Thursday, March 17, 2011

Evan Bayh Retired Like He Governed: As a Corporate Whore

I really liked this Ezra Klein post on Evan Bayh's retirement, but I'll lose all respect for him if he was actually surprised by any of this:
An acknowledged moderate who’d taken on these crusades wouldn’t have just been a good senator. He’d have been a great one. This new incarnation of Evan Bayh, I wrote, should stay in the Senate, where he could do some good. But he didn’t want to stay in the Senate, he told me in subsequent interviews. He waxed rhapsodic over his time teaching at Indiana University’s Graduate School of Business. “It was real, it was tangible, and it was making a difference every day,” he said. He wanted that feeling again. He wanted to come home at night, he told me, and say, “Dear, do you know what we got done today? I’ve got this really bright kid in my class, and do you know what he asked me, and here’s what I told him, and I think I saw a little epiphany moment go off in his mind.” For a United States senator to explain his retirement by saying, “I want to be engaged in an honorable line of work,” was the single most persuasive and devastating critique I’d ever seen of the Senate as an institution.

But Bayh did not return to Indiana to teach. He did not, as he said he was thinking of doing, join a foundation. Rather, he went to the massive law firm McGuire Woods. And who does McGuire Woods work for? “Principal clients served from our Washington office include national energy companies, foreign countries, international manufacturing companies, trade associations and local and national businesses,” reads the company’s Web site. He followed that up by signing on as a senior adviser to Apollo Management Group, a giant public-equity firm. And, finally, this week, he joined Fox News as a contributor. 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.

The “corrosive system of campaign financing” that Bayh considered such a threat? He’s being paid by both McGuire Woods and Apollo Global Management to act as a corroding agent on their behalf. The “strident partisanship” and “unyielding ideology” he complained was ruining the Senate? At Fox News, he’ll be right there on set while it gets cooked up. His warning that “what is required from members of Congress and the public alike is a new spirit of devotion to the national welfare beyond party or self-interest” sounds, in retrospect, like a joke. Evan Bayh doing performance art as Evan Bayh. Exactly which of these new positions would Bayh say is against his self-interest, or in promotion of the general welfare?
Evan Bayh spent his Senate career as one of the sleaziest motherfuckers in the building (and that's saying something), who lied, bargained and did the bidding of any corporate interest that looked nicely in his direction.

The idea that he would leave the Senate for anything different is laughable. Almost as laughable as Chris Dodd's "I won't become a lobbyist" talk, on the way to taking the most prestigious lobbying job that exists.

There's no need to expect any different from Bayh and Dodd, because they are just following the Douche Caucus plan. You do the bidding of these interests while in the Senate just long enough to make the necessary connections, then leave for a much easier job, making even more money directly for those same interests.

Most people on this path are just slicker about it than Bayh or Dodd were, but then again, it's almost telling that they didn't even need to pretend they were doing something more noble.

No one cares enough about their doublespeak enough to not invite them back on the morning shows every couple of months, and they're making more money than any of us will see in our lives.

What's their incentive to care about what anyone thinks?

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