Monday, March 14, 2011

"Moderates": FATWWTRC

That's "First Against The Wall When The Revolution Comes."

So remember Evan Bayh, ex-Senator?

Evan Bayh, who, as a conservative Democrat, fell quite close to the center of the Senate's partisan spread, is exactly the sort of person that Washington believes to be a Serious-Minded Politician. He's the kind of non-ideologue that Washington reveres, who might lean left on social issues, but who is also very deeply worried about the deficit, a concern he expressed by taking difficult stands -- oh, how it pained him so! -- against important progressive causes. Really, guys, he wants to help, he really does, but he can't vote yes, not until you've cut a few billion here and a few billion there. Political journalists and the Washington Post eat it up: sober-minded Evan Bayh and his ilk doing their best to scrub out from progressive legislation the taint of progressive innumeracy. Those wild-eyed spendthrift liberals have probably never even heard of a budget, much less lived on one, but don't worry, Daddy's here, and his name is Evan Bayh, and he's going to sternly remind us all that we need to live within our means, and although it will be difficult for all of us at first, in the end, we're better people for it. And thus, through Evan Bayh, in which the heart of a liberal and head of a conservative are united in the very image of Moderate Bipartisan Centrism, optimal policy is achieved and America is led to greater glories. Evan Bayh, rising star. Evan Bayh, potential VP candidate! Evan Bayh, future president?

Anyway, turns out Evan Bayh was a scumbag all along. Surprise!

Keep in mind that he could have stayed in the Senate more-or-less forever. He wasn't voted out and he probably wasn't going to be voted out. He just quit. He just didn't want to be a Senator. We're left with little choice but to assume that all Evan Bayh ever really wanted was to get rich working as a lobbyist and a Fox News commentator. He's a debased figure, and his politics, beloved by so many Washington notables, were chosen precisely because they were beloved, and carefully tuned to evoke fiscal sobriety. Did his ideas actually make sense? Evan Bayh probably didn't know and probably didn't much care either.

Anyway, although I obviously dislike Evan Bayh (see: the title), this post isn't really about him. There will always be opportunistic jerks like Bayh, and that's okay. That's just how people are. What bothers me about Evan Bayh is how close he came to the highest offices in the nation, all the while spouting ideas that should have sounded positively idiotic to the left and the right. And for that, you have to blame the media.

Journalists and pundits aren't trained to evaluate ideas, they're trained to evaluate how ideas sound. When a guy comes along who looks and feels like a serious politician should, they assume that he is one, because they rarely have the faculties to judge him independently of the image he creates for himself. It's a problem we pay for time and time again.

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