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Baucus

[ 49 ] April 23, 2013 |

Max Baucus, the Democratic Party’s most annoying senator, is retiring at the end of his term. While like any Democrat, I worry about holding the seat, if Brian Schweitzer runs, he will be tough to beat, even if Denny Rehberg decides to try again. More importantly, a Ron Wyden-led Senate Finance Committee is going to be about 100 times less annoying to progressives than it is under Baucus.

….Trash Ruckus does seem appropriate.

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  • Bitter Scribe

    Good fucking riddance.

  • somethingblue

    This is excellent news for John McCain Montanans the Democratic Party pretty much everyone who is not a corrupt K-Street whore.

  • DrDick

    If true, this is some of the best political news I have had in a while. Now I do not have to worry about finding someone to primary the bastard. This may be enough to convince Schweitzer to run and, while he is not really much of an improvement over Max on most issues, he is massively popular in the state and should be able to win. I am not sure there is anyone else here that strong.

    • I assume Rehberg will remain a tough out should he choose to run, right?

      • DrDick

        Probably, but Schweitzer still has a lead there.

    • runasone

      On guns and coal he may not be a big improvement, but on pocketbook issues he is a progressive.

      • DrDick

        He can be pretty conservative on fiscal issues, as we found out in his second term as governor.

      • mds

        On guns and coal he may not be a big improvement,

        Well, he’s cagey, as usual, and the devil is certainly in the details, but:

        As a Democrat from a gun-owning state, he’s in favor of background checks while also saying he has “more [guns] than I need and less than I want.”

        –National Journal, 2/22/2013

        suggests a position closer to Tester than to Baucus.

        Of course, there’s also his repeated line:

        “I am not goofy enough to be in the House, and I’m not senile enough to be in the Senate”

        coupled with his obvious desire to run for President. I mean, he’d at least have more entertainment value than Baucus, and I’d rather lose the seat in 2020 than 2014, but it pretty much depends on whether he thinks it would help or hurt his presidential ambitions.

  • JKTHs

    More importantly, a Ron Wyden Chuck Schumer-led Senate Finance Committee is going to be about 100 times a tiny bit less annoying to progressives than it is under Baucus.

    FTFY? In all seriousness, is it a done deal that it’d be Wyden instead of someone like Schumer?

    • Murc

      Wyden is senior to Schumer both in the Senate and on the Finance Committee. Any job that the both of them want, Wyden edges out Schumer. That’s how the Democratic Caucus is organized, if I recall correctly.

      Does Jay Rockefeller not want to be chairman, though? Isn’t he senior to both of them? Or is he not running again either?

      • NonyNony

        Rockefeller announced his retirement earlier this year.

        Here’s a link I scrounged up – I guess it was in January.

        We’re pretty much going to lose a seat in W.Va. when Rockefeller retires (is there another annoying Democrat like Manchin who will at least keep the count high enough to control the chamber?), so keeping Montana will be important.

        • snarkout

          There are a number of Democrats in West Virginia (SoS Natalie Tennant, say) who could quite plausibly beat Republican candidates other than Shelly Moore Capito, but Capito will be heavily favored if she makes it through the primary.

        • Only if Earl Ray Tomblin decided to run, which is unlikely. It’s going to be Shelley Moore Capito.

          Yet, in all the other races, I feel pretty good. Bruce Braley is going to win in Iowa. I think Schweitzer will win here if he runs. It’s credible to think the Democrats have a shot with the Georgia seat since the Republicans are going to nominate someone totally insane. Keeping Arkansas and Louisiana will be challenges, but incumbency matters.

          • Murc

            I think Schweitzer will win here if he runs.

            Did you… move to Montana at some point and not tell us?

            • manwith7talents

              To be a dental floss tycoon.

        • Murc

          Thanks, Nony.

          So yeah, if Baucus and Rockefeller both retire, then it goes to Wyden if he wants it. Wyden has to pass before it gets to Schumer.

          And thank heavens for small favors. Wyden will be much better than Schumer there. Senators from New York shouldn’t even be allowed ON the finance committee, to say nothing of chairing it. I say this as someone who has voted for Schumer ever since he was old enough to do so.

          • Wouldn’t it be more problematic for Senators from New York to be on the Banking Committee? My grasp of Senate jurisdiction is rusty, but I don’t think Finance actually has primary jurisdiction over banking regulations.

            • Murc

              No, but it does have jurisdiction over a million and one taxation issues that happen to conveniently favor capital income and various rent-seeking schemes over people doing real work.

  • NonyNony

    Okay, so who gets to be the new “Democratic Party’s Most Annoying Senator”? This is another important question.

    • Bruce Vail

      Again, I vote for Schumer.

      • JKTHs

        Seconded.

    • Wyden may make a play for Most Annoying if he continues to think of himself as able to broker bipartisan deals when he is really just getting played.

    • runasone

      Baucus still has a year to be the worst. I can’t wait for the inevitable Very Serious Bipartisan Baucus-Camp Tax Reform Plan.

      • JKTHs

        That may be the worst thing about his retirement. Now he’ll feel the need to actually do things.

        • Matt

          Nope, Feinstein takes it big time. The others all have some reason to be bad on issues, but she doesn’t.

          • Book

            +1

          • NonyNony

            Is just being bad on issues alone enough to qualify as “most annoying” (rather than “worst” or “most counterproductive”)?

            “Most annoying” to me means someone who is actively voting against party interests while simultaneously bad-mouthing the party. Joe Lieberman, for example, had a fairly solid Dem voting record in the 90s but he STILL got the award for “most annoying Dem” during the Clinton impeachment trial because, well, moralizing Joe Lieberman was and is really freaking annoying.

            Feinstein might be the “most annoying” in the sense that there’s an impression that the Dems should be able to do better from California[*], but does she really hold a candle to Max Baucus in the badmouthing the Dems department?

            [*] with the caveat that I think that’s a misread of just how purple California really is. I think that if the Republicans would just give up on the racism and retrench on economic issues, they could get California back in a generation. California is not all that progressive when it comes to economic issues – they are the state that decided to put Prop 13 into law and have yet to repeal it after all.

            • DrS

              Prop 13 is a well designed law…from the perspective of the wealthy corporate class.

              I think the best course of action is to sever the commercial and residential portions. The property tax paid by, oh, Disneyland, is criminal. But they get away with that since every Californian home owner has or knows many people who got squeezed by property tax going up without any change in their income.

              The “stagflation” of the late 70s era really helped drive that prop into law.

            • Boxer

              CA is not purple – In 2004, the Republican presidential incumbent won 44% which is the largest percentage in the past 20 years.

    • Gabriel Ratchet

      Hey, she’s only a rookie now, but that Heidi Heitkamp is looking like a real up-and-comer …

  • John

    Of course, we made very well end up with an Orrin Hatch-led Senate Finance Committee.

  • Socraticsilence

    If Schweitzer runs there won’t be a credible GOP opponent, he’ll break 65% of the vote even with Rehberg as the opponent, Raicot would have to rejoin politics for it to even be close.

  • Josh G.

    I think Feinstein is a worse Democratic Senator than Baucus. At least Baucus has the excuse that he comes from a red state and can’t necessarily support the party on all issues while still maintaining electability. Feinstein has no such excuse, coming from one of the most solid Democratic states in the country, and yet she still manages to consistently disappoint on a wide range of issues important to progressives.

  • McKingford

    This is a great time to reflect on what a douchebag Evan Bayh is. We’ve only just had the 2012 election, and already senators up in 2014 who don’t intend to run again are stepping out of the way – Baucus being the most recent example. This is a reflection of how involved a process it is to run for US Senate: between organizing and fundraising, it requires that much lead time. So kudos to guys like Levin, Baucus, and Rockefeller for clearing out of the way early (and it’s worth noting that only Lautenberg was in any danger of being primaried) so that the Dems have a fighting chance at keeping their seats.

    Contrast this with Evan Bayh. Dude retires just a few months before the 2010 election, leaving the Dems scrambling for a candidate to replace him.

    I know everyone has their issues with Baucus – and justifiably so. But here’s another example of just how much better he is than Bayh. Fuck that guy.

  • Johnny Sack

    Thank the fuck Christ. The fact that this odious man came from the state of Montana also reminds me of our precious over representation discussion.

    Good riddance. A newbie Republican will be an improvement over a borderline useless, powerful Democrat.

    • That’s spectacularly false.

      • Johnny Sack

        It’s hyperbole but it’s not far off.

        • socraticsilence

          No its pretty far off and stupid to even mention.

      • djw

        It might be true in an alternative reality in which Democrats held well over 60 seats, but it’s sure as hell not true in this world.

        • Johnny Sack

          I think it’s pretty well-known that his second Senate career (after his first retirement) is just as a placeholder for the Dems. There’s really no disputing that. I’m just saying that, while not on the level of a Baucus/Lieberman/Bayh/Feinstein, he’s been a seat warmer since long before his first retirement. We should expect better from our Senators, but unfortunately the expectations bar has been set quite low by the likes of Baucus.

          • He voted for ACA,ARRA, Student Loan Reform, Kagan, Sotamayor, …

            Sucky Democrats are a lot better than any Republicans.

  • Johnny Sack

    I think Lautenberg deserves a shoutout. Sure, he’s not odious like Lieberman or Baucus. Sure, he’s a warm body for the Ds in the upper chamber, a reliable vote. But he hasn’t actually done anything since airline deregulation.

  • It’s pretty lame to award Baucus that title when he’s competing in a weakened group: Evan Bayh, anyone?

  • Loud Liberal

    So long,
    Farewell,
    Auf wiedersehen,
    Goodbye.

    Goodbye . . .
    Goodbye . . .
    Goodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye!

    AND DON’T LET THE DOOR HITCHA WHERE EVOLUTION SPLITCHA!

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