When Senator Evan Bayh, D-Ind., announced on Monday that he will not seek a third term in November, the political world took notice. Reading from prepared remarks, Bayh said there is too much partisanship and not enough progress and too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving. He says even at a time of enormous challenge, the people's business is not being done.
So far this year 43 lawmakers have said they will depart the House or the Senate. More than 39 others made similar statements in the spring of last year. This puts into question the political leadership in Washington. At least one political handicapper puts 10 seats held by Democrats in the category of most competitive.
Senator Bayh developed a reputation as being a centrist and serves on several Senate committees including Energy and Natural Resources. In 2008, Bayh was part of an effort to reach consensus on energy legislation. The "Gang of 20" supported a GOP push to expand gas and oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean in exchange for new investments in energy efficiency and conservation technology that many Democrats were seeking. The $84 billion New Energy Reform Act that resulted from that action has been moved to the legislative back burner