Chris Cillizza has an interesting item about how Evan Bayh’s vote for the Nelson-Hatch amendment — which would have imposed serious restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion in the health care bill — signals the end of his national aspirations. Bayh, who’d previously voted to ban partial-birth abortions, would now have a really tough time overcoming the objections of pro-choice activists. And he’s moved right on just enough issues to give him trouble in other policy areas too.
Cillizza’s right that we probably won’t see a President Bayh, but I think the rollcall on Nelson-Hatch signals something more basic: the political difficulty of representing a red state and voting for taxpayer funding of abortion. Bayh is up for reelection in 2010 and is trying to avoid handing a possible Republican challenger easy ammunition. It was the strategy employed by the last Democrat who ran against John Hostettler, current Congressman Brad Ellsworth.
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