Thursday, February 18, 2010
The tough get going?
News of Evan Bayh's announced "retirement" has really been grating on my nerves. First of all he's not retiring. He's electing not to seek re-election. To say he's "retiring" is to assume the position of U.S. Senator is and would be his to retire from. He might have been the likely candidate for the job this coming Fall—we might assume he held some advantage as an incumbent office holder in a re-election contest, but he faced a job interview nonetheless. This talk of "retirement" is just more of the same arrogance of assumption that riled so many Massachusetts voters when faced with filling "Ted Kennedy's Seat." (Ted Kennedy knew better than to ever call it that)
Adding insult to injury —in my book Republicans (and a few good Democrats) are right to be perturbed with Bayh for the timing of his decision —it being such that an openly contested primary for the Democratic nomination won't likely happen. Instead the Indiana State Democratic Committee will meet and decide upon a nominee to face who ever wins the Republican contest, a contest involving at least four candidates. (Please don't try to tell me that Bayh's timing was inadvertent.) Maybe the strategy is that a good old ugly primary contest will damage more than it builds for the GOP —and maybe that's clever politics. But gaming the process to dispense with the same such "risk" for a Democratic candidate, it's —well, if it's clever politics, it's lousy civics.
Finally, and what really galls me most of all, was the lip service excuse we're hearing about the ugly polarized partisan nature of the Senate's current debate, about that being his reason for opting out of "his seat." If you ask me, If you want to change the tenor of our politics in this country, an actual principled campaign for election to the U.S. Senate is a pretty damned good place to make a start from.
Instead the Good Senator tells folks he doesn't know just what he'll do exactly next, as he strolls the edge of K-Street looking for inspiration.
When I was just finishing High School back in the late 70's I had quite a few heart to hearts with my dad about what I should do with myself —whither would go my career. I had my different interests and among them were professions where the work spoke to me but something of the culture surrounding seemed ugly or corrupt. That's no excuse, he told me. If you find the work that matters to you and means something, then the things you would change about that work, about the way it's done... that's the real work.