Update: Bayh says he has no interest in presidency
In an interview on MSNBC Tuesday morning, retiring Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh said his services are “not highly valued in Congress” and that the body is filled with “brain-dead partisanship.”
Asked if he would consider running for president in 2012 as a Democratic or independent, Bayh said his level of interest was “none, whatsoever.”
He also asserted that “the extremes of both parties have to be willing to accept compromises.”
Raw Story’s earlier story follows.
Dem pollster: Decision gives GOP ‘one in three’ odds of taking back Senate
WASHINGTON — Progressives immediately responded with bittersweet amusement to Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D-IN) revelation that he won’t seek re-election in November — as the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza first reported.
The conservative-leaning Democrat was always a frequent target of his party’s liberal base, but he ratcheted up tensions after blaming its “furthest left elements” for the Massachusetts loss, and it seems they haven’t forgotten.
“After years of screwing progressives over as a Senator, Evan Bayh to screw progressives over by retiring,” remarked Think Progress’s Matt Yglesias, just minutes after the news broke.
Bayh is only one of many Democrats in both chambers of Congress to call it quits in the face of November’s daunting re-election landscape. Cillizza notes that his decision “hands Republicans a prime pickup opportunity in the middle of the country.”
“Apparently, Evan Bayh wants to spend more time scolding his family for moving too far to the left,” said Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein.
Salon‘s Glenn Greenwald, who in November labeled Bayh “[t]he face of rotted Washington,” jested, “How long will it be before Evan Bayh joins Dan Coats’ lobbying firm? Maybe Bayh and Coats can switch jobs.”
“Holy crap,” said Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall, calling Bayh’s retirement “a huge blow for the Democrats and a big, big surprise.”
Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly said, “To hear Evan Bayh tell it, Republicans have made it impossible for Congress to work on issues important to him … so he’s decided to make it easier for the Republican caucus to have more power.”
“When the going gets tough, the conserva-Dems pack up and go home?” Benen added.
Firedoglake‘s David Dayen called Bayh a “pathetic child,” summarizing his explanation for retiring as, “Nobody likes my bold ideas to cut taxes for billionaires and force seniors onto cat food, so… buh-bayh.”
Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd (CT) and Byron Dorgan (ND), along with 12 House Democrats, have also announced their retirement. The party’s sinking approval rating, along with an uptick in GOP favorability, has led to a troubling diagnosis for the fate of its large Senate majority.
Tom Jensen of the Democratic group Public Policy Polling claimed on Monday that the prospect of Republicans regaining the majority in the Senate lies in the “one in three chance range, and rising by the week.”
“I think the GOP will be favored in Indiana however the candidate field shakes out this week, and I think the GOP is favored in Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and North Dakota as well,” he added.
Despite the party’s advantage in the November elections, more House Republicans have announced their exit from the chamber than their Democratic counterparts. Currently there are 18 Republicans — roughly one in ten — that will not seek another term.
UPDATE: Bayh officially announced his retirement Monday afternoon, wife and children by his side, citing disillusionment with partisan politics. “I do not love Congress,” he said.
This video is from MSNBC’s News Live, broadcast Feb. 15, 2010.