Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat

Blogging Indiana Politics and the 2008 Presidential Race.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Five questions with Senator Bayh

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Indiana senator puts focus of '08 election on practicalities
Posted: April 22, 2006

Indiana senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate Evan Bayh will hold a private political fund-raiser in Milwaukee on Monday. He spoke with Craig Gilbert, chief of the Journal Sentinel's Washington Bureau.

Q: What's your message to Democrats who want to win back the presidency?

A: We need to make the election about the future, about the challenges that face the American people. That deals with national security during these uncertain times and decreasing our energy dependency. It involves getting our fiscal house in order, creating good jobs . . . (It's to) not make it about left versus right. Make it about practical things that matter in people's lives.

Q: What was the biggest lesson of the Democrats' defeat in 2004?

A: That in a post-9-11 world, we've got to be both tough and smart on national security. We can't change the subject or run from that debate. We need to make the case that this administration has damaged our national security, but we can do better.

Q: What does a Democrat learn from being elected in a red state?

A: Out of the last 17 presidential elections, Republicans have carried my state 16 times . . . Winning California by more and New York by more is not going to get us where we want go. It's going to take winning the Wisconsins and the Indianas. You've got to be a good steward of our nation's security. You've got to be fiscally responsible. You've got to understand that good jobs and a growing economy is the foundation on which we build everything else. And, finally, on some of the cultural issues, you can't be condescending and elitist in your approach.

Q: Wisconsin has another potential '08 candidate, your colleague Russ Feingold. What do you think of Feingold's proposal to censure the president?

A: I share his deep concerns about the policies of this administration . . . I don't think (censure) will change the administration's policies. I understand the thoughts and emotions that motivate it, and I share his ultimate objective. I just don't think it will help us win the November election. On the contrary, I think Karl Rove will use it to fire up the (GOP) base.

Q: If all else failed to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, should the U.S. consider using military force?

A: I think it's premature to make that decision today. . . . What I think we need to do with regard to Iran is try and work with allies to freeze their financial assets, have a travel embargo, an embargo of important commodities in their economy, to try to get them to change their minds without having to resort to force . . . If that doesn't work, you have a hard decision to make. I think a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.

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