February 21st, 2010
04:30 PM ET
3 years ago

Bayh: Gridlock caused by 'testosterone poisoning,' tribalism


Washington (CNN) – Disenchanted Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh on Sunday blamed "tribal" politics for the gridlock that is paralyzing Capitol Hill.

"Our politics in Congress has become tribal in some ways. We have the tribe of the Democrats and tribe of the Republicans," Bayh said, appearing on CNN's State of the Union with Democrat Jon Corzine, a former New Jersey governor and senator, and Republican Susan Molinari, a former House member from New York.
In discussing partisanship, Molinari said that "women have a tendency to band together a little bit more than the men."

Bayh interjected: "It's testosterone poisoning; it's not our fault."

"You said it. I didn't," Molinari joked in response.

Bayh, who stunned Democrats last week when he announced he will not seek re-election in November, spoke about why he believes Congress can't get much done.

"Well, the culture really has changed," Bayh told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
"We have a lot of wonderful people, well-meaning people, but they're trapped in a system that's dysfunctional," said Bayh, whose father also served in the Senate.

The Indiana Democrat faulted the culture of Congress and political fundraising. "Back in my father's day, there was a lot more interaction. You had friendships across the aisle regardless of partisanship, regardless of ideology," said Bayh.

Corzine was even more blunt in his analysis.

"Winning has become the objective more than problem solving or the common good," the New Jersey Democrat told Crowley. "And I think it infects both sides. I don't think it's one side or the other. And so everything is focused on the election outcomes and people have lost track that sometimes good people do things that may not be as politically attractive."

For her part, Molinari was less critical of Capitol Hill.

"I still think Washington is a pretty good place with some terrific people working here," she said.

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN


Filed under: Congress • Evan Bayh • Extra • Jon Corzine • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Ken

    Actually, it seems our system of checks and balances is working to keep an out-of-control liberal majority from ramming policies down the nations throats that the voters are rejecting. It should be an interesting November. I am still in a state of good shock that far left leaning liberal Mass. replaced the King – Kennedy with a Republican.

    February 21, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Papasan

    Please listen carefully, as a Nation we are on our own, the Government does not care about Main Street regardless of who is President, either Democrat or Republican.

    Wars will go on, Wall Street is feasting on cash again, Capitol Hill will continue to be ineffectual, Political Pork subsidies will be allocated, Small Businesses will close, and Life as we \"KNEW IT\" is gone.

    If you need to believe in something, start believing in yourself, community, take pride in the sustainable items you can create with your own hands, be self reliant and learn to help your neighbors, act as if Government Help is a far off cruel fairy-tail.

    The Financial Depression and lose of jobs was manufactured by the very System that is now in control of fixing the mess. Now does that make sense to let them be in control? No it doesn't...

    It is completely possible to move forward with our lives and prosper once again, it was done before, and now regular folks spread out across the Nation have to do it again.

    Good luck, Good Bye, and don't forget to write!

    Papasan in AZ

    February 21, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. RogerD

    what it will take to overcome is Executive Leadership. Go back to the campaign where many questioned the leadership of then Senator Obama and now President.

    All I can say is you get what you voted for...Now we need to "hope" we see is "change" on the way.

    February 21, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are a tribe of Taliban who want to enjoy all the riches and squeeze out the middle class and poor. They don't want healthcare reform while our tax dollars pay for many fields of medical research. If healthcare reform doesn't pass, then it's time to demand that your tax money not go into medical research or demand that Republicans pay for medical research.

    February 21, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Ryan

    At least he is being honest...

    February 21, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. America Shrugged

    Who cares about this pretend Democrat. I hope a Republican gets his seat, at least we know what we will get accomplished with a Republican in...Nothing.

    February 21, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. AJ

    Bayh is an idiot. Poor leadership is paralyzing Capitol Hill. Reid and Obama were too weak willed to push through legislation with a 60 seat majority. Now that is gone and nothing will get done. Its time for a Democratic leader who doesn't care what republicans think, who is strong enough to say to members of his own party "you will get on board or we will leave you behind." Its time that those who run as Democrats actually act like democrats and its time that the party only help those that do. It may hurt in the short run,but in the long run will only make for a stronger party.

    February 21, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. stevegee

    If ever there was a time for term limits, it's now. Congress has become infested with career politicians who are more concerned about their livelihoods (i.e. getting re-elected) than they are with do what's right for the country.

    That's why the Conservative Movement is growing stronger every day - because people are fed up with the federal government . Just look at the mess they've gotten us into: obscene deficits, high taxes, insolvent entitlement programs, back-room deals, it's sickening.

    The American people reject the radical "change" agenda of Obama. And Republican candidates are going to win big coast to coast. As for the Democrats, they'd better update their resumes because they're all going to be out of a job.

    February 21, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Cayce in Atlanta

    Is all the Dems know how to do is work on bills that citizens do not want or need and how to waste money? They could not pass a bill when they did not need Republican votes yet they blame the Republicans for their failure.The Dems are the problem and not the solution.

    February 21, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Carl Justus

    Once again our so called leaders do not to get together and find the best possible solution to the problems that face ALL AMERICA.

    If they do not get their way they refuse to play, they are nothing more than little spoiled boys in men's bodies that will fight even minor disagreements just to show they have power.

    They do care who it hurts as long it is not the very people who bought their seat for them and will jump and at the least bit of greed that comes along with the 200,000 dollars or so that a lobbyist raised and bundle to give them.

    February 21, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Kristy Howard-Clark

    So the women in Washington D.C. like Feinstein and Boxer are also
    suffering from testosterone poisoning ? Very interesting, I wonder what is in the water in Washington D.C.

    February 21, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Carl Justus

    Byah is coward when he refuses to stand up and fight for those things he SAYS he believes in. If he truly believes that the system is broken, then why does he not sit down with his colleagues and find the answer to the problems that face America and forget about who gets the pat on the back if they work out and the criticism when they do not.

    February 21, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Joe Camaione

    Maybe Bayh should get some testosterone . He can't change anythng from the outside , or is it the Pharma,s money talking ?

    February 21, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. ICARE

    Yes! Good observance. It's funny how we make fun of Al Qaeda and the Talibans, but we have our OWN CRAZY SCARY versions of it.

    It's very sad.

    February 21, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Chaya van Essen

    I believe that "winning has become the objective more than problem solving or the common good" because we don't have inspiring leadership. A great leader inspires and motivates people & politicians from both sides of the political divide to cross that divide and come up with solutions that work for this country. Somehow our current leadership hasn't been able to do that...

    February 21, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. ellen

    Who does Bayh think he's fooling? He IS the gridlock.

    February 21, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. SocialismBad

    It was no coincidence that Bayh announced his decision not to run again RIGHT AFTER Harry Reid topedoed a bipartisan Senate bill ALL ON HIS OWN. Bayh just doesn't want to hurt his own party, that has been hijacked by the far left, by telling the full truth.

    The truth is that moderate Democrats like Bayh are targeted and demonized by the far left loons and blamed for the Democrats' FAILURE to force a government takeover of the healthcare system in this country. The far left Progressives in the Democratic party aren't happy spewing lies about the Republicans, they even cannibalize their OWN.

    Welcome to the new Democratic Party...

    February 21, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Independent One

    I blame the media for the widespread of partisanship....We who hope to see things done and are yelling for bipartisanship has NO Voice with the media

    February 21, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Edwin

    It's all well and good to blame it on the desire to win, but if those in Congress did not campaign to win, someone else would take their place.

    The problem lies in perception. Americans view their political opposites to be misguided or evil, and they don't want their "good" representatives to cooperate with evil-minded opponents. Media outlets, in a desire for ratings (and money), help sustain this perception by showing only the worst and most extreme cases, without any consideration for context.

    But the media is not really to blame, either, because if they practiced "responsible" journalism, they would lose readership and go out of business, only to be replaced with a less ethical outlet.

    So we have a vicious cycle: Americans crave controversy, so that is what they are shown. Any "moderate" in this climate cannot hope to win, because they either have no faults and are thus not newsworthy, or they are attacked and have no loyal base to support them.

    Hence only the more extremist politicians make it to Washington.

    If you can see how to fix this, Bayh, I wish you the best of luck.

    February 21, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Blah blah blah. The people back at home don't matter. Money from insurance companies is very important to them. Bayh gets millions.

    February 21, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. easyrestin

    Evan Bayh upsets Obama in 2012. Judd Gregg defeats Bayh.

    February 21, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. terry,va.

    It's not testosterone that is causing our problems. It is a clear idealism difference that is called liberalism/socialism and the get down and get it spirit that capitalism and work calls for. This has never been a nanny state and we Repubs have no intention of giving any more to the sorry people that won't work. Please work and quit crying.

    February 21, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Joey

    The 24-7 news cycle bears a lot of the blame. In trying to beef up ratings, "news" outlets stir up their choirs and jazz up the content. And the people on Capitol Hill are playing right along, knowing that's how they get mic time and their 15 minutes of fame. How else can you explain the phenomenon of a freshman rep like Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) shooting to No. 3 on the Google search list for "alan"?

    February 21, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Independent One

    Come November....EVERYONE should voice their concerns by voting, as an Independent the only Repub I could EVER vote for is Ron Paul, the rest of them are very scary radical people....

    February 21, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Pragmatic

    Recent Example? GOP senators write a bill to form a committee to work on the deficit (a GOP talking point) The President approves. The GOP votes against the bill – those voting "no" included those who wrote the bill! It was the same bill! It HAD NOT BEEN CHANGED! Repubicans – unwilling to agree with anything that might move America forward!

    February 21, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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