Thursday, July 23, 2009
Bayh Raises D Dander Again!!
Heading into an election year, Evan Bayh finds himself as one of the most powerful but frustrating Democratic forces in the State of Indiana.
The Democrat voted yesterday with the gun lobby while the Republican senior Senator in Indiana, Richard Lugar, voted against the gun lobby. According to the Indianapolis Star, Bayh was one of only 20 Democrats to vote to allow people to carry concealed weapons into other states. Lugar was one of two Republicans to vote against it in a measure that fell two votes short of what it needed to pass.
Bayh also has voted this year, according to the Indianapolis Star, to end the semi-automatic gun ban in Washington, D.C., bar the city's registration requirements for most guns, and drop criminal penalties for possessing an unregistered firearm in the city. He also voted to allow Amtrak passengers to carry weapons in checked luggage and voted to allow folks to carry concealed weapons into National Parks. Lugar agreed with Bayh on the Amtrack and national parks bills, but he voted to continue to allow the status quo to continue in D.C.
As far as the concealed weapons measures, I firmly agree with Lugar on the crossing state lines issue. I guess I don't see why it's such a problem to carry a permitted concealed weapon into a national park although I could totally see why you wouldn't want to do so, too. Maybe preventing terrorism? I would, however, have voted in a minute to block weapons on Amtrak trains and would have agreed with Lugar that D.C.'s rules should have continued to stand.
Of course, Washington D.C. voters have no voice in the U.S. Congress that can vote. They have a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House even though the District has more people living there than in the State of Wyoming. There is no representation in the U.S. Senate. That's another blog post altogether.
Bayh also is non-committal and sounds really really on the fence or leaning against any public option on health care. Bayh voted flatly against the President's first budget and then weeks later had the nerve to send out a letter saying how he had worked with the President in the first 100 days.
In the state where "Bayh" is a name that brings smiles to people's faces, folks tend to creep around and whisper to each other rather than talk about Evan Bayh out loud and in Democratic meetings. There's a lot of tiptoeing going on out there. As for me, I continue to support Bayh, but it doesn't mean that I'm not disappointed in some of his choices as a legislator. It doesn't mean that I can't point out where he tends to diverge from traditional Democratic values. Bayh has never been a died in the wool Northeastern Democrat, but he comes across sometimes as a master pol who is always looking for what's next rather than for what's right.
With no Republicans immediately stepping forward to give Bayh any competition in the upcoming 2010 election, you have to wonder what it's going to take to get Evan Bayh to listen to his own base. The truth is, I don't think he cares much about his base's issues because his traditional base is somewhere over towards the center right. When you get target all the independents, get left leaning AND right leaning moderates and get weak Republican opponents, you end up being one of the most successful fence straddlers in the country. Oh yeah...except for that Lugar guy.
If you go to Evan Bayh's Senate re-election site, you'll find nothing there but a place to join the Senator's e-mail list and a place to donate. Not much substance...hmmm....
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