Bayh & Nuclear Bombshells

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Obama with Bayh.jpg Two bombshell news stories occurred back to back this morning. Sen. Evan Bayh announces he will not run for reelection, and Pres. Obama announces $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees for America's first new nuclear power plant in nearly 3 decades. The import and aftermath of these two news announcements strike at the heart of what is broken in American politics, demanding repair, or inviting failure.


Sen. Evan Bayh's announcement opens the door to a possible Republican majority in the U.S. Senate in Nov. 2010. That's not the bombshell, though many a liberal might think so. The bombshell is Sen. Bayh's stated reason:

There is too much partisanship and not enough progress -- too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving... Even at a time of enormous challenge, the people's business is not being done.

These words could not be more important for the American people, nor more true. After just two terms, this Senator believes his efforts are no longer worth the time and energy it takes to get so little accomplished in addressing the nation's most pressing challenges. Partisans in America will condemn or praise Bayh's announcement, as either cowardly or overdue, depending on whether the partisan is a Democrat or Republican. But, from a non-partisan point of view, his announcement marks yet another milestone on the road to ruin for America and Americans.

Sen. Bayh of Indiana, was a moderate Democrat, fiscally conservative on deficit and debt issues, and more liberal on social issues of equal protection under law and preserving individual choice from overbearing government intervention. Sen. Bayh was one of the Democrats capable and willing to work with, and compromise with, Republicans across the the Congressional aisle. But every attempt to reach out to them to solve the nation's challenges were rebuffed when it came time to vote. If you know the ship is sinking, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it, it is prudent to jump and swim toward terra firma.

I, however, can find no blame for Sen. Bayh's decision. If he were my Senator, I would have voted for his challenger, instead. Not because I don't respect his efforts in the Senate, but, because his efforts failed to produce solutions to the problems taking my nation down the path to ruin. Democrats will argue his failure to produce results was the fault of the obstructionist Republicans who refuse to vote for anything Democrats propose, except for more war. Some Republicans would argue that their agenda is not becoming policy and therefore, there is no justifiable reason to vote for Democrat's objectives.

Sen. Bayh, in the middle of these intractable lines drawn in the sand, is exiting this exercise in futility, and I cannot blame him. In a Hollywood movie, Sen. Bayh's script may call for his refusal to give up, to stay and fight the futility, and become an unsung martyr in the wake of the anti-incumbent movement growing amongst the voters across the nation. But, this is no movie. And in real life, at this time in American history, people working sensibly to do the right thing are lost and forgotten amidst the spectacle of sacrificial gladiators in the political arena battling for appeal to a public and media that values blood over diplomacy, vitriol over consensus, and winners and losers over solutions.

Just as the gladiator's of Rome fought to appease the crowds as Rome fractured and faded from history, America's political gladiators fight to the death of America through neglect of what is really important to save our future: solutions; forged out of rational and reasonable debate which puts nation first and foremost.


Pres. Obama said this morning that safe nuclear power plants are a necessary investment in America's future and will further America's objective toward energy independence. Critics on the Left will argue there is no such thing as safe nuclear power plants until a permanent, safe, and cost effective solution to getting rid of nuclear waste is found. They will argue Pres. Obama is putting the cart before the horse in announcing construction before such a solution to waste is found.

"To meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we'll need to increase our supply the nuclear power. It's that simple.", Pres. Obama said. Politically however, it will be anything but simple, and very likely prove to be impossible. New nuclear generated electric power will be enormously expensive up front, and as Pres. Obama acknowledged,

Energy leaders and experts recognize that as long as producing carbon pollution carries no cost, traditional plants that use fossil fuels will be more cost effective than plants that use nuclear fuel. That's why we need comprehensive energy and climate legislation...
And therein lies the potential impossibility of moving forward toward a national energy policy that achieves energy independence. Republicans have been calling for nuclear power for years. But, they will fight artificially increased costs of fossil fuels through higher taxation. Republicans officially do not recognize America's contribution to global climate change, and will therefore, don gladiator garb and weapons to defeat Pres. Obama's plan for a comprehensive approach to energy independence, just as they opposed Democrat's comprehensive approach to health care reform.

Before reforming health care, energy, and wasteful government spending; before reforming tax codes, education quality - availability, and runaway deficits due to entitlements, America must reform its broken political system, which blocks all these other reforms from becoming reality. Asking a Democrat or Republican politician to reform the political system is like asking a heart attack victim to perform bypass surgery on himself, which means no anesthesia. It will not happen.

Two things must happen before the needed political reform can take place. The first is, Americans must collectively look into the Abyss that lies ahead, and agree with each other that they do not wish to jump headlong into it. And second, the majority of American voters must give up their role as gladiatorial spectators of the carnage in the political arena, and vote: not for Democrats or Republicans, not for liberal or conservative. No, the majority of American voters must vote for results, which are now absent from our Congress.

How does one vote for results, when there are none forthcoming, one might logically ask? The answer is quite simple. Voting for a sitting politician who has been ineffective in producing results to date, is certainly not the answer. However, voting for a challenger to an incumbent in Congress seeking reelection, is a vote which megaphones a simple message to the new politician who wins election. That message is: Produce results or your election will be a one time event, and you will be the incumbent getting the boot when it is your turn to seek reelection.

Politicians rather like getting reelected. Deprive them of reelection; even threaten their potential for reelection, and they will jump through hoops to meet the voter's demand for results. As voters divided, we are puppets to to the politicians. United as voters, they become our puppets.

Voting for results instead of Party label, will force our Congress to find and enact the solutions which, will prevent our hurtling into the Abyss. This is the mission, logic, and message of the non-partisan political action committee known as Vote Out Incumbents Democracy. We can shove each other into the Abyss, or join with the voters of V.O.I.D. to force the political reform that must come before any other reforms can.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on February 16, 2010 1:46 PM.

Republicans Have Gone Anti-America was the previous entry in this blog.

Health Care Reform: Public Option, Reconciliation, DOA? is the next entry in this blog.

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