Confessions of a Hoosier Democrat

Blogging Indiana Politics and the 2008 Presidential Race.

Friday, May 26, 2006

NAY I say!

Sen Bayh showed that he holds civil liberties dear by casting his vote in opposition of Gen Hayden's nomination for CIA Chief. Sen Bayh was one of only 15 Senators to vote No.
Of course undoubtably those on the right will call him an ultra-liberal while those on the left will continue to claim that he is a Republican in Democratic clothing.

He's neither. He's a moderate Democrat who believes we don't have to trade liberty for security.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bayh and the Bloggers

Senator Bayh met with about a dozen Indiana-area bloggers on Monday to talk to them directly. IMNSHO the Senator needs to do more of this and often. The mainstream media may be where a majority of the public gets their information... but they're not the ones who generate buzz about a candidacy. It's the blogosphere. We can see the evidence of that by looking at the presumptive candidacy of Sen Feingold. Feingold is liberal, or rather he's LIBERAL. Personally I don't think that's a bad thing, I think Sen Feingold is a great Senator. But President, I don't think so. But look at any online poll out there and Sen Feingold will be at the top, most notably DailyKos.

The Blogosphere won't break a candidate... it won't make a candidate either. 3 years ago the blogosphere was all a twitter about Gov Dean and that propelled him to the front of the race for the nomination. But it couldn't sustain him. A healthy candidacy needs to capture the imagination of the Blogosphere as well as do all the things a conventional candidate does.

Ok... I seem to have strayed a little bit from my orginal topic... Monday's Blogger's Luncheon. As fate would have it, I was unable to get off of work to attend (I'm still rather peeved... Brian, Andy and Chris!). Advance Indiana, In The Agora, Bilerico, Indiana Barrister, Left of Centrist, Taking Down Words, Fort Wayne Observed, Indiana Blog Review, Indiana Progressives, Shakespeare's Sister , Torpor Indy , Reverent and Free and HoosierPlew...

I'm not going to go into a review of the meeting, it would be presumptuous of me to assume I could do a better job than the above bloggers did, especially considering I wasn't even there. But I think it's outstanding that the Senator would take time out of his day to meet with us. Shows he's forward thinking.

As a side note... at least one member of the MSM is maybe a little jealous... WISH-TV's Jim Shella...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Noticing a trend...

I've been noticing a trend with people writing about their experiences at a Bayh event. More often than not the writer tells how it was his first experience seeing Senator Bayh in person and how he was pleasantly surprised with the Senator. Most recently it was The Jackal of The Woodbury Democrat:
I wasn’t prepared to be so impressed.

I figured Evan Bayh had something going for him. He had served two terms as governor of Indiana and was easily re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 even though President Bush clobbered Kerry in the state. But I thought a large part of his career might stem solely from being the son of a political icon, Birch Bayh, who served in the U.S. Senate and ran for president in 1976.

But Evan Bayh made the most of his first impression in Sioux City Saturday night, speaking as part of the Woodbury County Democratic Party’s Truman Club.

He played to the crowd, pointing out that he knows things have reached bottom because the other day he saw a “Never Thought I'd Miss Nixon” bumper sticker. He came across as more of a political heavyweight than namesake lightweight as he explained his stance on issues from Medicare to national security to Iraq. And there was no question that he has the charisma for the national stage.
And the best news for Bayh is that he accomplished his mission Saturday. Most people left the gathering impressed. It would not be hard to imagine Bayh on the national ticket.

He's not the first one to say similiar things... Brad Levinson at the AIPAC Dinner:
But I was truly, pleasantly surprised by Evan Bayh. Before I saw him speak, I've gotta say that I thought he wouldn't get anywhere in the primaries. After this, i feel like I've truly got to re-evaluate.
What struck me the most was his polished presence. Eye contact, correct hand gestures, and a really natural feel to his delivery. Even when the stage lights went out and the lighting staff had to put up intense exit lights directly onto him, he didn't flinch. Elizabeth, my girlfriend didn't even notice that technical difficulties had occurred because Bayh didn't hesitate for a second on continuing his speech. He remained completely uninterrupted.
Most importantly -- he stayed. Greeted people as we were all walking out, took pictures, everything. He shook my hand, and I told him that I could very well wear my "Bayh! 2008" after that speech. "Bless your heart," he replied.

CH Truth at Coldheartedtruth:
Yesterday I watched Indiana Senator Evan Bayh on Fox News Sunday. Bayh (who is running for the Democratic nomination) was a breath of fresh air in a party that usually has me choking on their collective fumes. He was just so refreshingly un-shrill about pretty much every subject that Chris Wallace brought up that it made me wonder if he is really a Democrat?

Chris Woods at Polical Forecast:
Oh, and let me pass along this little bit of gossip and say that the House Democrats were very impressed with Sen. Bayh. Though I’m sure they were before his arrival because of his 21st Century Scholars program which they want to emulate in Iowa.

Andre at Georgia Politics Unfiltered:
Finally came the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, where Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) was the keynote speaker. There are several articles in the papers about his speech, last night, and I can honestly say that Sen. Bayh sounded like a man running for President and he impressed me. He gave about a 30 to 45-minute speech without using any notes or a teleprompter. Now I know when we're talking about being President, the ability to give a speech "off the cuff" is meaningless, but I'm going to keep an eye on Sen. Bayh because I could see him with a spot on the national Democratic ticket.

GTTIM at Better Inhale Deeply:
Evan Bayh gave the Keynote Address. Wow! Very impressive. First he spoke highly of Max Cleland, telling how days after "that disgusting and horrible" election battle with Saxby Chamblis, Max asked for permission to come speak with Bayh. Bayh wanted to tell him how sorry he felt for him. Cleland wanted to talk about how Bayh could prevent that from happening to him and any other Democrat in the future.

Bayh discussed running against the GOP by confronting them on national security, the budget and values. He feels we can win by attacking them on these. He sold me, and is my top primary contender right now. He spoke about how Georgia and Indiana are very similar and how he won by a higher percentage in 2004 than Bush did. I think he is nailing it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Camp Evan Bayh

What a busy weekend… This past weekend saw two great events for us political junkies in Indiana.

First was Camp Evan Bayh. Senator Bayh’s All America PAC established Camp Bayh as a means to train campaign workers to take back Indiana and the rest of the country. It was a three day workshop which taught all the important facets of campaigning. There were three different tracks in Camp Bayh, one for future candidates, one for veteran campaigners and one for future professional campaigners. I chose the future professional.

The future professional track started off with training on how to develop your campaign plan and message on Friday night. On Saturday, it focused on fundraising, earned media (setting up press conferences/media events), volunteer recruitment, election law and how to handle crisis situations. It also featured a presentation on the Camp Bayh Full Immersion program… more on that in a sec.

At the end of the day on Saturday Senator Bayh came and spoke to us. He remarks were actually short and then he opened it up to questions. The questions ranged from personal (Did Susan and the boys come?) to the current NSA dustup to state rights vs Federal Gov’t. Sen Bayh kept answering questions until he was running late, even after they were telling him it was time to go. “Nyah, I got time for a couple more questions…”

After the Senator’s Q&A, I high-tailed it over to the Indiana State Jefferson Jackson dinner, which was the second event of the weekend. I’m not going to go into detail about that because I already did once for All America PAC’s blog. I’ll just say I had a great time. Thanks Chris!

Sunday’s Camp Bayh was more about campaigning… How to canvas a neighborhood, what it’s like to be on a campaign, how to run phone banks and GOTV.

All in all it was an outstanding experience. I would encourage anyone who is able to sign up for the next Camp Bayh in South Bend from July 7-9.

The other really exciting thing they talked about was the Camp Bayh Full Immersion program. All America PAC will select 50 people to go through this program. The program consists of a 2nd 4-Day workshop followed by a 3 month paid internship in an important campaign somewhere across the country. Following the internship there will be a 2 day debriefing/job fair with Senator Bayh to get you started on your new political career. Wow. I only wish I was 10-15 years younger… I’d be all over that like… well I’d be all over it for sure.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bayh and China... part deux

Last November the Treasury Department warned China that they didn't meet the technical definition of a currency manipulator, but if they didn't shape up and make some changes they would next go around...

Well 6 months later and what has China done? Not a whole lot. But rather than piss China off for screwing us over... the Treasury Department again declined to add China to the list of currency manipulators. If they say that China has made "far too little progress", why don't they do something rather than just shaking their finger at them and telling them to shape up. It's like when I tell my 8yr old to clean her room and she doesn't. What am I going to do, ground her or just sigh and say that I hope she does it next time?

Sen Bayh picked up on this again and came out swinging... From Bloomberg:
Evan Bayh, Democratic Senator from Indiana, said Treasury's report ``flies in the face of the reality experienced by workers and businesses'' and accused the administration of being soft on China because it's the second-biggest holder of U.S. debt.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Couple of notes...

Couple of items from the weekend... There was a story in the Star about Sen Bayh lending a hand in Iowa and how they're grateful for his help...

When Bayh makes his fourth trip in 10 months to Iowa on May 19-20, much of his time will be spent serving as a draw at fundraisers for Reasoner, Shomshor and the Democratic organizations in the Des Moines and Sioux City areas.
Reasoner and Shomshor said their fundraisers came about after Bayh's last visit to Iowa, when he offered to help state House Democrats get the majority.

"Senator Bayh is the first of the potential (presidential) candidates who has asked to come to my part of the state," said Reasoner, who does not yet have a Republican opponent.

Which led to the question, who else is Bayh doing favors for? Looking at the most recent FEC filing for All America PAC we see donations to the following:
  • Leonard Boswell - IA 3rd District Challenger
  • Robert Byrd - WV Senate
  • Bob Casey - PA Senate Challenger
  • Kent Conrad - ND Senate
  • Brad Ellsworth - IN 8th District Challenger
  • Harold Ford Jr - TN Senate Challenger
  • Baron Hill - IN 9th District Challenger
  • Paul Hodes - NH 2nd District Challenger
  • David Loebstack - IA 2nd District Challenger
  • Claire McCaskill - MO Senate Challenger
  • Bill Nelson - FL Senate
  • NJ State Democratic Committee
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • Congressional Black Caucus PAC
Senate challengers (racking up favors for future Senate colleagues), Indiana races and Iowa and NH races. Very nice...

The other news o' the day was a letter that Sen Bayh issued to the Chairman and ranking Dem on the Armed Services Committee requesting additional funding to SOCOM, Special Operations Command, to get another squadron of Predator UAVs.
Boosting Socom's intelligence-gathering capabilities should be one of the top priorities, said U.S. Sen.Evan Bayh, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee's emerging threats and capabilities panel.

In an April 28 letter to the chairman and senior Democrat on the committee, Bayh said additional moneywould pay for a second squadron of Predator unmanned aerial vehicles.
Socom's senior leaders also have said they need more special operations forces, Bayh's letter said, and he has asked the committee to determine how many more commandos are needed to handle future requirements.

"I am concerned there are regions and countries that might be stable today, but could become critical areas in the war on terrorism in the future, including in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia," Bayh wrote.
If we continue to back down from the national security debate, the myth that Democrats are weak in defense will never be exposed. To steal a quote...

"Bring it on!"

Friday, May 05, 2006

Bayh and Labor

National Journal has a nice overview of Sen Bayh's relationship with organized labor. Contrary to the beliefs of some in the blogosphere (*cough*cough*Sirota*cough*), Bayh is not the anti-Christ supporting Free Trade and shunning organized labor. On the contrary, the labor movement leaders think very highly of him...

Some highlights...
In discussions with reporters and union leaders, Bayh comes off sounding like an eager student of labor history who's just aced his final exam. Over the past year, he's met privately with the heads of at least a dozen major unions in both the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win coalition. There's another dinner planned for May 24. He's developed a labor-friendly stump speech that regularly receives applause. His outreach effort was "spearheaded by and with advice from his long time friends in labor," an adviser said.
Bayh's career AFL-CIO rating is 91. And his solidarity with labor extends to those public employee unions who've become the DLC's biggest bugbears. He's scored a perfect 100 rating from the American Federation of Teachers for three consecutive legislative cycles. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as of 2004, gave Bayh a 90 percent rating.
Here's Bayh, speaking before the UAW: "We ought to slap a countervailing tariff on all the products coming out of China and level that playing field to do right by our working men and women." For one well-known labor-connected adviser to presidential rival, that line was astonishing. "It was an enormous leap for him on trade," said this person. "Before that speech, he was basically a free trader."
Bayh traces his bonds with labor to 1980, the year his father lost his Senate seat to Dan Quayle. Speaking to the United Auto Workers in Washington earlier this year, he recalled his father's visit to a local Ford parts plant on a chilly November morning after his father's defeat. "You know, this is kind of a walk down memory lane for me," he told the labor crowd. "Several of the Hoosiers here on my way in said, 'Evan, we love your father, and I said, 'me too!' My father … would be the first one to say, he never would have had that opportunity if I it hadn't been for the UAW." The UAW and other unions provided critical support to Bayh's gubernatorial election. He reciprocated in office. Bayh recalls a promotional banner at a Terre Haute, IN airport touting Indiana's super-low workers' compensation rates. The anecdote now features in Bayh's stump speech to labor.
This year's UAW legislative conference in Washington was sober. The union has been locked in a no-win battle with GM and other companies. But Bayh had an easy time with the audience, dropping the names of at least a dozen Indiana and national labor leaders during the first two minutes of his speech. (Every union official interviewed for this article referred nonchalantly to the senator as "Evan," as if he were no less one of the guys than an assembly like worker named Mike Shamansky.) Bayh paused at several points to rope in the dignitaries as valuators. "Mike, do you remember that?" he said of Republican efforts to overturn Davis-Bacon laws. "Hey Tommy, do you remember that?" he said to an Indiana labor leader who supported his executive order as IN GOV to allow the state's workers to bargain collectively . The union members gave him a standing ovation when he finished.

The Fix's Friday Line

Chris Cillizza offers his analysis of the '08 election again... He says that the Dems have as many as 7-8 contenders, while the Republicans only have about 3.

The Fix says that John McCain, George Allen and Mitt Romney are the three contenders for the GOP, with Frist, Huckabee, Brownback, Hagel, Pataki and Mark Sanford listed as also rans. He does note that Guiliani is getting close to jumping in and if he does he'll vault into the contender status.

For the Dems, he has the usual top 5... Hillary, Edwards, Kerry, Warner and of course Evan Bayh. Here's his take on Sen Bayh.

The Fix's dark horse in the presidential field, Indiana's Evan Bayh is working as hard as any other candidate in terms of his travel schedule and getting face time with key donors. He's also less conservative and less dull than most people think. Plus, Bayh will end 2006 with at least $10 million (and probably several million more) in his Senate campaign account, which he can transfer directly to a presidential committee. Bayh's challenge is to win, place or show in the '08 Iowa caucuses, since he has a natural geographic appeal there and has already been spending considerable time courting the state's voters. If Bayh doesn't make a strong showing in Iowa, it's hard to see how he stays competitive in New Hampshire and beyond. (Of course, it remains to be seen what state or states will be added by the Democratic National Committee to hold their primaries between Iowa and New Hampshire -- an X-factor in every Democratic hopeful's calculations.)

Two things to note... "Less conservative"... Bayh is consistently called both a liberal and a conservative at the same time. Conservative Republicans always say he's "in bed with Kennedy and the left wing" while Liberal Democrats always say "he might as well be a Republican"... I'm constantly amazed by the dicotomy.

Second... "Less dull than most people think"... I can't tell you the number times I've heard (or rather read) people say that when they saw Sen Bayh in person he was nothing like they thought. How he always impresses them with his oratory skill... Once he starts campaigning for real people will see the real Evan Bayh.

MSNBC weighs in...

Ding Ding Ding... Ladies and Gentlemen... Let's get ready to RUMBLLLLLLLLLLE!

MSNBC has decided to go with a boxing theme for their '08 Presidential Rankings... for the record they rank them as Heavyweight as being a strong candidate, Welterweight is a moderately strong candidate, Lightweight is a moderately weak candidate and Flyweight is a weak candidate...

Democrats (in alphabetical order)-

Evan Bayh - Heavyweight - May have the right combination of conservativism in personal style and on foreign policy, and liberalism on social issues, to be the Hillary alternative.

Hillary Clinton - Heavyweight - A marquee name with marquee money.

Al Gore - Heavyweight - He says he's not going to run in '08, but if he changes his mind...

John Kerry - Heavyweight - But do Democrats want a rerun?

Joe Biden - Welterweight - If he runs, Biden will be the consumate veteran of the Democratic field. He will also test listeners' endurance.

Tom Daschle - Welterweight - He's got a high profile among Democrats, but can he raise money and overcome any perception that he's yesterday's man now that he is out of office?

John Edwards - Welterweight - He knows the ropes, has the money and is from the South.

Russ Feingold - Welterweight - A brainy, earnest, hardworking reformer suited to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire. His appeal in the Bible Belt remains problematic.

Bill Richardson - Welterweight - As a governor, and former UN Ambassador, congressman and energy secretary who comes from the Southwest and is Latino, he's got leverage.

Mark Warner - Weltherweight - The right combination of money, charm, location and personality.

Wesley Clark - Lightweight - A smart, articulate and fiercely disciplined military man, but has no experience in elected office.

John Vilsack - Lightweight - A strong voice on the economy, but untested on national security or foreign affairs.

I do have a couple of problems with some of their analysis...

First, I think calling Clark "articulate and fiercely disciplined" is being generous... he showed in the '04 campaign that he can be a loose cannon which for a politician is NOT good.

Second, while I agree that Al Gore would be a strong candidate if he decided to run, he's made it abudently clear so many times that he's not running, why even bother?

For the record... MSNBC only ranked 1 Republican as a heavyweight... John McCain.