Stop Obama/Bayh 08
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Popular candidates like Gen. Wes Clark and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) were famously recruited into politics by volunteer-driven "drafts." Now something close to the opposite of a draft is rumbling among concerned Democrats, as insiders and bloggers respond to apparently credible rumors that Sen. Evan Bayh retains a high position on the short list for Obama’s running mate.
It is somewhat staggering that Bayh holds any great mentioner status at all. Unlike Obama, he is a centrist Washington fixture who strongly backed the Iraq war. His red state victories are based more on family dynasty than personal dynamism. His total lack of national name identification, along with other hurdles in the current political environment, led him to shutter his own presidential exploratory committee in December 2006 — less than two weeks after it opened. This morning, a new Facebook group, "100,000 Strong Against Evan Bayh for VP," was launched to push back against Bayh, while the Booman Tribune blog outlines the argument today:
I’m hearing word that Evan Bayh has at least a 50-50 chance of getting the vice-presidential nod and that the final decision will be made soon… [It would undermine Obama's brand to pick] John McCain’s honorary co-chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. We really shouldn’t have to say anything more than that…
If Evan Bayh is acceptable then maybe John McCain’s judgment isn’t so bad after all. I might add that Al From of the DLC wants Evan Bayh and so does Cokie ‘Myrtle Beach’ Roberts. Those are two big alarm-bells. And I’d really prefer it not to be the case that Team Obama is more interested in appeasing Al From and Cokie Roberts than they are concerned with enraging their base of support…I could talk about voting records and lack of charisma, and a host of other negatives to Evan Bayh. But the bottom line is that he will undermine Obama’s main claims that he used to successfully beat Hillary Clinton and take away valuable arguments that we want to use against John McCain…. Don’t do it. Contact the Obama campaign and let them know how you feel. There is not a lot of time left before this decision is made.
Steve Clemons, a former Democratic Senate aide who sometimes traffics in Washington rumors, delivered his intelligence on the veepstakes early Wednesday morning:
Word has reached me that at Barack Obama’s Hawaii retreat, Evan Bayh‘s chances to find himself the next Democratic VP candidate have moved to better than 50/50.
Clemons, who opposes a Bayh ticket, urges Democratic voters to contact the Obama campaign with their views on the potential pick. Over at The Atlantic, reporter Jeffrey Goldberg weighs in with the kind of branding that Obama should consider: "Evan Bayh, Iran Hawk." Citing an interview from after Bayh’s pre-presidential campaign fizzled, both because "he was charisma-free" and "too hawkish for the Democratic base," Goldberg quotes Bayh’s argument that the Iraq failure should not sour potential U.S. attacks on Iran:
You just hope that we haven’t soured an entire generation on the necessity, from time to time, of using force because Iraq has been such a debacle. That would be tragic, because Iran is a grave threat. They’re everything we thought Iraq was but wasn’t. They are seeking nuclear weapons, they do support terrorists, they have threatened to destroy Israel, and they’ve threatened us, too.
Bayh skipped the Democratic primary because there was no room for a Washington establishment candidate with hawkish tendencies on Iraq and Iran. Even if, somehow, that slot is a winner in the general election, it’s already taken by John McCain.