NYT: Evan Bayh 'Has Compiled a Moderate-to-Conservative Record'

Yesterday's New York Times carried the story, "Indiana Senator Offers Obama Risks and Rewards." The article focuses on Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, described as "one of the leading candidates to be the running mate of the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama."

The article notes:

Mr. Bayh and Mr. Obama made a joint campaign swing in Indiana last week that would have provided an opportunity for the Obama campaign to gauge the personal and political chemistry between the two men, who have worked together in the Senate on an initiative to promote responsible fatherhood — a signature issue for both.

“Evan has a lot of experience,” said Lee H. Hamilton, a former House member from Indiana and a respected Democratic elder. “He has got Hollywood good looks, and he speaks well. He would be very loyal.”

Mr. Bayh, whose father, Birch, was a liberal Democratic senator and presidential candidate in 1976, has compiled a moderate-to-conservative record both as governor of Indiana from 1988 to 1996 and as senator since 1999. He was first elected to state office in 1986 at age 30, as Indiana secretary of state.

A moderate-to-conservative record? The Times itself continues:

In the past few years, Mr. Bayh has been a more reliably Democratic vote on social policy, and he opposed President Bush’s nominees to the Supreme Court. But this spring, he frustrated Democratic leaders by holding out against new spending in the federal budget. But that reflects his fiscal conservatism; in Indiana, his record on cutting taxes as governor and leaving office with a $1.6 billion surplus is a hallmark.

Budget surpluses are not unusual for Indiana. Even in today's "tough times," as incessantly painted by the media, Indiana ended the last fiscal year with $1.4 billion in its main checking account and primary savings accounts.

So let's briefly examine the rest of that moderate-to-conservative record. Project Vote Smart collects ratings given by a wide variety of special-interest organizations. Evan Bayh's record shows that in 2007, NARAL Pro-Choice America gave him a grade of 100, as did the AFL-CIO and the Children's Defense Fund. The Americans for Democratic Action assigned him a 95 percent rating and the ACLU awarded him an 86. For 2005-2006, he earned a 100 percent rating from the National Education Association.

In 2007, the National Taxpayers Union gave him a grade of D, the American Conservative Union rated him at 12 percent, and both the Gun Owners of America and U.S. English assigned him an F.

Oh, yes, that sounds moderate-to-conservative. I'd imagine that to most of us on the right, the word "conservative" isn't one that applies to Evan Bayh. You can bet, however, that if he's chosen for the veep slot, we'll see that many in the mainstream media will try to portray him exactly that way.

2008 Presidential New York Times Evan Bayh