others toward easy populism, Evan Bayh makes the case for driving a stake firmly in the political center instead.
What on earth would Evan Bayh know about the political center? For 2008 he earned a 70 percent rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic action, a 21 percent rating from the American Conservative Union and an 11 percent rating from the Club for Growth. He voted for both the Senate version of health care reform and the $787 billion stimulus package. This is a man from the middle of the political spectrum?

Bayh's alleged moderation is far more rooted in perception than reality, burnished by symbolic acts such as founding a "conservative" Blue Dog caucus in the Senate. More keen observers, however, know that the conservatism of Blue Dogs is mostly smoke and mirrors.

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