And as long as we're talking about Evan Bayh, let's also say a few words about John Edwards.
Like Evan Bayh, John Edwards is up for reelection in 2004. Yet unlike Bayh it's quite clear that Edwards is very, very serious about running for president.
So what exactly does that mean?
One possibility, suggested by a friend of mine, is that Edwards really doesn't have plans of serving more than one term in the Senate. Maybe he'll run for president, maybe he won't. But he won't be a Senator in 2005.
On the face of it that's hard to figure. Being a Senator is a really sweet job for a pol. Just ask John Kerry. And unless you want to become governor of your state, what the hell else are you going to do?
(Sure, you could sort of imagine Edwards playing the Cosby-esque paterfamilias on a network sitcom. But for the moment, let's assume that's not where his heart is.)
On the other hand, my friend raises another possibility. The kind of voting record that Edwards would want to put together to run for reelection in North Carolina is quite different from the kind he'd want to run in the Democratic presidential primaries.
In fact, 'different' may be too gentle. They may be incompatible. So that's another argument for Edwards' possibly not seeing himself as more than a one-term Senator.
Of course there's one more reason you figure Edwards will definitely run. One of the reasons Evan Bayh likely won't run is that he's basically part of the same club as Joe Lieberman (and, for that matter, Al Gore -- yes, I know they're all mad at each other, but trust me it's still the same club). They're all New Dems. And there are all sorts of reasons why people don't want more than one of them in the race.
A similar logic applies on the liberal side of the Democratic spectrum, though they're less clubbish so there's more of a chance that more than one of them would run.
But Edwards really isn't in either of these camps (and of course that's precisely the reason that a lot of folks are into him) and so there's really not anyone else who could throw their hat in the ring and make Edwards drop out.
Next up, we'll discuss what Talking Points thinks of a potential Edwards candidacy ... Hint: It ain't pretty.