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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Only the Good Die Young

Two term Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has decided not to seek a third term in office, despite an almost guaranteed re-election. Story link HERE.

I watched clips from his news conference, where he extolled the virtues of public service, but the coda to that snippet was a blunt "...I do not love Congress". This was followed by a brief script that most Americans who aren't rabid partisans could write, dealing with the lack of bi-partisanship in Congress and Washington DC.

While I don't advocate quitting, it's hard to find fault in not wanting to be swimming in the toxic waste that is Washington DC. Senator Bayh is a very bright guy, so I'm sure he will do well in the future for himself and his family.

The larger issue here continues to be the notion that the fringes in the American political environment, as evidenced by extremes such as radio-comedian Rush Limbaugh (who IS a political leader...just has RNC Chair Steele) on the right and folks such as Nancy Pelosi on the left. Both preach to willing crowds about how bi-partisanship is fine, as long as you don't "sacrifice your values". "Sacrificing your values" is code for "I'll agree with you as long as you a don't say anything I disagree with". The sad reality is that the answers are seldom find at either extreme of the political agenda. Extreme partisans do serve a useful purpose in American politics: I think they create the bumpers by which we as an electorate can see the landscape of choices we enjoy. The fringe though isn't where the best path is usually found.

I doubt that Senator Bayh's departure from the Senate will do anything to change the horribly partisan nature of Washington DC, where people seem to earn their living by demonizing others (while not in Washington, think about Limbaugh's act: if he wasn't demonizing those he disagreed with, he'd have no act). In fact, I think things are going to get far worse before they get better.

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