Whatever Evan Bayh's politics...

[Ta-Nehisi]

...this strikes as a truly awful thing to do to your colleagues:

Though Mr. Bayh had been considering his political future for some time, the timing of the announcement caught many top Democrats off guard. He did not inform Mr. Obama or other top party leaders of the timing of his decision, one associate said, so they would not make further efforts to talk him out of it; the office of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, first learned of the decision from news accounts.

Until now, every indication was that Mr. Bayh was proceeding with the race this fall. He had collected the necessary petitions to be placed on the ballot and they were due to be filed at noon on Tuesday. Democrats had coordinated an extended campaign to release damaging political information about the Republican who had emerged as Mr. Bayh's main threat, Daniel R. Coats, a former senator.

Mr. Bayh had already hired some campaign workers, and his campaign account had more than $13 million on hand....

Democrats say that since no party candidate is likely to raise enough signatures to qualify for the ballot by the deadline on Friday, the state party will be allowed to select its Senate candidate. But Republicans are challenging that interpretation and said they were exploring their legal options to deny Democrats a candidate if no one meets the filing deadline.

That is just amazing to me. I don't know Evan Bayh, so I don't know if this is narcissism or what. But to leave your colleagues in such a bad way strikes me as an extraordinary act of selfishness.

Not calling the president or Harry Reid because they might try to "talk him out of it," is telling. I don't know what to make of people who talk big in front of cameras, but can't look their comrades in the eye.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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