December 20, 2013

Why is Obama extracting Baucus from the Senate?

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.

28 comments:

PB Reader said...

Obama = Nero.

Wise move, but it seems to be just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Ann Althouse said...

Keeping the Senate is a BFD.

madAsHell said...

It's all cascading down around them.
This is just so many fingers in the dyke....

tim maguire said...

Sounds sensible. But I have to wonder whether incumbency for Walsh will really be an advantage this time around. He may do better maintaining his local, Washington outsider cred.

Marshal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
Keeping the Senate is a BFD.


Dems only have to keep the Senate or the Presidency.

EDH said...

PB Reader said...
Obama = Nero.

If so, I'm sure Obama views Sen. Max "Train Wreck" Baucus as the Roman god of whine.

tim in vermont said...

One thing Harry Reid has been brilliant at is kiting the Democrat's Senate majority while avoiding doing what the majority of the electorate wants.

The Drill SGT said...

It has one flaw for Obama that I can see. It puts Wyden in charge of the Committee that oversees Obamacare and he has not been a happy camper on the topic. It could result in more aggressive interest from the Senate.

TosaGuy said...

I think there is room for senators like Wyden to grow a real independent streak from the Northeastern progressive wing of the party. Whether they do it or not is another question.

Unknown said...

If that happens, given the really bad prospects for Dems in '14, Walsh will still lose. This is a desperation move.

F said...

While we're all focusing on the domestic implications of this we lose sight of what it means to China to have Max Baucus representing us in Beijing. Especially after sending Carolyn Kennedy to Tokyo, my take on it all is that Obama is using embassy postings for his own convenience instead of for the good of the nation. It's one thing to pay off political supporters with Paris and London; it's quite another to exile people you don't want in the country to important posts, and Beijing and Tokyo are important. I would be a lot more comfortable with this tactic if Baucus were going to a non-Asian post of secondary importance, like Oslo or Lima.

sane_voter said...
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sane_voter said...

Steve Daines will crush any blue fraud that is appointed next Nov, whomever it is.

mccullough said...

What's Landrieu's take on the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle. Those folks are her constituents.

Carol said...

I'm on Montana. I take all phone polls and surveys...last night I answered about 20 minutes of convoluted questions that seemed to assume Hillary vs. Christie in '16. I told them I was an indie. So they tried out a lot of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type populist campaign slogans, like Our Two Party System is Broken!1!! someone needs to make the parties work together!!1! down with Lobbyists and Special Interests!!! and horseshit like that.

Deep in the middle was buried the "income inequality" thing so I figured it was the Dems.

They wanted to know if I would go for a 3rd party candidate, Congress OR president (?) who would make the BS promises above.

So it looks to me like the Dems are going to fund 3rd party ringers, wherever, to swing the elections their way.

Beware. This was a very expensive survey, no 3rd could have funded it. I don't think it was just for MT either.

damikesc said...

Keeping the Senate is a BFD.

There isn't a Democrat alive who can really defend themselves from Obamacare. Even those who didn't vote for it generally didn't speak out against it, either.

And Landrieu is toast. The anti-Sheheen ads should be copied for every single race.

Richard Dolan said...

Such a strange view of politics at the state level, based on the weird notion that the voters are focused on inside the Beltway games. Very unlikely that any of these moves -- which endangered Dem gets this chairmanship or that, who gets to sit in a senate seat for a few months, etc. -- will make any difference 10 months from now.

Peggy Noonan's column a few days ago talked about the astonishing incompetence in the White House. But those guys were always good at politics -- look who they managed to get the country to elect, twice. Surely that took talent. But it all played out in a mostly reality-free, rhetorically framed (Blame Bush!) context. Now that Obamacare reality has started to bite, and the Blame Bush stuff is too outdated to work, they are in panic-mode, floundering. This Baucus gambit, along with the endless waivers-on-the-fly with O-care, is much more an indication of how deep the political problems are, rather than a solution to them.

All that's missing, to really send this Administration into a deep, dark political hole, is a foreign crisis -- and Syria, Iran, Egypt, NKorea, China-Japan, and on and on, are all more than capable to provide one. Anyone out there have any confidence that Team Obama won't fall flat on its face when that crisis comes?

Didn't think so.

Matthew Sablan said...

Because he's the best man for the job. Only Baucus can go to China!

Original Mike said...

I see another ad scrolling through all of the ObamaCare waivers. "Is this a fair way to govern the country?"

Taking the Senate away from this lawless bunch is a HugeFD.

Original Mike said...

And another ad pointing out how many deadlines are being moved just past the 2014 elections. People don't like being played for chumps.

JRoberts said...

"All that's missing, to really send this Administration into a deep, dark political hole, is a foreign crisis -- and Syria, Iran, Egypt, NKorea, China-Japan, and on and on, are all more than capable to provide one. Anyone out there have any confidence that Team Obama won't fall flat on its face when that crisis comes?"

How about another serious recession? Anyone out there have any confidence this crew can keep up the hologram of economic (and unemployment) improvement?

Eli Blake said...

That's a nice summary of the GOP spin on it.

However, I used to live in Montana and know Max Baucus (in fact I ate lunch with him once-- Montana is small enough that yes, you can eat lunch with your Senator if you want to.) He's always been interested in international trade issues and has visited China several times (as well as leading a delegation of Chinese visiting Montana.)

When Gary Locke retired, I suspect that Baucus himself decided that HE WANTS this job. And probably lobbied pretty hard for it.

You know, people do sometimes do things for reasons other than political calculation. I know, that must be hard for you to believe, but it does actually happen sometimes, and I suspect it did here, at least as far as Baucus is concerned.

Eli Blake said...

Though-- that was in 1988.

I suspect nowadays even Baucus probably would charge you $25 a plate minimum and have lunch in a group, but it's the way politics are anymore.

But I still believe (knowing him) that he WANTS this job, and probably asked for it.

RecChief said...

you got in the last paragraph. Incumbency still means something in an election. And the person who is appointed won't have Obamacare baggage.

I disagree with almost every policy prescription that this administration has come up with. But you can't deny that this is a canny move.

RecChief said...

what I mean in my last post is that this is about keeping control of the Senate, and this move could effectively take Baucus' seat out of play. Unless of course, Obamacare has so tainted the entire Democrat Party that it won't make any difference.

sdharms said...

I find it interesting that the Dems will make this blatantly political move -- Dem gov appoints Dem to make him an incumbent in upcoming election. Wonder why Chris Christie would not do that in NJ to replace Lautenberg. We could have had that seat. This is another reason Christie will never be GOP nominee for Prez/ We have long memories.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Democrats think their best plan is to put someone in as an incumbent rather than run someone as an outsider at a time when America supposedly has a very low opinion of those serving in Washington. Interesting.