Due to odd L.A. programming for CBS Sunday morning, I was unable to follow my own advice, and only caught This Week (as well as the great Frank Rich column). This was the first glimpse of Evan Bayh that I've had, and I suppose two things struck me: he's calm and smart, and his voice is kind of radio-announcer-y. We'll see what happens with him. Vilsack also seemed calm and smart but his makeup was weird (red lips?) and it distracted me overall. The lame-o panel afterwards quickly wrote Vilsack off due to his lack of "passion" but I'm not sure what they expect; I doubt modern political passion requires full-throated zaniness, a la Howard Dean or Al Gore 2.0. Besides, when John McCain speaks he has the enthusiasm of a rural banker opening a savings account and no one seems to question his passion (or question him, period). And I don't think Hillary Clinton has any real passion beyond her trademark snark. Whatever though, right--at this early stage the pundits are at their weakest zenith in terms of power-- what matters most is signing up talent and raising the funds.Here's an interesting devil's advocate take on why Vilsack's road to D.C. is a bumpy one. One evening as a Congressional page I was leaving the Hart Senate office building and I stood in line at the ATM behind a staffer for Senator Brownback. The Senator stood waiting nearby, holding some dry-cleaning. He casually struck up a conversation with me asking where I was from, etc. He was friendly and very sincere. It's too bad his brand of theocratic conservatism has no place in American democratic governing, now matter how genuinely held his values are. However, I suspect Brownback will be able to participate in the primaries for a while, occupying the true Far Right corner once warmed by the tired persona of George Allen.