The harsh reality is that Bayh has been wrong about virtually everything. And the country suffers not because partisanship blocked action, but because the establishment consensus got too much of his agenda enacted.
Bayh supported the catastrophic invasion of Iraq. He joined the bipartisan celebration of banking deregulation. He favors more military spending. He favored tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in an age of Gilded Age inequality. He was an advocate of corporate free trade policies that encouraged multinationals to ship jobs to a mercantilist China willing to subsidize them. He's a champion of bipartisanship -- bipartisan folly.
Even in his departing, he got it wrong. Bayh announced on CBS's Early Show that he was looking for a job in the private sector because "If I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months," This echoes the Republican assault on the recovery plan as summarized by newly elected Senate Scott Brown of Massachusetts, that the stimulus plan "didn't create one new job."
These moderates are so damned frustrating. They build their identity around the fact that the best policy lies somewhere between what Democrats want and what Republicans want. If all sides were operating good faith, this might work some of the time. But when what one party wants is for the other party to fail, the concept breaks down. Then, all the moderates do is facilitate a nihilistic approach to government by creating gridlock.
So, here we are the Republicans, who handed Obama two unfinished wars and an economy heading into another depression, have had some success painting Democrats as either incompetent failures who can't get anything done or successful socialists who are taking the country into the dictatorship of the proletariat. And the result, if achieve their goal, will be to hand the government back to them to do it all again.