… Baucus’s nomination would be considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which quickly approved another senator to a diplomatic post — John Kerry was approved in one month to be secretary of state — earlier this year.
Baucus’s departure would open up a key spot running the Senate Finance Committee, one of the most powerful positions in Congress given its sweeping authority over tax and health care programs. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the liberal West Virginia Democrat, is next in line to chair the panel.
Rockefeller, too, is retiring at the end of next year, and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden is widely expected to take the top Democratic spot in the next Congress…
The decision to appoint Baucus stunned his colleagues at the tail end of a day where senators are sparring over wrapping up legislative business for the year…
After President Barack Obama took office, the Montana Democrat took the lead role in shepherding his health care law through the Senate. But after Baucus spent months negotiating with Republicans, Democrats lost control of the message and helped the GOP win the public relations war over the issue. Baucus’s liberal critics faulted him for dropping the public health insurance option in the Finance Committee proposal to win the backing of Maine GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe, who later opposed the health care bill on the floor.
Still, without Baucus’ support, the Affordable Care Act would have not become law…
In the Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Sean Sullivan offer “Four reasons why the White House is sending Max Baucus to China“:
… 1. It (probably) increases the chances of Democrats holding onto his seat in 2014….
2. It removes a credible critic of the Affordable Care Act from the scene…
3. Baucus has extensive experience when it comes to China, especially on trade issues….
… including a horse-race kicker:
… One more name to keep in mind in all this is Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager. Messina is a Montana native and former top Baucus hand, who has been the subject of Senate speculation in his own right…
#2 is just dumb. Media thinks everybody, including Republicans, as credible critics of Obamacare.
When I saw this bit of news on Twitter I thought it was a spoof. My gob, it is smacked.
I have no problem with the idea of promoting Blue Dogs up and out of Washington DC. None whatsoever. I wish Ambassador Baucus all the luck in the world and hope he enjoys China so much that he doesn’t bother coming back.
We must really be mad at the Chinese right now.
As a tax lawyer, I have nothing good to say about Max Baucus’ tenure as chair of Senate Finance. I’m happy to see him get the hell out of there. If an ambassadorship is the bribe that has to be paid in order to be rid of him, I say pay it.
So am I, but it would be nice if he could just be put out to pasture. Sending him to China, of all places, gives him yet another opportunity to engage in the kind of “creative destruction” he and his pals find lucrative.
This is one of the reasons that I’m disappointed with the President.
Shame Schweitzer isn’t running.
Is that what you call it?
Baucus is responsible for one the biggest fuckups in Obama’s presidency. He gave away the public option, and got jack shit in exchange. And, as described, his dithering let the howler monkeys get everyone’s attention.
Any move that puts him on the other side of the world is fine by me.
Plus…the fuck? He was the most prominent author of the damn thing. I thought only Republicans and Joe Lieberman turned against their own ideas this quickly.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Um… what? I don’t much care for Baucus, but if he’s been critical of the ACA, I haven’t heard much about it. And not that I’d expect him or the Village to remember, but his own original plan was far more progressive than what eventually passed, after he spent a year insisting that he could bring his “good friend” Death Panels Grassley to a Reasonable Bipartisan Compromise.
@J.Ty: At least who is running is a Lieutenant Governour who has won statewide office before. Gotta get the union folks and the kids in Missoula and Bozeman out to vote too.
I hope Bullock can convince Schweitzer to finish Baucus’ term. If Schweitzer ends up being appointed I wouldn’t be surprised if the Clintons had a little part of it being that Schweitzer criticized Hillary this weekend.
Also too, I dislike Baucus intensely. I dump a good part of blame on him for the ACA not being a better bill. He let it drag on so that he could collect campaign donations from all the healthcare cos. But, his O-care is going to be a train wreck comment should be taken in contect because Sebelius was telling him she had to take money out of the PR/Info pot of the ACA and dump it into the administrative pot because the GOP wouldn’t provide enough funds for the admin and the comment was it’s going to be trainwreck if you don’t get info out about the ACA…
Just out of idle curiosity, how does one go about giving away something that one does not have, never had, and have no chance of ever getting.
There were never 60 votes for a public option. And you know that every bit as well as I do. What do you gain by denying reality?
Jeez, I’ll bet you didn’t vote in 2010.
Just want to give a shout-out to outgoing Ambassador Gary Locke, who has been quite a pioneer–Chinese-American two-term governor of Washington before becoming ambassador to China. Was in my sister’s high school class.
Leaving the “public option” blithering aside (not that it isn’t a good idea, mind you, but outside of lefties’ fantasies, there was no way it was getting through Congress in 2009. 2029, maybe), it sounds like Baucus’s replacement (whoever it is) will probably be a general positive for the Senate Dems, and if it helps hold the seat next year, more’s the better.
It’s just curious that Max Baucus would accept the position, though (HAS he accepted?) – Ambassador to China is a prestige post, to be sure: but China is too important a country, I would think, for the Ambassador to have much say in policy or relations – you would think being a senior Senator would carry more political weight.
Baucus is an idiot. He has sucked at the public tit since he got elected to Congress after two measly years in private law practice. He was adopted into extreme wealth when his mother married a ranching Sieben who own most of the land between Helena and Great Falls on both sides of the Missouri River in Montana. His mother Jean was an incredible snob and nasty to anyone she considered a “servant” – just ask a lot of people in Helena. He has been an ineffectual senator all these years, lives in Washington and just comes back to Montana for photo ops in election years. Hi behavior during the hearings on the ACA when he called for more capitol police to remove doctors who wanted to speak in support of single payer health care was a clear indication that he didn’t give a hoot about the people. He hired Liz Fowler away from Wellpoint, a major health insurance company (and before that she worked on the prescription drug program for Medicare which was written by Pharma) and after the ACA was passed she went back to the private sector.
I hope he chokes on the pollution in Beijing and we never hear from him again.
@Jay C: He doesn’t carry any weight – that’s the point. He was a useless senator who just used his seniority to bully for his contributors.
I think that taking the ambassadorial appointment to China, which will pay a civil servant’s salary, is a pretty clear indication that none of the lobbying shops in DC would consider him an asset, because as we all know, lobbying is how retired politicians make money after resigning from Congress. It is delightful to know that no one wanted him!!!!
It’s all about the Benjamins. He’s cashing out.
@draftmama: He can’t directly lobby for a certain period of time. Not sure if he can have his new wife run the shop though. He’s cashing in though. He’ll end up getting big bucks from American companies wanting to do bizness in China and he’ll end up lobbying for China a la Lanny Davis once he’s done with the appointment.
I’m glad Rockefeller takes his place for next year. I think Rockefeller’s like Reid, he’s fed up with the way the GOP has been acting and the way they’re treating Obama. And Wyden down the road is even better.
pseudonymous in nc
The Chinese mission is one of those that doesn’t fit into an easy category. It’s not a ceremonial junket for a donor or supporter; it’s also no longer one that goes to a career diplomat, although that was the case for the first decades after relations were restored. It basically has to be a political pick who is perceived as having a direct line to the president, and some personal capability beyond hosting receptions. We’ll see if Baucus has those two attributes, though I think he’s more likely to fuck up in public than either Locke or Huntsman.
Another corrupt machine democrat hold over from the Paleolithic is expunged. Good job Mr President. Baucus is a one man 5th column. I hope he enjoys the “weather” in Beijing.