Senator Evan Bayh in case you haven’t heard has decided to not seek reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and decided to announce that the day before the filing deadline. To not run for reelection for that senate seat. Siting that Congress has become to partisan for him.
I agree with Senator Bayh that Congress especially in the Senate where it has become almost impossible for the Senate to do its business, like a simple thing like voting for Labor Department nominees, is too partisan. But the way he has gone about it is my problem. Indiana is a swing state that leans Republican and had Senator Bayh decided to run again, he probably would have won. And that would have been one less Senate seat that the Democratic Leadership would have have to worry about. My problem with Senator Bayh is his timing. It’s customary to give your party leadership about 6-12 months notice when you decide to not seek reelection. So the party and its campaign committee in this case the DSCC Run by Chuck Schumer, can find credible candidates to fill the seat.
That didn’t happen this time. Senator Bayh gave Senate Leader Reid & DSCC Chairman Schumer one days notice, that’s all. Meaning Indiana Democrats won’t have enough time to find a credible candidate to fill the seat. And has basically handed the Indiana Senate election over to the Republicans who already have at least two credible candidates who could fill the seat. Former Indiana Senator Dan Coates, who Evan Bayh replaced in the Senate in 1999 and former Indiana Representative named Hostletter. Whose part of the Conservative Tea Party movement and has a lot of credibility in the Republican Party.
So in effect Senator Bayh has screwed Senate Democrats by waiting so long to make his announcement and handing the Republicans a gift. And one question I have for him is why. I agree with Evan Bayh that Congress Especially in the Senate has become to partisan. For example apparently now you need 60 votes to accomplish anything anymore. Like something as simple as agreeing to debate a bill on the floor now needs 60 Votes. To bring amendments to the floor and debate them now needs 60 votes. To vote for non-controversial executive nominees now needs 60 votes. Like the Administrator for the GSA, the Government Services Administration, needed 60 votes just to bring that Nomination to the floor. And then that person passed easily with a bipartisan Vote.
Senator Tom Harkin, from Iowa Chairman of the Labor & Health Committee, a solid Progressive Democrat who I have a lot of Respect for, made the point last week that the Senate Republican Leadership blocks non-controversial executive nominees, like the GSA nominee, or a Labor Department nominee at first. And no Republican Senator will defend on the floor why they’re doing that. And then the second vote for the nomination comes up the nominee passes overwhelmingly. Like 85-10, like a non-controversial nominee should pass. And his point was, “what was the point of delaying votes on nominees that you know that you’re going to vote for later.”
Basically the Senate Republican Leadership led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t even cooperating enough with Leader Reid to let the Senate do its business get its work done. A couple more examples. Senate Republicans blocked a Military Appropriations bill to fund the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. So they would have the Resources to do their Jobs and Senate Republicans blocked a vote on extending Unemployment Insurance to the 10% of Americans that are unemployed right Now. They blocked it at first, didn’t defend their position and then they let it come up the second time and voted for it and the bill passed overwhelmingly.
Same thing with the Defense Appropriations bill. And I’m sure Republicans can come up with examples of Senate Democrats being to partisan. Like when the Senate passed its health care bill in December and instead of Senate Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi agreeing to calling a conference to merge both health care bills, where both Republicans and Democrats in both chambers would be there and out in the open for Americans to see, you know open government, they decided to hold meetings behind closed doors among themselves. And the White House without Congressional Republicans and frankly without the American people to see. Which turned out not only to be a political mistake, but a policy mistake.
So my other question for Senator Evan Bayh a man who’s been in the Senate for 11 years now what would be his suggestions for fixing the partisanship problem in Congress? And what is his version of bipartisanship? Is his version of bipartisanship to make a deal to make a deal? Is bipartisanship to him to split the difference? Is his version of bipartisanship for one Party to put their principles and policy’s Aside and just take the other party’s Ideas? Thats not my version of bipartisanship, that’s not the Congressional Democratic Party’s Leadership in both chambers version of bipartisanship and it’s certainly not the White House’s version of bipartisanship.
My Version of bipartisanship is to take the best ideas from both sides on an issue and to combine them into a bill in a way that makes the bill work and worth passing for the country. And you do this when neither party has the power to pass a bill the way they want to. Like the Senate Democrats being divided on health care reform, for example. Americans aren’t Looking for bipartisanship government. They’re looking for good government and if it takes bipartisanship to get it, than so be it. It’s very simple. Washington can work, but it needs responsible leadership in both party’s to make it work, or you have gridlock.