One of the things most impressive to the Blogmeister about U.S. Sen. Even Bayh is his political craftiness. Being the highest elected Democrat from this predominately red state is no small feat, no matter who your father is. Granted, having Birch Bayh as your dad does get you a lot of political mileage, but once in office, the goodwill will evaporate quickly if one starts doing unpopular things or sticking your neck out too far. While it is arguable how much Bayh did while Governor, and in his current position, one thing most agree on, whether R or D, is he didn’t screw anything up.
It was surprising then, when early on in the Iowa campaign, Sen. Bayh threw his unquestionable support behind fellow Sen. Hillary Clinton. When I say unquestionable, he left no wiggle room or doubt. She was his candidate. Maybe he really believes she is the one, but probably more likely, he felt he was on the short list for the Vice Presidential slot, should she be the Democratic party’s candidate and supporting her early helped position him. It is no secret he has been looking to move up since…well, his entire life. However, it appears he let his ambition get the better of him. In doing so, he violated one of the cardinal rules of politics: Don’t show your cards until you have to.
Bayh showed his cards way too early in expressing his support for Clinton. The benefit of this: If she wins the nomination, he looks like a loyal supporter and increases his chances of the V.P. slot. The negative, if she doesn’t get the nod, no one else will touch him for the same reason. He thought she was the anointed, he played the odds, and he probably lost. Now he’s left looking like he bet on the wrong horse and exercised poor judgment.
Today he was in Indianapolis and WTHR reported he said the following:
“Senator Obama has represented hope and change. That is a good thing. I think Senator Clinton represents change as well. The question is who has the experience and the ability to bring about change. That is an ongoing dialog we are going to have with the American people,” said Bayh.
Many political insiders think Bayh would be a promising potential vice-presidential pick for Clinton.
“A lot of Indiana politicians got behind Hillary Clinton, most notably Evan Bayh,” said Indianapolis Star political analyst Matt Tully. “The chances of Evan Bayh being on the ticket as a vice presidential nominee really rely on Hillary Clinton getting the nomination, so that’s really important for Indiana Democrats.”
Of course we are still really early in this process and things can change. One caucus or primary does not a nominee make, but the margin by which Clinton lost casts doubt on her ability to pull this one out. If she does pull this one out, Bayh will look like the smartest guy in the room. However, if she doesn’t, which appears more likely, he looks like a political novice for throwing his support to her so early.