Bayh’s No Vote on Rice: The Tough Choice and the Right Choice

by on January 27th, 2005

Thank you, Evan Bayh. As I commended the political courage of Boxer and Kerry in opposing that instrument of tyranny, Condoleezza, I now applaud yours Senator for joining with twelve of your colleagues in just saying no to incompetence. Bravo.

A centrist former red state governor, Bayh is well regarded left to center right among Democrats and beyond to the extent he’s known at all. He has the bio, the politics, the charisma and admittedly the good looks needed to go all the way in 08 should he so choose. He voted for the $86.5 billion for military operations in Iraq in 2003 & Afghanistan and for authorizing use of military force against Iraq 2002. No dove is Evan Bayh. He could have played it safe, kept his head down and voted with the majority of Dems on Rice. It was a no-brainer throw away politically. The left would forgive and the center wholly accept this one.

But Evan Bayh chose instead to do the right thing. He looked at the facts, then he looked in his heart. And what he saw there was the need to reject the “incompetence” and “ineptitude” of both the nominee and her blustering myopic sponsor. What he in fact said was “Accountability must be had”. Indeed. Bayh may well take a hit for this one down the road. The Ringmaster knows a little something about that. But it would seem that I’m in very good company. And I predict that both history and the electorate will yet vindicate this stand.

Now let me say here that I am aware that Evan Bayh’s a politician. And I’m sure that he did the math before casting his lot with the few and the brave. Apparently the answer came out +2008. But it was the calculus of leadership. The risk was great but the payoff could well be greater when it comes time to face the electorate on the issue of character. Making the “safe” call on the tough issues can come back to savage one. Just ask John Kerry, who to his credit didn’t repeat that mistake this time. Bayh made the tough call and the right call.

It’s still very, very early. Four years can well be a political eternity. And of course there are more than a few potential Dem contenders for the Whitehouse out there that pass the Ringmaster’s litmus, Mark Warner being one of note. But I have to say that Evan Bayh, already standing tall in that crowd, just grew a foot or two in my eyes by the mere act of telling like it is.


Kit Robinson