Senators expect to have their asses kissed regularly. But Evan Bayh (DINO-Indiana) never expected it to sting so much. On his way out the door, CNN gives him a particularly tender-lipped smooch: "Is it too tough to be a centrist Democrat?"
We've had a 30-year lurch to the right. The allegedly socialist President of the United States is an ardent centrist. The so-called centrist Democrats are conservative. Conservative Republicans are flirting with authoritarianism. Hell, they're doing more than flirting. Look at their stands on the rule of law, torture, and surveillance. They're going steady with authoritarianism, if not they're already engaged.
Yet the problem identified by CNN is that we stinky liberals are just too hard on our centrists:
[Political analyst Jennifer Donahue] said it's simply becoming too difficult to be a centrist Democrat these days.These are the centrists whose delays and threats scuttled health care reform. These are the centrists at whose insistence the stimulus was too small. These are the centrists who are so lily livered that they have consented to the continuation of Bushist policies regarding war and domestic surveillance. They're winning, but still their asses don't feel enough open-mouthed obeisance.
"You have so much pressure coming at the president from the left flank of the party and so much pressure embedded in Congress on the left," Donahue said. "I think he's frustrated. I think Democrats have to take a good, hard look at what they're doing to the centrists in their party and why. It's not a winning formula to push out the centrists, so why?"
CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger said Bayh "feels that he doesn't have much of a home in the Democratic party anymore."
"Just as much as we see the centrists in the Republican party shrinking, you also see the centrists in the Democratic party shrinking," she said. "I think these folks are looking for a home."
This country needs a lurch to the left. It's not going to get one, with or without Evan Bayh.
Now, of course, this seat in Indiana will switch from someone who opposes doing anything useful to someone who proposes doing things that are harmful. Unless 2010 is a truly awful year - and it could be - that won't matter.