I SPENT part of last night looking for someone else's United States Senator who'd thrown up his hands and walked off because the Senate was so gosh-darned contentious an' stuff. I narrowed my search to the era of Great Compromises and Nullification fights , y'know, when the desperate needs of Our Country were both necessary and, well, desperate: great sectarian and moral clashes, philosophical chasms spackled over by the Founders for the sake of Compromise, the earliest struggles of the democratic impulse and entrenched wealth, not this "figuring out how to pay for all the disastrous wars and de-criminalized fiscal criminality these same bozos voted us into in the first place and still going out for drinks after". And somehow I couldn't find any. Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun pretty much died at their desks. Daniel Webster resigned, but that was because he'd pissed off his constituents irrevocably by compromising their shared Abolitionist ideals. Hell, Charles Sumner went back to the Senate after having his brains cudgeled out, and this in an era where having no brains was an impediment to public service and book deals, rather than a prerequisite.
For the most part, those who did resign had the grace to take their states with them, to get their po' folks to wage war for 'em, without shoes, and to skedaddle wearing women's clothing once the jig was up. I'd settle for Bayh convincing anyone to die in one of those Endless Insurgencies for Peace he favors, without wrecking the economy first as a financial incentive.
(Incidentally, we know none of them employed the term "dysfunctional" at any point. We know this because its egregious ugliness and pseudo-scientificalism-soundingness point to a 20th century origin, which turns out to be the case. )
We need to vote out ideologues! sez the New Posterboy for a Return to Sanity [sic]. We might point out that if he's planning on returning to Indiana to start performing those good deeds he's gonna be hard-pressed to find many in his own (ostensible) party, though it is also true, considering what help he's been to the Indiana Democratic party over the years, that someone'll have to tell him where it's located for starters.
Stop talking to this fuck! Assuming he was actually concerned about rancorous partisanship, which he ain't, the attendant hand-wringing is coming from that same Press which can't get enough partisan wrangling on a nightly basis, so much so that it creates what it can't find lying around, unless there's something really important like a sex scandal or Dick Cheney sighting to hand. Is there a term that means "kabuki squared"? There's a goddam media orgy going on now because some backbench Senator whose claim to fame is Absolutely Nothing, I mean, whose claim to fame is facilitating the other party's year-long attempt to block every piece of legislation the majority proposed, says We're So Partisan Now He's Going Home! These are people who're paid to cover our politics, not a sack of turnips pondering the workings of the United States Senate for the first time. The fact that Bayh is styled a moderate, or a centrist, is now supposed to mean that his helping the Republicans halve the Jobs Stimulus bill was a moderate, hence wise and conciliatory thing to do--doubly so, I suppose, if you're a journalist who already has a job--not a facilitation of the impasse his party, and his President, had just that month been sent to Washington to try to fix. He voted against the first round of Bush tax cuts, then voted to extend them when it got a little closer to his own reelection. This entitles him to call other Senators hypocrites. He and the other Blue Dogs tanked national health care. For other people. Now the incivility he experienced has soured him so that's he's coming home, or going somewhere, to selflessly work to find people jobs. Which is the one thing he has a track record for, having found his wife several over the past decade.
These are the people who're paid to know this. If you've got to ask him what he's going to do to serve the nation now, ask him th' fuck he did when he had the power? It wasn't demanding a Bi-Partisan Bullshit Fiscal Commission during the Bush years, when he helped the other side wreck the US economy, its military, and its international standing. It wasn't demanding the Defense half of the budget share the pain. It sure wasn't protecting the little guy from predatory usury practices. Interesting how all those stances are ideology-free.
The absolute nadir of this coverage came in the Indianapolis Racist Beacon, where political columnist Matt "I Just Play A Retard" Tully, a man who writes for a daily anti-fluoridationist tract, who has seen how real entrenched ideologues have responded to Bayh in his own state, and who, into the bargain, is well aware of the sort of wheeler-dealer, self-and-spouse-aggrandizing cv the Mediocre Compromiser was going to have to explain away by November, hacks up this [as always, this valuable piece of real estate will be hidden by the time you click the link]:
I hate to be naive. But the thought that a 54-year-old father of two teenage sons might want to give something else a try, while also stepping away from a toxic political environment, doesn't seem far-fetched.
Now first, if Washington is particularly toxic compared to, say, any other year since the founding of the Republic, then Evan Bayh is one of the estrogen-producing testicle bubbles it's broken out in. And two, I hate to be naive, but you're a liar. S'funny, but a year ago, when the entire Republican caucus announced it pretty much would be blocking every last piece of the country's business, in, y'know, a time of desperate need, at least until we got a President who was born in this country, I don't remember "toxic" being the description of choice.
With that said, Bayh's decision was a stunner -- the biggest political surprise in years in Indiana. Democrats used words such as "shocked" and "stunned" and "wow."
And people say the Democrats can't compete with Frank Luntz…
Ladies and gentlemen, particularly those of you lucky enough not to have this come at you at the breakfast table: two fucking weeks ago, a fortnight, two sennights, all any of these fucks could talk about was Mike Pence's poll showing Mike Pence beating Evan Bayh in Mike Pence's poll. Fifteen months ago, all any of 'em could talk about was Barack Obama, African-American Democrat, carrying Indiana, the biggest local political story in Forever! But, then, that was then, and this is after Evan Bayh said something somebody national covered for the first time ever.