The Bradley/Bayh parallel

Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh’s surprise retirement from the United States Senate is slightly reminiscent of Bill Bradley’s decision to leave the United States Senate in 1996.  Bayh and Bradley were both viewed as future presidential candidates when they first won statewide office, but neither pulled the trigger.  Each were highly regarded as Senators, popular in their home states, draws as national political leaders, but both were just bland enough not to make the final cut as national contenders.  Bradley almost lost his seat in 1990, through no real fault of his own: New Jerseyans were incensed over Democratic Gov. Jim Florio’s tax increases.  Bayh was suddenly facing a tough campaign for a third term in the Senate became Hoosiers seem unhappy with the Democrats who control the White House and Congress.  Bradley said he would depart the Senate because he viewed politics to be broken; Bayh said that he was frustrated by the gridlock in Washington.  Four years after Bradley left the Senate, he ran a spirited but largely unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination – except for Richard Codey, the New Jersey Democratic establishment endorsed Al Gore.

The Bradley/Bayh parallel