Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bayh watch...

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Anyone who read my personal overview of the candidates who, thus far, appear to be the forerunners for the Democratic 08' nomination, know that I quite like Evan Bayh. Beyond the fact he is an Indiana Senator, and inherently possesses more electoral potential in the traditionally Republican states... I've also liked what I've seen of him over the last few years. I like the fact that he embodies value politics. He's a man, especially when challenged, who exudes principle, integrity, and consistency. He possesses a vision of intellectual subtely and honesty that has actually struck me as very sincere... and "very sincere" in the Democratic Party usually means being to the left of Denis Kucinich.

Here is a video link on C-Span for a Democratic meeting in Manchester New Hampshire at which he spoke:

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  • C-Span - scroll down to second clip listed 'Recent Programs'

  • The speech begins at about 12.15 minutes.

    I have to to be honest. He doesn't immediately strike you as compelling. I imagine anyone who watches this link will think I'm nuts for entertaining his viability for running for President. But, in certain instances he is very impressive. The nuance and intelligence to his appreciation of problems, and suggestions for solutions slowly engages and enlightens if you have the attention span to keep listening. I like a lot of what he said about confronting Iraq's problems by combining the big, industrial economic intiatives with smaller, bottom up, economic stimulus. After all, it's the widely spread unemployment of young men in Iraq which underpins the social unrest there and creates fodder for extremists to exploit. It's an assessment that is in tune with my own about the failings of Bush's economic dochtrine generally. Trickle down economics is not the sole basis upon which you can expect any society to flourish. It needs to be combined with dexterious methods to train, re-train, raise community standards, and incentivize employment in those struggling communities.

    I like this about him.

    I'm watching this video as I write, and I was just about to say something negative about Bayh. An elderly supporter asked a question about what is the point of grass roots Democrats putting their heart and soul into winning elections, when, as she believes, the last two elections were stolen by George Bush. I was going to criticize Bayh, because he seemed to indulge the notion that the election of 04 was stolen... which is absolutely ridiculous. Bush won fair and square. But, to his credit, he forcefully asserted that he respectfully disagreed, and that it was incumbent upon Democrats to learn from past mistakes and present a positive vision for change. The time on this is around 30.00 if anyone wants to see it. It's moments like this that display Bayh's strength. His soft, but immovable stickability to matters of principle and common sense. It's stuff like this that defines him as a centrist, mainstream candidate.

    To have any hopes of winning the election in 08 Democrats have to fight an internal battle. As a party we need to be defined less by fringe reactionary, bitter elements like Dean and Pelosi, and more by a moderate vision and emotional passion for how great a nation the US can be. Yes, sometimes I want to call Republican's names. Yes, sometimes I want people to scream out angrily against policies that I believe do the country and the wider world harm. But, this is not the best part of who any of us our... regardless of our political affiliations. It's Bush's strength, and the weakness of his policy staff. Bush's sincere determination to be positive, and respectful, ultimately, is what elevated him above some of the less savoury tactics of his own party, orchestrated in large part by his Senior Political Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff. It's what Clinton exuded in abundance. And, it's obviously something I see in Bayh.

    Kerry avoided this internal battle by allowing himself to be so dramatically swayed by the ete's of popular opinion during the primary season. He gave arguments attacking the war while Dean surged, and arguments supporting it when Dean mis-spoke about Saddam Hussein. Someone has to fight this battle and win the respect of the party's base... if they are to go to the rest of the country and be considered mainstream.

    There is a long way to go before I decide he's my guy. Bayh has human moments, much more so than Kerry, but he takes time to warm up, and in the interim appears forced. He speaks articulately, but very, very calm and quietly... which might not extrapolate into a BIG voice that will connect with the nation as a whole. He connects emotionally, but, without any real, big, refreshing ideas that I think a lot of us our searching for: Some real imaginition to solve our problems, domestically, and globally.

    But, thus far, I must say.... looking very far ahead I know... Evan Bayh is definately my fave.

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    10 comments:

    NYgirl said...

    Bayh does seem like a nice guy, but I get the feeling that Hillary is going to get the nomination: maybe even the Presidency.

    She knows how to get what she wants & she wants the Presidency.

    Graham said...

    Time will tell. I'm keeping an open mind... Hillary has shown herself to be an able legislator, but, her political skills are less than polished. It will be interesting to see her on the podium challenged from different sides of the political spectrum.

    She does have the best political strategist in the Democratic party in her team, though... her husband.

    Anonymous said...

    Hey I couldn't find your email but I have a question. How did you place a custom banner at the top of your page?

    Graham said...

    I'm no expert with web stuff but it's pretty easy. Just design your banner, upload it onto a website like flickr, then enter the image link onto your heading in your template html text on blogger.

    Enigma America said...

    thanks

    Marie said...

    I gave you a Hoosier Hat Tip!

    Hossier Democrats

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Senator Bayh!

    Graham said...

    Thanks for the Hat Tip, Marie. You have a cool site.

    Royce Ogle said...

    I, a extreme right winger, could get interested in Bayh. I though, am addicted to politics.

    For casual observers across the fruited plain (yes, a Rush quote..) Bayh will probably be well received provided folks don't nod off before they hear him out.

    He seems to be very smart, principled, but has about as much charisma as a turnip.

    Ahh, someone referred to "the smartest woman in the world" Sen. Clinton as most likely to win the Dem nomination. I don't think so. Walking a tight rope this far before the campaign is one thing. To stay on the centerist tight rope, and be all things to all people in the heat of battle, is quite another.

    Remember, the left wing Democrat base will settle for nothing short of red meat in '08. "If it an't left, it an't right".

    Royce Ogle said...

    ..no spell check on comments. shucks!

    Graham said...

    Yeah, spell check thing sucks, lol. But, you don't make any near as many mistakes as me so don't worry about it.

    Yup, that's my concern about Bayh, whether he can project himself as something bigger to people. He's a nuanced guy, with real substance and principle... he also addresses themes that I think would appeal to Americans in the wake of this administration. Inclusivity, coming together, a vision for consensus.

    The battle with the Democratic base is one you have to fight to be successful. I disagree that we will get a left wing candidate. Kerry was the centrist candidate by any measure in 04, and he won emphatically. But, to be fair he took the easy way out and paid for it later on. Whoever runs, Hillary and Bayh will need to earn the respect of the base by standing up for a moderate, but dynamic platform.