So Bayh is out, less than two weeks after announcing the opening of his exploratory committee.
I tend to agree with the remarks he put out, suggesting he and his advisors took a hard look at the scene and decided the current Senator, and former Governor, of Indiana faced a pretty rough road in winning the nomination. But not an impossible one. And given the inexperience of Obama (even if he runs) and the liabilities of HRC, Bayh would probably have been the kind of "consensus" candidate that might emerge in the event the others self-destruct late in the game (see Dean, Howard). And although Bayh wasn't high on the charisma chart, he would have been a much candidate than Vilsack, another DLC'er who's already announced, and at least the equal of others, be they Wes Clark or Bill Richardson.
But as I heard someone on CNN say the other day, it wasn't as if there was some groundswell in support of a Bayh candidacy. But the lack of any real constituency or grassroots support isn't a hinderance to most other candidacies, which also tend to have a top-down flavor to them. Bayh will probably get a long look as the VP.
So that leaves us with Vilsack already announced, Edwards soon to announce, and Obama and HRC headlining the media coverage. Biden, Richardson, Clark and Dodd are presumably on the bubble.
Two years out and the field is already shrinking and getting less interesting. Edwards remains about the only liberal in the race, but I don't know if he has lifted his gravitas enough to convince a wide enough section of the country he's up to the job. And while he will want to run on an anti-poverty platform, foreign affairs, particularly Iraq, will no doubt dominate the issue agenda.
Clark could make things interesting, but like Edwards and Obama, is somewhat unseasoned politically. Biden has called for a partitioning of Iraq, which may or may not be a good idea, but it has the merits of sounding both original and doable. Richardson is supposed to have foreign policy credentials, but I have yet to hear his solution in Iraq.