February 21st, 2010
04:30 PM ET
11 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. JD

    I wonder how Bayh's remarks would have been received if he'd blamed estrogen.

    For some reason, it's okay to be sexist about the male of the species, but we must show nothing but fawning deference to the other side of the equation.

    Sexism is bad. Hypocrisy is worse.

    February 21, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. R U Kidding

    Kum ba yah “centrists”, like Bayh, who bemoan congressional gridlock are looking at the situation from far, far too shallow a perspective. This disingenuous (or simply half witted) position makes several entirely unwarranted presumptions that ignore the most salient of current facts.

    First, it presumes that if there is a problem in our country, it is the role of government to “solve” it, despite it's long and abysmal record of failure to solve anything of consequence despite mortgaging away our children's and grandchildren's lives and fortunes in the process.

    While making a call for centrist comity in the face of highly partisan leftist assault lays the partisan groundwork for the ever bigger government upon which pursuit of the left's agenda so deeply relies, it is anathema to any legitimate conception of the limited government our founding fathers created. More importantly, it is also aggressively anathema to any legitimate concept of freedom.

    Second, it assumes that there is common ground between political positions. Whether we like the fact or not, this simply is not always the case. It most assuredly is not now the case.

    Since the 2008 election, for example, our 52.6% president and his Social Democrat Party have claimed an unprecedented mandate to foist socialism (in the form of social democracy) upon an unwilling American public.

    It has long been the left's ambition to finish in one fell swoop the transition of America to the social democratic state they have envisioned since FDR. It is the left's aggressive and purely partisan, albeit incompetent, pursuit of this claimed mandate that has fostered the irreconcialable gridlock that Bayh now bemoans.

    For Republicans to accomodate such a mandate in the comity attendant more mundane deliberation would be to surrender American freedom to an entrenched, ever bigger, socialist state. Such an accommodation warrants not just gridlock, but dueling at dawn among opposing members of congress and, ultimately, either division of this country into a socialist half and a free half or full blown civil war.

    Indeed, gridlock is far too tame and inconsequential a response to the assault on our freedom undertaken by Obama and his Social Democrat Party.

    February 21, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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