09/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Will Liberal Base Let Obama Move To The Center?

t seemed so right just two weeks ago. This was in Elkhart, Ind., and Sen. Evan Bayh, mentioned as a possible running mate of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee, seemed more than a long-shot possibility for the vice-presidential slot. That day, Bayh was more than probable. He was the one.

It made too much sense. Outside the packed high school gym, one couldn't help but understand why Bayh would be a perfect sidekick to the man. Here, from the nation's heartland, was a contemporary of Obama, who could help him take perhaps not only Indiana but also surrounding states -- maybe even Ohio. Bayh, son of a respected senator, had been a governor and had extensive foreign-policy experience.

More important, at least that day, Bayh seemed to share Obama's boyish energy and fervor, speaking with eloquence as he introduced his fellow junior senator from the neighboring state. Bayh could help Obama run the table through the Midwest, even those still considered red states, or so I thought. Moreover, as men born of the same generation, they would make for a matched pair in the same vein of William Jefferson Clinton and Al Gore. Here were two handsome, erudite men who would stand for the next era in the Democratic Party.

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