It seems like in every election since 2000 Evan Bayh’s name has been floated as a potential running mate for the Democratic nominee. In the last few days, his name has surfaced again, so in this edition of Pros and Cons, we will take a look at Sen. Bayh (D-IN) as a potential running mate for Obama.
Resume: The Bayh family name has been a fixture in Indiana politics for 45 years. Evan’s father is Birch Bayh who held one of the state’s two Senate seats from 1963-1981. Evan Bayh went to Indiana University, and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1981. After going into private practice, Bayh ran for, and was elected Indiana Secretary of State in 1986. He was elected governor of the state in 1988, and he won his reelection campaign by 28 points in 1992.
As governor Bayh was a Clinton Democrat. He stressed balanced budgets, low taxes, job creation and small government. Bayh was a proponent of the welfare to work program. He amassed the single largest surplus, and gave the biggest tax cut in state history. After two terms as governor he was elected to the Senate in 1998 with 64% of the vote, and won reelection in 2004 with 62% of the vote. Among his committee assignments are the Armed Services Committee, Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
Pros to Obama Picking Bayh: Bayh has both the executive experience and Senate experience that Obama lacks. He was an early and vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, and this might help appease any Clinton holdouts who have not joined the Obama camp. He is a centerist, who would help off set the tax and spend liberal charge the GOP is trying to label Obama with. Byah would certainly tip Indiana to Obama, and if the election is close, this might be enough to put him over the top.
Cons to Obama Picking Bayh: Bayh is a centerist in the Clinton mode. He voted for the Iraq war, and for renewing the Patriot Act. Thus far, no former supporter of Hillary Clinton seems to be getting much VP consideration from the Obama camp, which does not bode well for Bayh. He also lacks foreign policy experience and has kept a low profile in the Senate. Bayh would bring Indiana with him, but might not do much else for the ticket. Bayh is about as exciting as watching the grass grow. He is a John Kerry/Al Gore kind of Democrat.
Odds of Obama Picking Bayh: Bayh’s biggest selling point is his popularity in Indiana, but Obama campaign manager David Plouffe has repeatedly said that whether or not a running mate can help in a state will not be a primary consideration in the selection process. The Obama camp seems to be looking for an experienced national name to lend some weight to the ticket. I believe that they want to use the choice to assure voters who might be on the fence about Obama. Evan Bayh would be a safe choice, just not a very interesting or exciting one.
The Choice-O-Meter says:
(OOO 3 Os for Sen. Evan Bayh)
1 O = No Chance – 10 Os = A Sure Thing
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association