If Barack Obama announces Evan Bayh as his running mate this week, it may be because the two are opposites in several respects.
Obama is short on experience in the U.S. Senate and in politics in general.
Bayh is long on political experience, having been in the Senate since 1999. He was a two-term governor of Indiana before that, and was elected secretary of state of Indiana at the age of 30.
Obama delivers speeches with soaring oratory and thrills his listeners, even some of those who disagree with him when they read the speeches later. As a public speaker, Bayh is pretty boring in comparison.
As part of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, with its tendency to see the evil in America instead of in her enemies, Obama is perceived as soft on national defense. Bayh is part of the moderate wing of the party, which desires to restore its strong national defense consensus that dominated the party from World War II until the Vietnam War.
Bayh could also be selected for how he conducts himself publicly, with no scandals attached to his 22 years in public life. He is polite and well-mannered. By church affiliation he is Episcopalian. At another time in history he would have been called a gentleman.
Of the leading contenders for the vice presidency, Bayh might give the Democrats credibility with some evangelical voters.
For a Democrat, he has made some unusual gestures in the direction of being a cultural conservative. He's been an articulate spokesman for fatherhood, even writing a book on the subject. As Indiana's governor from 1989 to 1997, he promoted the fatherhood movement and organized a major conference on the issue at a time when it was gaining steam around the country.
He also didn't serve liquor at the governor's mansion, ...1
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