Malaka Of The Week: Evan Bayh

Holy Joe Lieberman was the front runner until I heard something disturbing fromGlenn Greenwaldon teevee about Senator Evan Bayh, which makes him this weeks malaka. Not only is the Hoople-headed Hoosierthreatening to join a filibuster, It turns out that the Bayhs, via the Senator’s wife Susan, have afinancial stake in maintaining the health care status quo:

He’s worried aloud that any public option would be a nod to socialism
and counter to his principles as a fiscal conservative. When pressed on
the issue, he’s said he’s simply a vessel reflecting the views of hisIndiana constituents.

Yet Bayh, who until very late in the campaign last year was
considered a top contender to be Obama’s vice president, is at best
naive and disingenuous, and at worst supremely hypocritical in pushing
his views as those of his voters.

His wife, Susan Bayh, sits on the board ofWellPoint(WLP Quote)
in her hometown of Indianapolis. Over the last six years, Susan Bayh
has received at least $2 million in compensation from WellPoint alone
for serving on its board.

She joined AnthemInsurance (the precursor organization to WellPoint) in 1998, when she was 38 years old and a midlevel attorney working forEli Lilly(LLY Quote). Her work experience prior to her stint at Lilly was five years as a junior lawprofessor
at Butler University in Indianapolis. Her work background at the time
she was appointed to the Anthem board would have been surprising, given
that she had no insurance experience and was relatively young and
inexperienced to serve as a director on a multibillion-dollar board.

However, Susan Bayh had one competitive advantage that made her
stand out as attractive to Anthem: She was married to Evan Bayh —
former governor of Indiana who, in 1998, was elected to the U.S. Senate.

p>Eric Jackson’s article at the Street goes on to detail how Susan Bayh has cashed in on her husband’s office. Shocking? No, it’s a classic inside the beltway story. I have no illusions about Evan Bayh being anything other than a Blue Dog careerist but I’m *somewhat* more disappointed than I should be in hearing this news because I have great respect for his father, former Indiana SenatorBirch Bayh.

Birch Bayh was Ted Kennedy’s closest friend in the Senate: in 1964, he pulled Teddy out of that legendary crashed plane thereby saving his life. Birch Bayh was a fighting liberal in a conservative state who voted his convictions and went down in the Reagan landslide losing his seat to J. Danforth Quayle. Birch Bayh has said many times that he hated losing but didn’t mind *how* it happened because he stood for something. His son stands only for getting re-elected and making money off his position. In this case, the acorn fell far from the tree. And that’s why Evan Bayh is malaka of the week.


7 thoughts on “Malaka Of The Week: Evan Bayh

  1. As one of Bayh’s “constituents”, I can assure you that should he oppose the reform bill, he’ll have lost my vote. He’s NOT voting with his constituency as far as I’m concerned.

  2. To once again, for the thousandth time, quote the late, great, much-missed Molly Ivins: “You got to dance with them what brung ya.” Just follow the money, folks, and it’s clear with whom congressional loyalties lie. Real reform cannot take place in our political system until we have total public financing of all campaigns, and that will take a Constitutional Amendment to get around the crooks and liars who think money is free speech.

  3. Definition: Constituent – noun – the corporation that gives me the most money.

  4. WellPoint bought out my husband’ employer in NYC. I’m now really glad he vamoosed from the company when he did.

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