The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

On Sen. Evan Bayh’s announcement that he will not seek reelection:

Look, this is the canary in the coal mine. What a difference a year makes. Last year we were told that the Republican moderate was extinct. They had been driven out of the northeast. And the Republican party had become a rump party of reactionary southerners.

Well, a month ago we had a Republican senator elected in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, and now a secure, popular, moderate Democrat in Indiana who had a very good chance of returning … decides he is not going to run.

The moderate Democrat is now in danger. They are going to lose a lot of Blue Dogs in the House. Blanche Lincoln is going to lose in Arkansas. And what Bayh was looking at was an election he might have won, but would have been really tough.

I think what is really interesting in his statement today is he said “I’m an executive at heart.” He has been a governor. There is only one executive position left, and that’s president.

And I think his calculation is a smart one. He is only 54. He would be 60 in 2016. If he runs again, he stands a chance of losing. His dad [Birch Bayh] lost – [he] had been a very strong senator, having [defeated] three strong Republican candidates in the past [until he] lost in the wave election of 1980 … in the Reagan year, against Quayle. And he [Evan Bayh] sees it possibly happening to him.

Look, he is a guy who has never lost an election in his life. If he wants to run for the presidency, and he has thought about it a lot in the past, I think it’s smart if he does it outside the Senate where he would spend the next six years in a tussle against his own liberal leaders, his own liberal president, having to oppose his party and having to swallow a lot of votes, which he would regret.

This way he can be independent, outside. He makes some money. He raises money, he becomes like Nixon or Reagan on the out years when they prepared a run for the presidency. I think if he wants to be president, this is a very smart move for him.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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