Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Congratulations To Senator Evan Bayh

Harbeson: Bayh's Announcement is no Big Surprise

I’m not sure why Senator Bayh’s announcement that he will not run again is big news. It’s just another example of a politician doing what’s best for the politician. He’s used government for years to develop his image and doesn’t want to risk losing it if the political climate moves against decades-long incumbents. Sure, he can say he’s confident he would be re-elected, but by getting out now, he doesn’t have to be accountable.

I was interested when he said he’s an “executive at heart” and values his “independence.” Isn’t this how we all feel? We all claim independence and are “executives at heart” because we naturally want control over our own lives.

The difference is that most of us concentrate on pursuing these desires on an individual level, allowing others to do the same. We don’t feel the need to develop a career controlling other people. There are even rumblings that Bayh’s desire for control even played a part in who will take his place as the Democratic candidate since his announcement fell so close to the filing deadline.

Bayh seems most upset over what he considers to be too much partisanship in Congress. He’s pretending that something different is happening right now, but it’s nothing new. It’s just that he’s not getting what he wants so it’s a nice excuse.

He also laments the unwillingness to compromise. I’ve never understood why compromise is considered a value to worship under the umbrella of government force. Taking pride in compromise and assuming it’s the preferred action implies that it’s wrong to take a stand and hold that stand; that it’s somehow wrong to have clearly defined principles (not that I think anyone in government has clearly defined principles).

In reality, the kinds of compromises politicians like Bayh make are compromises that by their very nature force those who disagree to comply. The two parties pat themselves on the back for their grand ability to compromise, completely ignoring how their actions affect people who didn’t want to be a part of their deal. Compromise is always assumed to be a good thing and no one ever talks about how political compromises always favor the growth and perpetuation of the system, the very system Bayh now denounces.

Think of it like this: There’s a car for sale at a local lot. One salesman wants to sell it for $20,000 and the other wants to sell it for $24,000 so they compromise with each other and price it at $22,000. Then they grab you off the street and happily inform you that through their amazing ability to work together and compromise, they’ve decided you’re going to buy this car for $22,000. They totally ignore the fact that you don’t want to buy a car. You’re supposed to be happy they were able to reach a compromise with each other, but buying the car is non-negotiable.

But enough about Bayh’s past life. I’m glad he’s moving on. In fact, I want to congratulate him for finally figuring out that government really doesn’t work so well. I’m glad he’s finally joining those of us who also do not love Congress.

I would like to welcome him to the private sector. At least it sounds like that’s where he plans to go, so I’m excited to see what Bayh will do next. Where will his “executive nature” and independence lead him? Will he ignore government and work to develop solutions through cooperation and persuasion, in a voluntary manner and not through force backed up by threats of violence? I can’t wait to find out.

Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson is irritated at her husband’s resistance to the compromise she made with a friend on how long he should rub her feet each night.

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