Evan Bayh’s “sad, hypocritical retirement”

I’m sure that Evan Bayh will perform some good works to give his other self-interested activities some patina of statesmanship. He’ll serve on charitable boards for some good causes. He’ll write the occasional wonky op-ed in the Washington Post, serve on a presidential commission or two. He’ll be one of the more courtly and civil commentators appearing on FOX news. He’ll still richly deserve this evisceration by Ezra Klein.

Bayh could have done much good for his party and for his nation within the United States Senate. Instead, he’s cashing in–in what Klein rightly considers a particularly sad and hypocritical way. I’m less disappointed than I was about Peter Orszag’s move to Citigroup, but only because I had lower expectations of Bayh to begin with.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

8 thoughts on “Evan Bayh’s “sad, hypocritical retirement””

  1. Screw Bayh, he’s small potatoes in all of this.

    The huge problem is how to dump Obama. Check out who he appointed to the FHA. He not only doesn’t intend to do jack squat he won’t do anything at all that makes sense to anyone who is not a filthy politician.

    That redneck, from Arkansas, lost me completely with his wheeling and dealing. By the time he dropped the bomb on the poor, he was slavering for that next election.

  2. Evan Bayh is basically no different from the owner’s son, assured of a promotion at every turn and never finding the internal motivation necessary to achieve something in his own right. And a different analogy: how many people do you know who think that just getting in to a selective school is all they ever needed to do to prove themselves? And how many of them are legacy admits who didn’t even get in on their own merit? That’s Evan Bayh: the Senate as a reward for people like himself rather than as a means to make the world a better, more rational or just place.

  3. We should reform congressional and high-level executive branch pensions to reduce the incentive to be a corporate whore while in government and cash in later like Bayh and Orszag.

    The method to do this is to increase the base amount per year of service, perhaps tripling it, but then reduce the benefit by 50 cents for every dollar earned over $100,000.

    Under this formula, the base benefit might increase to $300,000 per year, but someone signing up for a $1 million a year lobbying job would lose all of it.

    Relatedly Senator Feinstein has introduced an admirable bill to give underpaid federal judges automatic COLAs.

  4. By becoming a full time K street … um … practitioner of an ancient profession … Bayh has transitioned to a life of dramatically reduced hypocrisy. We’ll never notice his absence from the Senate, he’ll be much happier with his “practice”, Indiana won’t miss him. It’s a win all the way around.

    I just wish he’d had the decency to give notice early enough to allow a Democratic primary. That would have been an act of hypocrisy, since an open election would be inconsistent with his real values. So I guess I wish he’d kept up the hypocrisy just a tad longer.

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