Back in 2006, Evan Bayh spent millions of dollars exploring whether he should run for president. In a column at the time, I urged him not to do it because the most he could accomplish would be to embarrass the great state of Indiana.
Sen. Barack Obama reportedly has Bayh on the shortlist for his running mate. So I’ll use the same comments to address Sen. Obama, who heretofore has shown good judgment.
Dude. Don’t do it. Please. Pick someone else. Anyone else. Being the governor of Indiana, a do-nothing senator from Indiana and the father of adorable twins does not qualify Bayh to be vice president.
What it does qualify him to be is the next Dan Quayle, which is to say, a vice presidential candidate who will become the laughingstock of the nation and provide material for Letterman, Leno and Conan for years.
Quayle was the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time, chosen by another wrong man, George H.W. Bush. Bayh risks becoming the reincarnation of Quayle.
And that would be disastrous for Indiana. It’s taken the state 20 years to recover from the bruising that Quayle gave the state’s image. By the time he was thrown out of office, Quayle had convinced most of America that Hoosiers were bumbling, semi-literate fools who can barely string a sentence together.
There’s just enough truth in that perception to sting. And sting Indiana it did. Who knows how many businesses decided not to relocate in Indiana because of Quayle? How many conventions decided to stay away from our state because organizations were convinced that Indiana was just like Mayberry, and Quayle was our Barney Fife?
Furthermore, don’t we have enough politicians out there who are just like Bayh? Aren’t there enough good-looking white men bearing old ideas? Do we really need one more?
Bayh is like John Edwards without the charisma. And since Edwards pretty much lacks any charisma, that’s quite an insult. Bayh is like John Kerry without Kerry’s comedic skills.
He’s like George Bush without any of Bush’s credibility, charm and sweetness or Ted Kennedy without the driving skills.
We already have a senator who’d make a fine president, Richard Lugar. Lugar has everything that Bayh lacks: experience in foreign policy, widespread respect and admiration from members of both parties. He also has a track record of getting things done.
Name one accomplishment of Bayh’s, from either his governorship or from his time in the Senate. Picking a pretty wife doesn’t count. The only vote of his I can recall is his “not guilty” vote during President Clinton’s impeachment trial.
Electing Evan Bayh as vice president would send a strong message across the world that America has its head up its butt once again. We do not need such a message sent during times of war.
We can’t let the Republicans rig yet another presidential election. We need someone as tough as Dick Cheney on our side. We need someone who can bend the truth the way George Bush can. We need people who can run a dirty campaign and steal votes the way Karl Rove can.
What we don’t need is another country club Democrat who looks and sounds like a Republican. There are too many Republicans as it is. What we need is someone with the balls — or in Mrs. Clinton’s case, a strong set of ovaries — to tell the truth to the American people.
And I’m not sure our state can take the mocking it’s going to get if Bayh does run for vice president. We almost surrendered to Kentucky during the Quayle years. Our National Guard units were halfway to Louisville to give up until they were talked out of it.
We need an administration that can stop the war, throw out the corrupt war profiteers from office, fix the budget mess and bring peace to the Middle East.
What we need is another John F. Kennedy. I didn’t know John Kennedy; he wasn’t a friend of mine. But, Sen. Bayh, you’re no John Kennedy.