Bye-Bayh Supermajority (and good riddance)!

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh (D) dropped the “bomb” yesterday, and declared that he will not seek reelection this fall. And he made this announcement 24 hours before the filing deadline for candidates who want to represent the Democratic party. I guess that’s Bayh’s way of sticking it to Harry Reid for bobbling the supermajority that was handed to him in 2008.

Many Democrats will lose sleep over this, but not me. In some ways this is a blessing in disguise. There’s a lot of pressure involved with having a supermajority in the US Senate, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not handle it well at all. Reid was too concerned with playing nice with the GOP, and being bi-partisan, that he forgot to do what the people elected him to do–deliver on the Progressive agenda the Democrats promised in the 2008 campaign. When you have a supermajority of 60 votes, you are shielded from the filibuster and essentially given the right to push through any legislation you want. It sounds easy, but in this day and age of career politicians Harry Reid was too concerned with getting reelected this fall, and wanted to appeal to the broadest swath of Nevada voters as possible. This meant crossing the aisle and extending a hand to the GOP. And when he did, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell slapped him.

And then started “The Great Democratic Dropout of 2010”: Christopher Dodd (Connecticut), Ted Kaufman (Delaware), Roland Burris (Illinois), Byron Dorgan (N. Dakota), and now Evan Bayh all decided not to run for reelection. At a time when the Democratic party should be celebrating victories in healthcare reform, financial reform, and a jobs bill, they have nothing to show for the full year in which they had an opportunity to get things done. So who can blame these Senators for quitting? They are probably just as frustrated as the rest of the country by how broken the Federal Legislature is.

So why is this a good thing? For starters, Evan Bayh was a very conservative Democrat and didn’t necessarily agree with the Democratic agenda. And I think that because of people like him the party has lost its identity, which contributed to their lack of cohesion and progress. If the Democratic party can retain 52-55 seats held by true Progressive Democrats in the election this fall, then there will be a will to fight the GOP fanatics instead of fighting internally within the party. Sure this will leave them open to the filibuster, but then the GOP will ultimately need to come up with some actual solutions and ideas of their own instead of playing Nancy Reagan Politics (“Just Say No”).

The Democrats have been in the driver’s seat and they went nowhere. Now they will have a chance to turn left at the next GOP stop light and drive a true Progressive agenda. If they don’t, then we may be seeing the end of the Democrats as we knew them.

But perhaps that will (finally) open up a lane for the Progressive Party Express.

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One Response to “Bye-Bayh Supermajority (and good riddance)!”

  1. florida adjuster Says:

    There are still more republicans who have announced intentions not to run for reelection.

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