Evan Bayh Burnishes His Fake Budget Hawk Persona
One of the things we re-learned on Sunday is that Evan Bayh is a big fan of pretending that the cost of the war in Afghanistan doesn't ever need to be reckoned with, as long as we steadfastly hew to platitudes.
Confronted by Fox News's Chris Wallace about the cost of simply escalating the war, and the proposal to raise revenue to pay for just this escalation, Bayh said, "I don't think it's a good idea, not at this point," adding:
First of all, you need to provide for the nation's security regardless of your financial situation, and there's no bigger deficit hawk in Congress than I am.
I think we need to start coming to grips with this. We're going to have a big vote coming up on the debt ceiling. I don't think we should vote to raise the debt ceiling until we have a strategy in place to get our deficits down.
So we've got to take the fiscal situation seriously, but, number one, national security comes first.
Number two, we've got to look at cutting spending in other parts of the budget before we even talk about raising taxes.
So, Bayh is a "big deficit hawk" whose idea of "coming to grips" with deficits is to blithely assert the primacy of a war that he can't build a case for -- at the expense of other programs in the budget that he won't build a case against, other than to suggest that they are getting in the way of paying for the war, the cost of which he's already bent on pretending doesn't exist.
Those deficits, I'm sure, are terrified of this man!
Glenn Greenwald has Bayh sized up correctly when he calls him the "perfectly representative face for the rotted Washington establishment," and "the pure expression of virtually every attribute that makes the Beltway so dysfunctional, deceitful and corrupt."
He's right! And what's more, he's really not the huge deficit hawk he claims to be. This is something that the children of America's multimillionaires already know full well!
See, literally gutting programs from the federal budget to pay for a war that the American people are beginning to tire of fighting is something that would potentially come at a political cost. That's why Bayh is doing his utmost to ensure that he won't actually have to make any tough choices. As previously mentioned, Bayh is part of a coalition of lawmakers who want the tough budgetary decisions to be outsourced to a brand new blue-ribbon commission on deficits. And to get their way, these lawmakers are making the "irresponsible threat" to refuse to vote to raise the debt ceiling if their demands are not met:
A bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators is threatening to vote against an increase in the debt limit unless Congress passes a new deficit-fighting plan.
"I will not vote for raising the debt limit without a vehicle to handle this. ... This is our moment," California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said.
She and nine other senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., asking that Congress create a special commission to make recommendations that then could be decided by an up-or-down vote.
Feinstein said it could be similar to the process for closing military bases, in which members must vote to take or leave the entire package. The senators who joined Feinstein are Democrats Evan Bayh of Indiana, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mark Warner of Virginia, Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.
Why not throw it back at this crew? Tell the Irresponsible Threat Caucus that instead of asking for a commission, they should just start calling themselves a "budget commission" and then they can specify their own proposed set of tax hikes and Medicare cuts.
Exactly. Why would a self-styled deficit hawk like Evan Bayh not want to sign his name on the line that is dotted? The reason is that Bayh is actually a "save-my-seat hawk," and he's figured out that avoiding responsibility for tough choices is an essential part of getting re-elected again and again and again, and cashing in on the cachet of office. So Bayh supports the creation of a blue-ribbon panel of "experts," at a remove from voter backlash, who will make all the tough choices for him.
I'm at a loss to explain what Bayh should be credited with as a legislator, other than manufacturing a tidy and lucrative career out of dodging his duty.