It wasn’t a typo when I noted in Short Takes this morning that Sen. Max Baucus of Montana is retiring and inserted a “?” after the “D” in his party designation. To say that his Democratic credentials are slightly lacking is an insult to the term “slightly.”
Brian Beutler at TPM sums up the recent record of the gentleman from the Big Sky:
He voted for the Bush Tax Cuts in 2001; then after securing re-election, and against the will of Democratic leadership, supported a Medicare prescription drug benefit that routed tax payer money through private insurers. He spent months and months behind closed doors with GOP lawmakers in 2009 in a futile search for bipartisan support for what became the Affordable Care Act. That quixotic effort dragged on well past the point at which party leaders believed it might pay off, and it delayed legislative action for so long that the bill nearly died when Democrats lost Ted Kennedy’s seat to Scott Brown in early 2010.
His biggest contribution to ACA was to help build industry support for the process by cutting secret deals with pharmaceutical manufacturers and other powerful stakeholders, some of which may have been necessary to pass the bill, but which nevertheless came at the expense of beneficiaries and taxpayers.
In late 2010, Baucus voted against the DREAM Act.
I don’t expect every Democrat to march in lockstep with every other member or even the president when he’s a Democrat; blind obedience in defiance of reality is the GOP schtick, and besides, Democratic disarray is what makes them so gosh-darn loveable. But when you buck the party for reasons that stink of corporate cronyism whether or not its good for your home state or the people you represent, then it’s time to either switch parties or go home.
I’ve already gotten a “draft Brian Schweitzer” e-mail solicitation to get the former Montana governor into the race.