Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Does Evan Bayh Help or Hurt Obama?

All the political buzz on TV, radio, and online is the probable choice of Evan Bayh for Vice President by Barack Obama. He is noted for his experience, thoughtful intelligence, and maturity beyond his years. To many he is a logical choice for the number two spot. As in the case of virtually everyone, there are always pros and cons. Bayh brings experience, and baggage, to the Democratic ticket.

The New York Times recently described Bayh as one with a "moderate to conservative" voting record and tends to maintain such an image in his persona. He's not "flashy" or excessive and that demeanor has translated in the way people perceive him. The reality, however, is really quite different. Michael M. Bates at Newsbusters has done his homework on Bayh and has found the following about the Senator's voting record:

"Project Vote Smart collects ratings given by a wide variety of special-interest organizations. Evan Bayh's record shows that in 2007, NARAL Pro-Choice America gave him a grade of 100, as did the AFL-CIO and the Children's Defense Fund. The Americans for Democratic Action assigned him a 95 percent rating and the ACLU awarded him an 86. For 2005-2006, he earned a 100 percent rating from the National Education Association. In 2007, the National Taxpayers Union gave him a grade of D, the American Conservative Union rated him at 12 percent, and both the Gun Owners of America and U.S. English assigned him an F."

There appears to be very little gray area when it comes to his record. He is very strong in his positions and they lean heavily to the left. Barack Obama already has the most liberal record in the Senate. He need a true moderate brought to the table. Bayh doesn't bring that.

I will say that Bayh has a significant amount of experience for a relatively young man. At 53, he is six years older than Obama but has a far more impressive resume. The son of liberal icon Birch Bayh who served in the Senate for almost two decades, Evan was very familiar with politics. In 1987, and in his early 30s, he became Secretary of State of Indiana. In two years he began one of two terms as governor of that state and completed his eight years in that office at the young age of 42. Shortly after that, he became an US Senator and is now in his second term. On paper, Bayh looks like a great candidate.

However, Bayh's experience, might actually hurt Obama. When Bayh was Obama's age he had already served as a governor for eight years and was well in his first term in the US Senate. He reminds voters of how inexperienced Obama is and raises questions as to why Barack is on the top of the ticket instead of someone like Bayh. It is true that Obama needs experience on his ticket, but he needs experience that looks experienced, not the kind that actually hurts Obama's efforts.

Another often touted advantage to Bayh is his relationship to Hillary Clinton. He was one of her strongest supporters and one of the last to abandon her campaign. On the other hand, many in the Obama camp simply don't trust Clinton and Hillary's supporters don't appear able to be appeased by anyone but the New York Senator or, at the very least, another woman to join in making history.

In the end, I am not sure if any candidate will prove to be a solid compliment to Obama and fulfill the mandate of doing "no harm." However, I do believe that Obama needs to begin to look somewhere else for a VP.

Would you like to get a periodical email of the best of Kevin Price's political and economic content? Subscribe to the Houston Business Review at Info@HoustonBusinessShow.com.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home