Ezra Klein is distressed, greatly so, that former senator Evan Bayh hasn’t turned out properly. Klein had such high hopes for him. He coulda been a contenda — for the Democratic left. Klein was pleased when Bayh delivered his holier-than-thou retirement farewell in the New York Times: “Instead of merely condemning the bitter partisanship of the place, he proposed to close the loopholes that had enabled polarization to metastasize in paralysis. ‘Filibusters should require 35 senators to . . . make a commitment to continually debate an issue in reality, not just in theory,’ he wrote. And ‘the number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster should be reduced to 55 from 60.’ Strong stuff.” Ah, at last, someone to buy into filibuster reform!
But to be fair to Bayh, Klein leaves out his stern advice to the left. For example, Bayh also went after the Democrats’ soak-the-rich mentality: “Some of them were allergic to tax cuts for businesses to create jobs. They feel that, you know, more direct government spending is a better way to go. That’s a legitimate debate. My point simply is if you can’t get what you want, well, this proposal was better than nothing, at a time when the American people are crying out for action for job creation and getting businesses moving once again.” In other words, the Democrats had gotten diverted from their focus on jobs.
What really drives Klein nuts is that Bayh would go to work for — gasp! — a law firm that represents “national energy companies, foreign countries, international manufacturing companies, trade associations and local and national businesses.” I supposed the knee-jerk left considers this heinous work. What’s more, he’s going to work for an equity firm (as Rahm Emanuel had done) and — take a deep breath — Fox News. It’s too much to bear: “It’s as if he’s systematically ticking off every poison he identified in the body politic and rushing to dump more of it into the water supply. ... It’s one thing to take the positions Bayh took [on political reform] without much of a record on them. It’s a whole other to try to sustain them when his paychecks are being signed by people who profit from the very forces he lamented.” I suppose there is no representation, at least not respectable representation, for those who would oppose the left’s agenda.
This is a helpful insight into how the left categorizes the evildoers in the world. The notion that business deserves representation or that Bayh can broaden the discussion at Fox is apparently unimaginable. But at least Klein is candid about his antipathies, and readers can assess his analysis through the prism of a devoted spear-carrier for the left.