Sunday, November 12, 2006

Is the Center the Place to be?

TIME's cover story deals with taking back the center. If you look at some of the candidates that won recently, they came from the middle.
The architects of the Democratic victory, Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Rahm Emanuel, had calculated with cold-eyed efficiency which candidates the party would support, regardless of the extent of their orthodoxy.
Jim Callahan, a former state representative for many years, has appeared to have taken a step backwards.
Callahan was majority caucus chairman in the Kentucky House of Representatives for 10 of his 18 years in the legislature. On Tuesday, he was elected to the city council of Wilder, population 3,000.

"It's not a step down," insisted Callahan. "To help people is stepping up."

Callahan, 67, who retired from the General Assembly two years ago, said he decided to run for his hometown council because he is committed to public service.
It should be noted that Dennis Keene now represents the district that Rep. Callahan used to represent.

The NY Times has a big list of potential candidates for office in 2008.
There are a lot of senators likely to run for president: Mrs. Clinton, Mr. McCain and Mr. Kerry, along with Evan Bayh of Indiana, Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware. Democrats at least have the advantage, albeit a small one, of heading committees or being able to pass legislation they can run on.[...]

It certainly does complicate things for anyone from Washington who is trying to run for president.

“They voted against Washington on Tuesday night,” said Mr. Bayh, the Indiana senator. That explains why Mr. Bayh on the campaign trail is as likely to emphasize his years as governor as his years in the Senate, and why Mr. Edwards’s decision to move out of Georgetown and back to North Carolina seems particularly well-advised this weekend.
Shaye Rabold is a rising star in the Democratic Party.

The winners and losers in Indiana:
Mayor Bart Peterson: The numbers in Marion County show once again the county is becoming increasingly Democratic. The mayor also benefits from Democratic wins at the township level, aiding his government consolidation efforts.

Dan Parker: At the request of Sen. Evan Bayh, Parker took over as Indiana Democratic Party chairman in the wake of massive Democratic losses in 2004. The job didn't seem very attractive then. Two years later, he's a big winner.
Congressman-elect John Yarmuth takes questions from readers of the Courier-Journal.

How being in the majority helps Sen. Bayh
Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh, chairman of a Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee when he was in Congress in the 1970s and 1980s, agreed that “it makes a big difference having somebody up the totem pole.”

Bayh said he thinks Visclosky will do more than ensure that projects in the Gary region receive money. The three new Hoosier Democratic congressmen can also expect Visclosky’s help, he said.[...]

The election of three Hoosier Democratic House candidates – turning the state’s congressional delegation from eight Republicans and three Democrats to six Democrats and five Republicans – puts another notch into Sen. Evan Bayh’s presidential campaign belt.

“If Sen. Bayh decides to run, there is no question that his ability to turn a red state blue would be a central part of his argument for why he should be the nominee. The election results in Indiana, which is one of the most Republican states in the country, certainly helped validate that argument,” said Dan Pfeiffer, spokesman for Bayh’s political action committee.

Bayh devoted time and money from his PAC to congressional races around the country, particularly Indiana. Pfeiffer said Bayh attended 25 events in the past month for Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill, the newly elected Hoosier congressmen.
In the next few weeks, Sen. Bayh has a lot of questions to ask himself, his family, his friends, and advisors.

Here's another article dealing with Bayh.
As Edwards was thanking the Democratic base for fueling the congressional takeover, other Democrats with White House ambitions took a different view. "Independent and moderate voters gave us a chance last night, and those are the voters we need in 2008," Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh told U.S. News, noting that three of the Democrats' House pickups had come from his conservative Hoosier State. "I hope our party doesn't get the impression that the country has fallen in love with strident partisan Democrats." As nearly a dozen Democrats start carving their niches for the '08 presidential contests, Edwards and Bayh reflect the two broad flanks now emerging: one to the left of Hillary Rodham Clinton and another in line with her more centrist positioning-but without the baggage she brings.

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