Sen. Evan Bayh shocked his fellow Democrats on Monday by announcing that he would not seek re-election in November. Bayh says he is retiring Senate because the Senate has become bogged down in pointless partisan bickering, but his decision seemed aimed at Democrats. Without the centrist Bayh on the ballot, analysts say Republicans this fall stand a good chance of picking up his seat in conservative-leaning Indiana. Will Bayh's departure weaken President Obama — and even threaten the Democrats' control of the Senate? (Watch a CBS report about Evan Bayh's surprising announcement)
Bayh just shut down the Democratic agenda: Democratic leaders ignored Evan Bayh's pleas for a "more popular, centrist agenda," says Charles Lane in The Washington Post, so he's hitting back with an "emphatic 'screw you'" — simultaneously imperiling Obama's "short-term hopes of passing health care" and the Democrats' chances of retaining control of the Senate. This is a "Massachusetts-sized political earthquake."
"Bayh to Obama: take this job and shove it"
The Democrats' nightmare is just beginning: Evan Bayh lost his centrist credibility by providing key votes on ObamaCare and other parts of the president's agenda, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. So even though polls say he had a good chance of being reelected, his seat wasn't really safe — and he knew that. The question now is which "red-state Senate Democrat" sees the writing on the wall next.
"Bayh will retire"
There's no guarantee Bayh's shocker will hurt Democrats: The Republicans don't have a lock on Evan Bayh's Senate seat, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. And in his remaining months Bayh might actually be free to vote with Democrats more frequently now that he doesn't have to worry about re-election. Besides, there are now six Republican incumbents leaving the Senate and just three Democrats — so it's silly to characterize this as part of "a mass Democratic exodus."
"Bayh to retire"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
Subscribe to the Week