ALO Central is finding very little to report on the Senator Evan Bayh exit story that you likely haven’t seen already.
The list of those saying they are not going to seek the seat apparently includes Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel and 2nd District Congressman Joe Donnelly.
Facebook and Twitter reports seem to have died down that 9th District Congressman Baron Hill and/or Joe Hogsett have secretly secured the signatures to get on the ballot and will file for the primary tomorrow, most likely due to the patent absurdity that one could secretly collect 500 signatures of registered voters from each of the nine congressional districts without raising any suspicions.
But our favorite right now is this Bret Hayworth column in Iowa’s Sioux City Journal that notes similarities in Bayh’s exit and that of Congressman Fred Grandy. You may remember Grandy better as Gopher of Love Boat fame.
Some are jumping on Bayh for quitting, and putting him in the same category with Sarah Palin. But there’s a big difference between stopping your quest for re-election less than a year from the vote and how Palin quit as Alaska govenor mid-term last summer. Instead of Palin, I can’t stop thinking about former Congressman Fred Grandy, who represented Northwest Iowa through 1994, until giving up a safe seat in an unsuccessful quest to bump off fellow Republican Terry Branstad in the 1994 governor race.
As Jackson (who tweets at hjacksonAP) noted, Bayh was “unusually candid for a seasoned politician” when, in talking out his decision today, he said, “I do not love Congress.” That’s where I hear Grandy loud and clear.
When the former “Love Boat” actor left the U.S. House he talked about having no more passion for going through the motions in D.C. Grandy held forth about how just getting a bill moved out of committee was a minor victory, and there was no use pretending that most members of Congress were major players pushing big accomplishments for the people back home.
Yes, Bayh, 54, is a major guy in the Senate, but he’s apparently seen the limits of what enjoyment he can get out of the job. Yes, these federal lawmakers serve their constituents, but they also get locked into the Beltway Bubble, and some perhaps find it an untenable situation for their inner selves. Others love the power game of politics — think someone like Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King. It seems Bayh isn’t one of them.
Judge him a quitter if you want, or afraid of a November loss in a time of waning President Barack Obama and Democratic Party popularity, but it seems the guy honestly recognizes he doesn’t have the passion to go through the motions. Like Grandy, who now works as a radio show host on the East Coast.
There may be something here. The other rumor surfacing is that the good Senator who said he is at heart an executive and has no love of Congress, is planning a run for Governor in 2012. Rather, we think he plans to captain the Love Boat.