Baucus got the nomination for U.S. Ambassador to China. Why? It's all about the 2014 elections.
Someone must replace Baucus as Chair of the Finance Committee, and if that someone is Ron Wyden, it opens the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and if that goes to Mary Landrieu, who's up for reelection in 2014, she will embody a promise of favoritism toward the energy-producing state of Louisiana.
And Baucus has said he won't run for reelection. His seat is up in 2014, so if he leaves early, the Democratic governor of Montana will pick a new Senator, probably Lt. Gov. John Walsh, who'll then have an advantage in the 2014 election.