"Don't become the next Dan Quayle

Sen. Evan Bayh has taken the first steps toward becoming a presidential candidate by forming an exploratory committee to see whether running in 2008 is a feasible option for him.

He's going to spend millions of dollars to learn something I will tell him for free, right now: He's not going to win. He's not going to even come close. And he's going to embarrass the state of Indiana by thinking he can become president.

It's true that Bayh makes some good points. He says that Washington is broken and that it needs a unifying figure to help restore trust in government.

On ABC's This Week, he said, "We need someone who can deal with the dysfunction here in this city so that our government begins to empower our people to fulfill their potential. That’s not happening."

He added, "If I can be that individual, so be it."

Dude. You’re not. Being the governor of Indiana, a do-nothing senator from Indiana and the father of adorable twins does not qualify you to be president.

What it does qualify you 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 and Leno 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 15 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 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.

Besides, there are plenty of other good presidential candidates already running: Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack "Borat" Obama, John McCain and Mr. Kerry.

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 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 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 a candidate who 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.



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