Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Evan Bayh -no shadow conservative

"Evan Bayh is not a Stealth Conservative" reads Josh Patashnik's column today in The New Republic's online site. The latest Internet buzz is that Barack Obama is likely to select the Indiana Senator as his running mate at the Denver convention. Patashnik cited this voting pattern on the part of Bayh:
This is somebody from a deep red state who has voted against extending the Bush tax cuts; against confirming John Bolton, John Roberts, and Sam Alito; against the gay marriage amendment; against cloture on cutting the estate tax; in favor of comprehensive immigration reform; in favor of S-CHIP expansion; in favor of stem-cell research; in favor of restrictions on detainee treatment; and in favor of the Iraq troop-withdrawal funding bill. He even opposed CAFTA. It's true that he sided with Republicans on tort reform, partial-birth abortion, and a flag-burning amendment, but do Democrats really want to be the kind of party that makes litmus tests out of those issues?

Let's look at the ratings by interest groups, as reported by Project VoteSmart: we cannot say that Bayh is conservative: He started his Senate career with an Americans for Democratic Action rating of 90. ("Almanac of American Politics, 2002") In the last rating, the ADA gave him a rating of 95. Admittedly, foreign policy is Bayh's area of centrism. The National Journal gave him a Liberal on Economic Policy score of 56 percent.

Back to Patashnik, he cited an analysis by Nate Silver on his "FiveThirtyEight" blog, entitled "Evan Bayh: Latent Liberal?"
In the post, Silver argued that Bayh is as liberal a senator as Indiana was likely to elect. Indiana is a state that has generally tilted Republican, for generations. (Remember, Indiana last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1964.) Silver's Evan Bayh column and analysis charts.

If geography counts for anything in a VEEP choice, Bayh would bring heft in helping to anchor Indiana and Ohio for Obama.

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