Bayh's Mass Appeal in '08
Bayh's credentials include his moderate to conservative views as well as a record of election success in a Republican-dominated Midwestern state. He won his recent Senate race by a record-setting 1,496,512 votes. Republican George Bush carried the state by a few less than that, 1,477,704 votes. Democrats are puzzled over why they can't win the red, or conservative, sections of the country. They are likely to take note of how Bayh has never lost a race in a very red state that last went for a Democrat for president in the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964.
The hardest part of a presidential run for Bayh, however, could be his party's primaries. The primaries tend to attract liberal activists, screening out centrist candidates like Bayh. But he could gain an advantage in a field of more liberal candidates if he is the only moderate to conservative.
Bayh's path to victory could be to say, 'Are you tired of losing?' . Evan Bayh likely will not scare anyone. A lot of Democrats do that. They scare people across the country in red states on the social and cultural issues. Those Democrats represent to them too much change in a liberal direction. Political figures in both parties in Indiana think Bayh could be the nominee if he wants to pursue it.
Another potential centrist candidate is Sen. John Edwards, the losing vice presidential candidate. But he has two handicaps, he lost his own state and He's a trial lawyer, and that's something he will be beat over the head about.
Further, results of the 2004 election mayl favor Bayh. Between now and 2008 that there's going to be a recognition in the party that we don't need to put an Eastern establishment liberal on the ticket, the candidate has to appeal to people in the red states."
Republicans from his home state of Indiana also see strengths in Bayh. He's well spoken, andunliek other Senatorial turner Presidential candidate's, he was a successful two-term governor. Personally, I think Bayh would be a stronger candidate than the more liberal Democrat who leads in the polls, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
Bayh has said that it is too soon for him to decide whether he would seek his party's nomination in the 2008 race. He skipped the 2004 race because of his two young sons, and he is young enough to wait and still run in 2012 or 2016. But in terms of opportunity in his own party, the year 2008 may be Bayh's last, best chance for the presidential nomination. If Democrats are looking for a centrist candidate who has a formidable background with personality and wider appeal to Independents and cross over Republicans, I think Bayh might very well be their man.