Comparing Coakley, Bayh

January 20, 2010
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The earthquake from the Massachusetts senate race yesterday won’t rumble through Indiana’s own race this year, predicts IUPUI political scientist Brian Vargus.

In Massachusetts, Republican upstart Scott Brown knocked off Democrat Martha Coakley for the seat held by the late Ted Kennedy because she didn’t campaign well and was viewed as aloof, Vargus says. By contrast, Evan Bayh, also a Democrat, is entrenched and would be extremely difficult to beat.

The only candidate to announce a run for Bayh’s seat, John Hostettler, a Republican, isn’t raising enough money to compete with Bayh’s substantial war chest, Vargus says. Hostettler also doesn’t have a large profile outside the 8th Congressional district in southwestern Indiana where he served from 1995 through 2006. “You can’t beat somebody with nobody,” Vargus contends.

Secondly, he adds, Democrats will support Bayh even though the base is disgusted with his relatively conservative voting record.

On a scale of zero to 10, with zero being dead in the water and 10 being invincible, Vargus puts the Bayh’s chances at a seven.

The best shot at defeating Bayh would be to run a populist campaign and paint him as an elitist, Vargus says. Play up his Virginia law degree, his Georgetown home away from home, his wife’s corporate board seats. And even then, it probably wouldn’t be enough.

Those are Vargus’ thoughts. What are yours? About Bayh? Massachusetts?

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  • Toast
    He sounded like he was in full "reverse" in a post Brown interview. You need to revisit key reasons both Republicans and Democrats voted for Brown in post election interviews....applicable to Senator Bayh.
  • Questionable
    Bayh's support for the health care bill because "his party needs him" against the will of those that elected him makes his re-election questionable.
    • Questionable we hope
      I agree with Don. Bayh has talked out of both sides of his mouth sending out campaign emails telling us how concerned he is with government spending and how it must stop.... only to vote for the healthcare bill the democrats slammed through and lightning speed which has HUGE financial burdens added to government spending..... hopefully this year his "name recognition" won't be enough to sway the sheep from finally voting on principles and voting records.
    • Missing the Point
      To dismiss what happened in Massachusetts yesterday as the result of a candidate who "didn't campaign well and was aloof" is short-sighted and naive. The voters, in an historic election in Kennedy-country, spoke out against the big-brother goverment that the Democrats have been handing out since the 2008 elections. With that said, what should concern Bayh is not the potential of a 'populist' opponent, but rather, being too closely tied to the albatross that Obama, Reid and Pelosi have become. By ram-rodding legislation that the American people are, in fact, smart enough to oppose, the Democratic party--in only one year--has effectively brought the GOP out of extinction. And to that I say.... 'cheers!'
    • Very Sad
      I think it is very sad that the main reason Hostetler is not given a chance is because he can't raise enough money? It is very ironic that a liberal state like Massachusetts can elect a populist Republican Scott Brown and a supposedly conservative state such as Indiana will rollover again for Evan Bayh. I feel the same issues that fell Coakley are more than evident in Bayh. He is disconnected from the will of the American People and displays and elitist attitude. I would like to see him come up with some original ideas and not play the tortured pawn that is stuck between his ideals and the will of his party at large. Maybe he could actually make a name for himself politically and have a future as a true Democrat that stands for some of the ideals they had in the sixties. It's time for Indiana to understand that Evan is not his father's Democrat.
    • Interesting...
      Norah O'Donnell asked Mike Pence on Twitter this morning if he was going to run for Senate. Would he be a better candidate against Bayh than Hostettler? I will say I have never voted for Evan Bayh and likely never will. He is NOT in touch with Hoosiers and never will be - he isn't one of us!
    • Mike Pence?
      Seriously, I'd rather have Evan Bayh than Mike Pence any day.
    • both sides of his mouth
      I have voted for Bayh in the past, however, his flip flop (fiscally responsible and then followed with a vote for that expense increase(health care)) really peaved me. Also if you do some research you will find that he was instrumental in gathering additional support for this bill amoung his fellow Senate democrats, so to me it really appears he had no intention of strongly consider not voting for the bill.
    • Senator Bayh
      If Senator Bayh considers he and his father as having a Kennedy-like dynasty here in Indiana, he will be sadly mistaken come election time. Three words "Remember Bart Peterson" and two more "Remember Massachusetts" Mr. Bayh and this is from someone who has voted for Evan everytime he's run. Not anymore.
    • Senator Bayh
      The man is out of touch with his constituency and, by his "tortured" silence, clearly allied with the grow-big/spend-big/ intrude-big programs de jure. Mike Pence would be a fresh breeze.
      • A Fresh Breeze?
        Mike Pence a fresh breeze? Please. He's as partisan as they come. I agree that Bayh can be wishy-washy, but I'd rather deal with Bayh than with Pence and his pandering to the hard right any day.
      • ByeByeBayh
        Bayh talks conservative, but votes liberal. He talks about fiscal restraint, but his vote on healthcare shows his soul. Obama ran as a centrist and see how he's governed...Bayh is of the same stripe.
      • Bayh a Washington Millionaire
        While everyone is debating Pence vs Bayh, Marlin Stutzman is quietly crisscrossing the state meeting with voters. He's traveled over 16,000 miles, has the necessary signatures and already has a large grassroots movement built. Talk about Pence and Hostettler if you want ... but the perfect storm is brewing for someone like Stutzman to unexpectedly win. Just like another St. Senator that unexpectedly won in MA.
      • Corporate Creatures
        Corporate money pollution has poisoned our republic and democracy to the point that I believe that congress is now largely incapable of doing the right thing for our country -- people realize this and do not see typical politicos solving the real and serious problem they face daily regardless of political persuasion or party.

        Thus voters turn to anything that looks like it might be something different for a change...

        Apparently our own Evan Bayh is just as clueless as the rest congress about why most of the public are fed up and rejecting them so robustly.

        What most of congress, Evan Bayh included, do not seem to realize is that it's not the right or left politics that are such a turn off or source of extreme frustration for most of the public but it's the congress' largess in its corporate agenda that is preventing successful governance and solutions to the real problems people in our country face!

        Corporations need to stick to making money with their core businesses and keep their money out of our political system. Our founding fathers never intended for corporations to have the same rights as living persons or even be involved in politics and that's why our constitution defines the rights people have and never mentions a corporation's rights... The whole system has been turned upon its head!

        Under our political system our elected officials are suppose to serve us -- the people and our country, not the big money interests that have made sure that we now have the best politics that money can buy!

        We need to get big money out of politics and restore our republic's intended democracy -- so-called "clean money" or public funded election systems have proven track records in states like Mane, Arizona, and others and have shown what successfully can be done. Google it for yourself and see... ;)
      • Correction
        I should have mentioned the other candidates besides Hostettler who are running for Bayh's seat. They're state Sen. Marlin
        Stutzman; Don Bates Jr., a Richmond financial advisor; and Richard Behney, a Fishers businessman--all
        Republicans. My oversight, not Dr. Vargus.'
      • Marlin Stutzman
        I have been very impressed with Mr. Stutzman's campaign. I've heard him speak and feel he has hoosier's best interests at heart. I hope the Mass. Senate race opens the door for Evan Bayh to lose the next election and Marlin Stutzman becomes our new Senator.
        • Stutzman running also
          There are 5 people running against Bayh. Sen. Marlin Stutzman has been running for months and has worked tirelessly to have the opportunity to run as Indiana U.S. Senator against Bayh.
        • Sen. Marlin Stutzman
          I agree totally with Jen. I have met, talked with, worked with, eaten with Sen. Marlin Stutzman in many different scenarios. He has never changed who he is...conservative, pro-life, fiscally responsible, pro-famiy, a man of integrity and of good character. Knowledgeable and experience in political matters. Need I say more?
        • I
          I am glad to see Sen Marlin Stutzmans name appearing so many times. I don't know how they could of missed such a statesman when writing this. (Type in 'Stutzman' and do a spell check and 'Statesman' come up. Very Telling? !) He walks in wisdom, has the experience, knowledge & integrity and will (& has) SERVED us Hoosiers well! Does anyone still know thats what being in office is for?

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        1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

        2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

        3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

        4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

        5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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