Jerame Davis

Bayh off to a not-so-good start for '08

Filed By Jerame Davis | December 05, 2006 4:56 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: 2008 Presidential Elections, Democrats, Evan Bayh

It seems that even the hometown folks don't think Evan Bayh's bid for the presidency will ever get off the ground. A new poll on the Indy Star website asks, "Will Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., win the Democratic nomination for president?"

As of this writing, 4526 votes have been cast and the answer is a resounding 74% no.

Seems the good Senator has some work to do at home if he is going to be a serious candidate for the '08 nomination. While not a scientific poll, the lopsidedness of the results speak loudly for what the hometown folks are thinking.

The poll seems to track the feelings of the Star editorial board as well.

Our position: Senator needs to refine vision and discover his passion to make a successful run for presidency.

Does Sen. Bayh need the support of his Hoosier roots to win the nomination? I don't know. It may be too early to tell, but it doesn't look good. With both the hometown paper and the hometown populace saying you're not ready, it doesn't engender the kind of confidence needed to run a national campaign.

What do you think?

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I think that poll menas nothing for two reasons:

1. As you mention it's very non scientific (only 4,000 votes had even been cast)

2. It asks "WILL he win the nomination" not "do you WANT him to win the nomination."

I think most people agree Bayh has an uphill hike ahead of him. Hell, the press only talks about Clinton and Obama, so of course right now people don't think he'll win. IT doesn't mean they don't want him to. As I recall, noone had had heard of a certain governor from Arkansas in 91 or thought he stood a prayer at the nomination either...

Rick Sutton | December 6, 2006 6:38 AM

Jerame, every time the senator pokes his head above your landscape, you carp at him.

It's getting a little old.

He's a conservative Democrat. Isn't that better than a conservative Republican?

We'll all disagree with him on some issues. He's an old friend and we stopped discussing capital punishment two years into his gubernatorial terms. Don't you have any friends with whom you disagree on important issues? It happens.

Have you ever been to NH or Iowa in the prez circus? It's an exciting lesson in civics, and I'd recommend it to anyone. Our senator is entering that frey, and he'll make us proud.

Evan's passion is evident: he believes America is on the wrong track. He voted against a Supreme Court nominee, which, in this day and age, takes raw political courage. He voted against that unindicted co-conspirator, Condy Rice, which in my book is just about golden. She's been an opportunistic apologist for this Administration's whackjob foreign policy, and she has lent a professorial "credibility" which is misplaced.

Evan is going to run for prez. He'll fight uphill all the way. He may not win. Why can't we be proud that a fellow Hoosier Dem is standing up?

Having read many of your other posts, with which I strongly agree, I'm betting that your political barometer is about 80-90% aligned with Evan's. Picking apart the 10-20% is certainly your right, but in the national spotlight, he's already passed some severe tests: he was the number two or three fund-raiser among potential candidates for the 06 cycle. Sad to say, that's the chief barometer for these contests, at the outset, anyway. The best ideas in the world won't get heard if you're not viewed asa financially credible.

I agree with SJ that one unscientific poll on the Indy Star website isn't going to tell us a whole heck of a lot about Bayh's chance at the presidency. Especially with the way it's worded and the media talking up Obama and Clinton constantly... I think most people are automatically starting to assume that Hillary will be the nominee since it's all the news talks about lately...

As for constantly carping on Bayh, I agree that Jerame has a bone to pick with Bayh - and it's a legitimate point of contention. Is it a huge difference? Probably not. But it is valid to point out the flaws of our friends as well as our enemies if it can make a difference. Bayh could be stronger on LGBT rights. He could. All of the "conservative democrat" and "electability" issues in the world don't mean a lot to me - what means the most is "Is this person a strong ally of mine? Does he deserve my vote?"

While I wouldn't consider Bayh a strong ally, I don't know that I can say that about any of the current presidential contenders and I'm going to have to vote for someone.

I saw Matt Tulley's post on Political Junkie today and thought you might like this quote:

"The question for Bayh is whether primary voters will side with a candidate who might not stir their passions but who could be more electable in a general election. More than a year before votes are cast, many theories abound. Clinton is either too divisive a figure, or assured the nomination. Bayh either has no chance, or voters will eat up his centrist, polite ways. Truth is, everyone at this point is just guessing. No one knows what will happen. For a low-key, low-profile guy like Bayh, that's a good thing."

It is way to early to even make an educated guess.

Most people probably could not find Arkansas on the map, let alone know who is their governor, yet one of their previous governors came from a no name to a twice elected President--Bill Clinton.

All those small New England states seem to all blurr together but one of their governors came from a no name, to front runner for awhile--Howard Dean.

Definitely way early to tell but he does seem to be doing all the behind-the-scenes work to make a run for the presidency a real possibility.

Rick nSUtton | December 6, 2006 9:32 AM

For once, I think Tully got it right.

Mark the date on your calendar, because I'm not holding my breath for him to get it right again anytime soon.

Voting for President these days, in Indiana, is a foregone conclusion by the May primary. In the fall, it's not been difficult for me since 1972, once the nominees are chosen.

I mean, Kerry was a national political disaster in 04, for all kinds of reasons (unelectable Northeastern liberal), but I agreed with him way more often than I disagreed with him. He ended up screwing up a golden opportunity to take out W with a completely ineffective campaign. But my party had already made its choice. I sent money to, and helped all I could, other candidates before the nominee was known.

My candidate(s) lost. Kerry won. He became my nominee, too. The process, whatever it's worth, worked. In this case, my fellow Democrats in other states knew better than me.

This story repeats itself all over the country, in state after state that isn't lucky enough to be early in the process. Instead, we let the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire have about 75% of the say-so in choosing our nominees.

Whacko. But real.

Reality check: Bill Clinton, Des Moines Register poll, 1990, at the exact same point in the 1992 campaign: 2.5%.

The 14 months after that poll were rough-and-tumble politics, largely in two states. Unless you got on a plane and went to one of those states, as a Hoosier, you had little influence.

Evan Bayh has been groomed from the day he was born to be a politician. Not a leader.

I agree it's early and probably too early to tell anything. However, I point out the poll and the editorial because I agree with them. I think Bayh is running for the bottom of the ticket, which is where I would feel more comfortable seeing him.

He's a great person. Don't get me wrong. I just don't like how he handles issues and I disagree with him on a number of issues. He's nice, attractive, and has charm. That makes for a good candidate, sure. But I also want to have a candidate that doesn't feel like we're settling on anybody but Bush again. Kerry was a DISASTER. An embarrassment to the party. I don't want to see us repeat that.

Bayh has done well as a Senator. It's my personal feeling that it's what he's best suited for. I think he would get elected to that post until the day he dies. If he makes a run for president and loses, it could be the end of political career.

Yes, a conservative Dem is better than a conservative Repug, but that doesn't mean I have to bite my tongue. I "carp" at Bayh because he's been a disappointment to me personally. I've expressed this in a million different ways. Yeah, he's done some very brave things. Yes, he's represented us well on the whole. But when it comes to who I'm willing to support for the top job in the land, I just can't get behind Evan Bayh.

Maybe his campaign will change my mind. Maybe he'll win the nomination and win the White House. But odds are he won't. Even the Indy Star agrees with me that he has a lot of work to do...

"Bayh's biggest handicap, however, is himself. It's not merely that he's a "fierce moderate," a label that might hinder him among primary voters but could prove to be an asset in a general election. The bigger problem is that after all these years it's still unclear what Evan Bayh stands for. What drives him to serve? What does he want, not just to be, but to accomplish?"

That paragraph from the Indy Star editorial says it all for me. After all of these years, what the hell DOES he stand for? I've been writing him, talking to him, and know some of his staff, yet I can't answer that question. I'd think after all these years it would be obvious. I know what Lugar stands for. I know what Julia Carson stands for. I know what any number of Senators, Representatives, and Governors from other states stand for...But I can't pin down Evan Bayh.

That's a problem for Bayh and it's not one easily fixed now.