The latest in the “how do they think this stuff up” series, Matthew Yglesias on the new definition of immorality, namely, doing something which hurts the Democratic Party (emphasis mine):
Obviously, Evan Bayh’s never been my favorite Senator. And the more one learns about both the manner of his departure, and the thinking behind it, the clearer it is why. Simply put: He’s an immoral person who conducts his affairs in public life with a callous disregard for the impact of his decisions on human welfare. He’s sad he’s not going to be president? He doesn’t like liberal activists? He finds senate life annoying? Well, boo-hoo. We all shed a tear.
He’s ditching his seat in a manner calculated to throw control of it to a conservative Republican. And nothing about his stated reasons for leaving suggest that he thinks replacing Evan Bayh with a conservative Republican will make the lives of Americans better. Nor does anything about his states reasons for leaving suggest that he thinks replacing Evan Bayh with a conservative Republican make the lives of foreigners better. But he’s acting to ensure that it happens anyway. Because he doesn’t care about the welfare of the American people or the people of the world. It’s not a recipe for good conduct as a Senator and it’s not a recipe for good conduct when it comes to choosing a way to depart.
Immoral? It’s not like the guy left someone to die in a ditch by the side of the road while he spent the evening concocting a cover story; or lied to and conspired with his cancer-stricken spouse to blame his most trusted aide for the pregnancy of his mistress while running for President; or used his male power structure to persuade a young female intern to do things not part of her job description. (Yes, there are plenty of “R” examples too, but I’m trying to stay on message.)
By the way, I’m not so sure the way in which Bayh is exiting actually hurts the Democrats. If reports are true, it looks like the Democrats will get to nominate their candidate in late June, rather than having a primary. Which means the Democrats get to spend several months beating up on the likely Republican nominee, without the Republican knowing against whom he will be campaigning. But let’s not let some rationality get in the way of a political morality play.
Harrumph! Left-leaning pitchforks anyone?
Update: Now this would be really funny, although not “immoral”; it appears that Bayh timed his announcement to help the Democratic Party, but it may backfire:
A Bloomington, Ind., restaurant owner who had been running an obscure and uphill challenge against Sen. Evan Bayh for the Democratic nomination claimed Monday that she’s just 1,000 signatures short of qualifying for the ballot.
In an interview with POLITICO, Tamyra D’Ippolito said that after news broke Monday morning that Bayh was retiring, her campaign contacted Democratic officials in Indiana to request they help her get the needed signatures by noon Tuesday — when they must be verified by the state’s 92 country registrars.
It would be something close to a nightmare scenario for Democrats: were D’Ippolito to qualify for the ballot, she would be the likely nominee and the party would be left to face the GOP with a political neophyte who said she is running in part to take on a party establishment she said practices “sexism with a big S.”
It’s precisely what Bayh had hoped to avoid. By disclosing his retirement one day before the filing deadline, the idea was that no Democrat would qualify for the primary ballot and the party’s state central committee could tap their favored candidate.