Senator Evan Bayh’s decision not to run for reelection to the Senate sent shock waves through an already head-clutching Democratic party. It shouldn’t have.
By saying plainly that he no longer enjoys working in a partisan, paralyzed Congress, Bayh is only reinforcing what most of us know: it’s no fun being part of a dysfunctional company. Trouble is, that company is our government, our security, the employer and money printer of last resort.
The astonishing importance of Bayh’s decision: an experienced, ambitious, well-liked Senator is saying “screw it, I can get more done on the outside.” That should make us all think soberly of the sorry state of our politics. As if to reinforce his reasoning, the GOP promptly issued a partisan hack-piece about how Democrats are “running for the hills” because people don’t like their stimulus bill or the year spent on health-care reform.
And here’s the pity: the stimulus bill, passed with no GOP votes, saved us from a Depression and let GOP politicians pose with stimulus checks at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. The health-care reform the Republicans so deeply oppose is one crucial step in our avoiding bankruptcy in the not-so-distant future.
The GOP-led Congress and President Bush ran two wars and vastly expanded Medicare with a drug plan but – oops! – didn’t pay for them. Their policy was to add pork, bribes, and an antiterrorist strategy onto the federal budget without once mentioning that these things cost money, and federal money comes from taxes.
The Democrats deserve a smack for the kack-handed way they built a target-friendly health-care bill, but: the GOP has shown over the past decade that it will happily sacrifice America’s future for the sake of gaining and keeping power now.
And to what end? So they can get more corporate contributions for their campaigns, and cushy K-Street lobbying jobs when they leave. It’s a sick system. We need a serious overhaul. Now.