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American Opinion: On Sen. Evan Bayh stepping down after two terms of office:

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From The Associated Press

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

On Sen. Evan Bayh stepping down after two terms of office:

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It is a ritual for politicians to say they are stepping down to spend more time with their families. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., no doubt looks forward to that pleasure too, but he offered a different, and compelling, explanation for his decision not to seek a third term: his exasperation with the way hyper-partisanship has sabotaged the legislative process. ...

Who could disagree? Senate Democrats couldn't count on even one Republican to break ranks and support a health care reform proposal. Seven Republican senators who initially sponsored a commission on the national debt ultimately repudiated their own idea lest they hand President Barack Obama a political victory. Only nine Republican senators voted to confirm Obama's nomination of a superbly qualified Supreme Court justice, petty payback for the equally knee-jerk opposition of many Democrats to George W. Bush's nominees -- and their use of the filibuster to delay or derail others.

The House too is poisonously polarized, and not only because trends have led to more ideologically monolithic congressional districts. When the House passed its version of health care reform in November, only one Republican voted yes. Republicans blamed highhandedness by Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Democrats insisted that lock-step GOP opposition evidenced a desire to embarrass Obama even at the cost of a bipartisan compromise. They were both right. ...

If there is any hope for a reversal of the trend Bayh decried, it may lie not with Congress or Obama but with voters. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 75 percent of respondents disapproved of the job Congress was doing. Clearly not all the discontented pine for the productive bipartisanship Bayh celebrates. Some of their alienation may even stem from rare bipartisan exercises such as the banking bailout.

But most disenchanted voters aren't nihilists; they want members of Congress to act as adults and to behave out of something other than partisanship, ideology and self-dealing. Democrats and Republicans who confound that expectation run the risk of joining Bayh in retirement.

-- Los Angeles Times

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