The Howey Political Report and Fox News are reporting that Senator Evan Bayh will announce today that he will not seek the presidency in 2008. Sources say that Bayh and Senator Barrack Obama both visited New Hampshire recently and Bayh saw how warmly Obama was received. Apparently, he's decided not to engage in a "Who do you love?" contest with the wildly popular Obama.
In true, mealy-mouthed Democratic fashion, neither Senator supports same-sex civil marriage. You might remember the minor brouhaha between myself and Senator Bayh's staff after he promised me an answer to his thoughts on Indiana's discriminatory constitutional amendment and then, well, never answered. (But did tell HPR that he thought marriage should be between a man a woman.) Obama, as well, wrote in his recent book that his religious beliefs prevented him from supporting equal access to marriage.
While it would be nice to have a politician from Indiana as President of the United States, I have to admit I'd rather see Lugar win the spot. Bayh rarely stands for much - other than Bayh. His supporters often defend him by claiming "He has to get elected! This is Indiana!" To which I reply: Yes. It is Indiana. We need liberal heroes here just as much as anywhere else to provide an opposition party. If we just wanted Republican lite, we'd elect moderate Republicans.
Speaking of liberal heroes, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced his candidacy this week. Kucinich supports same-sex marriage as well as full civil rights for LGBT folk. He also voted against the war in Iraq. During the 2004 presidential elections, Kucinich was the last man standing against the Kerry juggernaut - lasting until the convention. If only conventioneers has stood strong and picked Kucinich, perhaps voters would have had a clear choice between peace and war. As it stood, we ended up with Kerry - and the rest, as we say, is history.
UPDATE (8:20AM): The Indy Star now has Bayh's official statement that he will not run:
As you know I have been exploring helping the people of my state and our country in a different capacity. After talking with family and friends over the past several days, I have decided that this is not the year for me to run for president and I will not be a candidate for the presidency in 2008.
It wasn't an easy decision, but it was the right one for my family, my friends and my state. I have always prided myself on putting my public responsibilities ahead of my own ambitions.
This path -- and these long odds -- would have required me to be essentially absent from the Senate for the next year instead of working to help the people of my state and the nation.
There may be no campaign in the near future, but there is much work to be done. When the Senate returns, I will focus on the issues that matter to the people of my state and are critical to the future of the nation, including reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating opportunity for middle-class families, and implementing a national security strategy that is both tough and smart.