Political Notebook

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Bayh, JG rate mentions in 'This Town'

The Journal Gazette earns a mention in “This Town,” the popular new book by Mark Leibovich about cronyism and wealth in Washington politics and government.

Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, devotes three pages of his book to former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.

Leibovich writes on page 167:

“Evan was savaged in the most personal ways during the debate over health care. His wife, Susan, sat on numerous corporate boards, making more than $1 million a year since leaving as first lady of Indiana, from numerous corporate interests. (The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette described Susan Bayh as a “professional board member,” having been a director of fourteen corporations since 1994, eight since 2006.)

“Evan’s insistence that his wife’s deep financial stake in the industry would have no bearing on his role in overhauling it was met with open derision. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald called Bayh the ‘perfectly representative face for the rotted Washington establishment,’ while Matt Yglesias, writing for ThinkProgress, said Bayh was ‘acting to entrench the culture of narcissism and hypocrisy that’s killing the United States Congress.’ ”

Details on Susan Bayh’s memberships on boards of companies whose interests could be affected by federal legislation and congressional votes, including her husband’s, were reported in a package of stories written by former Washington Editor Sylvia A. Smith and published by The Journal Gazette in December 2007.

Leibovich also writes in “This Town” that Bayh, in an interview with the Washington Post, had characterized the public’s perception of politicians as: “They look at us like we’re worse than used-car salesmen.” In the next paragraph, Leibovich writes: “He then showed just the shameless opportunism that would repel any used-car buyer (‘Make Crazy Evan an offer!’)”

The author goes on to list Bayh’s post-Senate jobs -- Fox News commentator, senior adviser to private equity firm Apollo Global Management and law/lobbying firm McGuireWoods and regulatory relief pitchman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.