In the months leading up to his decision not to run for re-election, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) had become increasingly frustrated with federal spending, criticizing his party for lacking fiscal discipline.
Most notably, Bayh called on President Obama to veto the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed in mid-December.
“It’s bad for our country’s finances," Bayh said at the time. "It’s bad for our children because we are going deeper into debt to China. It sets a terrible example by showing that politicians are totally out of touch with the sacrifices middle class Americans are making."
"I think for some of them, it's that they don't pay as much attention to the deficit," he told Fox News. "They just don't focus on economics."
The Indiana Democrats unsuccesfully demanded a bipartisan commission to deal with the nation's debt, a proposal which failed after seven Republican co-sponsors changed position. Bayh cited that vote in his statement announcing his retirement.
He also pushed for a freeze on domestic discretionary spending just days before Obama endorsed the idea in his State of the Union.
Meanwhile, Liberals have criticized Bayh for posturing as a deficit hawk while voting, for example, to cut the estate tax. They also seized on Bayh's willingness to approve an escalation of the war in Afghanistan without explaining how to pay for it.