Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) has announced that he won’t be seeking re-election in 2014, and the alert national media has spun this into many themed stories: how it further endangers the Democratic Party’s chances of holding the Senate; how it will remove one of the purported experts on the tax code from possible tax reform efforts; how, as Washington Post columnist Stephen Stromberg put it, Baucus has a chance to leave “an admirable tax-reform legacy” by negotiating a deal on a carbon tax. All of this misses the Tyrannosaurus in the room, and worse than that, leaves the impression that it doesn’t matter. Baucus is one of the most corrupt and untrustworthy members of the Senate, which is no small accomplishment, if not exactly an admirable legacy. He should resign now, as he should have resigned years ago. The fact that his colleagues didn’t force him to resign (like his former, similarly corrupt Republican colleague, Sen. Ensign) shows just how unworthy of the American public that body is.
Since he was last elected by the good people of Montana, Baucus…
- Carried on an inter-office, and adulterous, affair with staffer Melodee Hanes
- Blatantly favored her in the course of business, giving her an excessive raise and taking her along with him on costly junkets
- Nominated Hanes to be a U.S. attorney, a plum job Hanes withdrew herself from consideration for after their clandestine affair was revealed
- Probably pulled strings to get her a high-ranking job in the Justice Department, after the couple divorced their respective spouses and got married in 2011…
…all of which violated Senate or U.S. government ethics rules. and regulations. Why does this matter? It matters because it proves that Sen. Baucus will use the power of his position for personal agendas and gain. It means that he is untrustworthy. It means that whatever tax reform deal he devises to burnish his “legacy” is as likely as not to be the product of illicit deals, cronyism, dishonesty, kick-backs or other corruption, because Sen. Baucus doesn’t see anything wrong with using his position to benefit himself, and will lie aggressively to cover his tracks.
When Baucus announced that he wasn’t running, several news stories lamented that this was a blow to the chances for a coherent budget deal, because Baucus was a tax expert and wielded so much influence. Nonsense. Getting corrupt and unethical politicians like Max Baucus out of government is always, always, a benefit to the public and the nation, whatever their talents. The pity is that he doesn’t have the decency to leave immediately.
Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur
Sources: Politico1,2; Washington Post
Graphic: Great Falls Tribune
5 thoughts on “Too Late For That Legacy, Sen. Baucus: Why Not Just Resign?”
The standards appear to be different where affairs and Democrats are concerned. I’ll be honest, all of the above lapses were things I don’t remember getting too extensive of coverage by the media. On the other hand, EVERY slipup by a Republican, or a member of the military (cf. General Petraeus) gets very intense coverage. That said, I also don’t remember a lot of “it’s his private life” and “stop lifting blankets” bleating wrt Baucus. It seems, though, since Republicans are the party of social conservativism and the military is supposed to be a paragon of strict moral behavior (I think the UCMJ still provides you can be cashiered for adultery), they get held to a very strict standard when they violate those values, while the Democrats, who always had a more laid-back approach to personal morals and vigorously defended Clinton’s lapses, get a pass. Part of it is the similarly laid -back approach of most of the media, part of it is probably the sector-wide favoring of one side over the other, but the fact is they still get to write the national narrative because they control what message reaches the average citizen, who takes a quick glance over his coffee and moves on.
While I do agree that obviously the media is slanted to favor one side, there is always the added weight of hypocracy that mars the R side. The D’s are open about their desire for free love, loose morals, and anything goes relativism. The R’s at least pretend to hold themselves us as fighting for moral uprightness, rule of law, and strict boundaries on behavior. If a D gets caught, who blames him – he’s just living acording to the code. If an R falls, it’s nothing but proof that lofty positions provide opportunities to fall farther and harder.
It’ll be interesting to see how this lays out in coming years, with the D party becoming more hardline on many issues. Their intolerance for ‘intolerance’ is certainly a potential pitfall, as is the devout dedication to select aspects of the first amendment. As for the R’s… imagine what would happen if they ran people for office who actually lived the beliefs they espoused would be best for the country.
Aaron, the Democrats are hypocritical on this issue too. Bill Clinton, for example, with great fanfare, signed a bill that made exactly what he did with Monica illegal sexual harassment. The Democrats champion women, but when powerful Democratic politicians use superior power and influence to transform their staffs into dating bars and harems, they clam up.
In addition, this isn’t about sex—it is about using tax payer money to reward someone for sex, and using public positions as party favors.
Along with Jack’s comment, the value judgements you are assigning to the beliefs shows a clear bias, and makes it difficult for your point to be taken seriously.
Senator Baucus is a beneficiary of runaway fundamentalist Ruddigoreism.