A few thoughts on Evan Bayh’s stunning retirement announcement:
1) It helps move the prospect of a GOP Senate takeover from a fringe idea to consensus. Not there yet, but getting there.
2) Why does that matter? It could help nudge more Democrats to retire, particularly in the House and help Republicans recruit better candidates. (George Pataki in NY for US Senate?) And a big plus for Republican fundraising.
3) Forget talk about Bayh challenging Obama in 2012. Now, if Bayh was president with a lousy economy, then a challenge from the left (like Obama) might be a possibility. Intra-party centrist insurgencies are stuff of reporters’ imaginations.
4) A year ago, Dems thought they would gain seats in 2010. A few months ago, they thought they would hold the 60-seat supermajority or maybe lose a couple. Now a loss of seven seems quite reasonable.
5) Again, keep watching the unemployment rate and Obama’s approval rating. Washington insiders certainly are.