By Editor-in-chief
updated 12/18/2006 10:58:00 AM ET 2006-12-18T15:58:00

Sen. Evan Bayh dropped out of the 2008 presidential race before it got started, a casualty of a political system that favors early front-runners and a few challengers -- David vs. Goliaths. Bayh said he wondered “whether I’m just not the right David.”

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Voters must wonder whether there are enough Davids.

“Are we losers because there is one less choice? One less voice?” asked Bob Ruppert, 44, a banker in Landover, Md. His question, posed to an issues-based community called, gets to the core of voters’ suspicions that the political and media elite winnow the presidential field long before Americans get a chance to evaluate their potential leaders.

Bayh, a Democratic senator and former governor of Indiana, bowed out just two weeks after announcing the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. He had been running for the presidency, all but officially, for months. Bayh joins former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner as well-known Democrats who abruptly dropped their presidential plans.

Clinton vs. Obama factor
Democratic leaders and political journalists seem focused on the candidacies of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, forcing others to compete for scraps of attention. Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards plans to announce his White House bid later this month, The Associated Press reported as Bayh departed the scene.

“Is Bayh a casualty of excessive media coverage of Obama and Hillary?” Ruppert wrote.  “What causes the media to do this? Do they have a horse in this race? These are the questions I ask when I see something like this. And, I feel cheated, regardless of whether I'm Republican or Democrat.”

Some voters don’t feel cheated. “Bayh performed a great service to the country by getting out of the race and letting the voters focus on those with an actual shot of winning,” wrote a HOTSOUP community member who identified himself only as Jerry.  “Perhaps he will be rewarded with a (vice presidential) spot.  Further, I don't understand why people with no shot of winning … get in the race.  It's just a distraction and forces the other nominee's to move farther to the extreme side of their parties.”

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