Evan Bayh announced his retirement from the Senate two years ago, and sailed off into the sunset on a wave of paeans to his upstanding character and laments for his party. Bayh himself penned a lengthy, high-minded New York Times op-ed calling for all of us to come together for the national good. Truly, he was too good for politics. Then Bayh quietly slipped off to, as they say in Washington, “practice law.”
Today Bayh is back with an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.
It seems that, since his departure from the public sector, Bayh has developed a powerful interest in a new public policy issue: the tax on medical devices in the Affordable Care Act. Did you know that this tax will harm medical innovation and push American jobs overseas, unless Congress acts to repeal it? Bayh finds all these arguments extremely compelling. (The Bloomberg View editorial page, which shares the same basic centrist orientation as Bayh did as a Senator, has pointed out before that none of these claims are remotely persuasive.)
You have to get to the very last line of Bayh’s op-ed, the part in italics below the text, to read the crucial explanatory passage:
Mr. Bayh, a Democrat, is a former governor and U.S. senator from Indiana. He is a partner at the McGuireWoods law firm, which represents several medical-device companies.
O-oh! You don’t say! Is there any chance this latter fact has anything at all to do with Bayh’s sudden concern for this vital public policy issue? Is there any chance he is in fact being paid to write this very op-ed, or has he merely decided to supplement his income as a freelance writer on public policy issues? Perhaps he could inform us in his next magnum opus on What’s Wrong With American Politics.