Posted: December 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Senate Intrigue in 2014

According to the Public Policy Polling group, Max Baucus is, at 37%, the least popular Senator in America currently.  That’s not a good place to be, even though he has three years to recover before re-election.

Things are definitely uphill for Max. If he can’t climb back up into positive territory, he’ll be an underdog against someone like Denny Rehberg or Steve Daines or perhaps Rick Hill (all depending on what happens in the Tester/Bullock races) in a 2014 general election.  Based on the polling data just released, if the election were held today, any of these guys would beat Max.

Or, Baucus could even get a challenge in the primary, from either Brian Schweitzer, Steve Bullock (if he were to lose the Governor’s race and if Schweitzer took a pass), or maybe a darker horse like Linda McCulloch or even Denise Juneau.

These scenarios are all problematic for Max, according to the Public Policy poll.  The survey says that Baucus is struggling even among Democrats.  Predictably, the Super Committee involvement did not help him, and he was already feeling a hang-over from the healthcare debacle. The supercommittee debacle was tough luck, because Baucus at least tried to do the right thing in that situation and if anything is to blame, it was his horrible judgement to have ever gotten mixed up in the whole business.  But no such thing can be said about healthcare reform, which was a corporate giveaway of the first order, with insurance companies coming out of it looking like a cat that just ate a canary.

Of course, the easiest scenario by which Dems will hold on to the Senate seat is if Schweitzer runs.  The seat is clearly his for the taking if he wants it, and thus it’s hard to believe that Baucus would stay around and challenge him, given that Baucus trails the hypothetical contest 51-35, and given that this same Public Policy survey ranks Schweitzer as one of the nation’s most popular governors at 55%.

Plus if Schweitzer were the nominee, no idiot like Rehberg, nor any stiffs like Daines or Hill, could give Schweitzer any real trouble.  In fact with Schweitzer as the nominee, he could potentially find himself in a situation where the GOP doesn’t field any opponent at all, just as Max got in 2008 when he was strong.

That’s right, Max had pretty decent numbers in 2008.  So that’s something to keep in mind too: things can change pretty quickly, in all directions.  You’re up, you’re down.

 

63 comments

  1. Dave Skinner

    This is a little too optimistic. That seat is not owned by Max nor by Democrats nor does Schweitzer have any entitlement.
    Baucus is likely done…he’s getting old, he’s never impressed with his intellect, he got a bye in 2008, and finally, when he reaches the pinnacle and gets the ball, both times he fumbled.
    There’s some talent in the state Legislature on the Republican side that hasn’t been heard from, but will be.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Bwahahahahaa! Talent? On the Pubbie side?? Not heard from?? Oh Dave, that’s a knee slapper, dude! I just GOTTA ask you who that might be? In your HO? For you see, NEVER has that state seen such a collection of wierdos, kooks, fruitcakes, fundis, losers, racists, inbreds, freaks, teatards, birthers, birchers and morons as was in the last Lege! So, WHO are these talented folks you refer to that we haven’t already heard from? HEY, you claimed it. You own it!

      And BTW, Schweitzer can walk into the senate pretty much uncontested as Cgirl mentioned. Who’s gonna run against him? Mikey lange?…….BHWHAHAHAA!

      http://crooksandliars.com/2007/04/26/montana-rep-michael-langes-potty-mouth-in-action

  2. Paul S.

    Please Brian Schweitzer, run for U.S. Senate. As the poll says, we don’t have anyone else who can beat all comers. Please.

  3. Boomer87

    Many things can and will change in the next 3 years. If Obama gets beat in 2012 and there is a republican president I can pretty much guarantee that person will be just as unpopular as Obama creating a Democrat wave in 2014 which could include Baucus or Schweitzer or any other Democrat. Another possibility…if Tester gets beat by Rehberg (which I pray doesn’t happen) he could be a candidate for an open senate seat in 2014. Baucus has lots of staying power and has been through lots of ups and downs. Don’t count him out just yet..he survived a Republican wave in 1984 and 2002.

  4. Havre Voter

    I do not believe that Baucus will run again. He is quite old, and with favorability ratings this low he is too vulnerable-his ego won’t allow him to run and lose. I would be most interested to see Schweitzer raise Holy Heck for Montana in the U. S. Senate-talk about a body that needs some shaking up…

  5. Pete Talbot

    Oh, Max is running again. Bet on it.

    Certainly there is anti-incumbent fever out there with Congress being in the mess it’s in but that ebbs and flows.

    Why would he not run? The closest contest he’s had was against Rehberg in ’96 and he won that by five points. He has a nice corner office in the Hart Building, he’s chair of one of the most powerful committees in D.C. and the third most senior Democrat in the Senate. Baucus has the ability to raise ungodly amounts of money and dominate the airwaves, so there’s that. Hell, he might even get Jim Messina to run his campaign.

    P.S. Denise Juneau has my vote in the primary.

  6. dem insider

    Pete-its true that in a few years, healthcare and deficits might be less of an issue and thus max mght rise a little. However, while max was in a non-public romantic affair with a woman, he was trying to get her a job as us attorney without revealing that he was involved with her. In a competitive race, he’d be buried with this. No recovery from that, I don’t think.

  7. Pete Talbot

    Really, Insider? This is old news and a non-issue IMHO — except for the extremely moralistic types who probably wouldn’t vote for him anyway. I mean, look at Gingrich, who’s leading the Republican pack at the moment. He’s had as many affairs as Hugh Hefner.

  8. fawkes

    And howbout the fact that he gave the same staffer a 14,000 raise while he was sleeping with her?

    • Pete Talbot

      Again, fawkes, you and a few dozen others may be aware of this fact but it will be a very minor issue in the campaign. Look at Rehberg. He gets in a boat wreck with a drunken man at the helm, nearly loses a staff member, and is still running neck-and-neck with Tester. Baucus may be vulnerable but it won’t be because of this.

      • Paul S.

        It’s only an issue if people are aware of it. If someone were to put it into an ad, then yes, it is a vulnerability. This is true for all candidate baggage. You can’t just expect people to know about it, someone has to tell them.

        • Pete Talbot

          Yeah, Paul, but it’s the wrong issue to use against Baucus. I like to think Montanans
          are more into policy than personal peccadilloes. This isn’t where Baucus is vulnerable.

            • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

              Paul, Mini Barfus is a shadow of an illusion of a has been. He’s over. He’s done. He’s TOAST! Why? Well, there are THOUSANDS of Montana Dems just like me who can’t STAND Mini any longer. He has single handidly destroyed the Dem party in Montana with his nutlessness. And for that, he must go.

              When he first decided to run for office, he didn’t know whether to run as a Pubbie or Dem. And then, once he got into office, he didn’t know whether to keep is head up his ass or out. He chose in.

              Now, Mini needs to do the right thing and just step aside and allow Schweitzer to assume his rightful role as senator from Montana. It’s either that or get his ASS kicked by Schweitzer in a primary. Either way, Mini and his shriveled oysters will soon be put out to pasture where he can do no more harm. You can take that to the bank!

              • gumbo

                talbot, i think paul’s point is that these are the things that will be used against him in a general election, and some of the stuff is quite recent and very hard to overcome. incumbent congressmen get beat by the “been there too long” general attack, and paul’s point is that sleeping with your staff and giving your girl a raise fit nicely into that theme. unfortunately that’s how races are won and lost in montana. though certainly the substantive policy attacks are equally strong.

  9. Dan T.

    I see zero chance for Gingrich to be the nominee. He may be on a mini surge right now, but the GOP voters will veiw making him their nominee as shooting themselves in the foot.

  10. Dan T.

    I agree that he is the anti-Romney, and that this is the rason for his current “boomlet” but I can’t see him getting the nomination, as it will be too easy for Obama to defeat him.

  11. Publius II

    GOP (Tea Party) legislative ‘talent’ eligible for the National stage in the Senate, really? Bring on those birther bills, Gold Standards, Codes of hypocrisy and the best of all, Spears for all Americans, the secret ‘Jobz’ bill out there to put folk to work!

  12. Gabby Johnson

    I saw that Newt today applied his climate change logic to Middle East politics and made all the Palestinians disappear. What a man!

  13. rleeh

    what the hell is going on here, guys…
    the thought cops from billings and kally-spell told me in no uncertain terms…
    that this was a MONTANA polly-tax blog…?
    otherwise everything would be off topic.
    the liz-hard from joy-jah ain’t no montanny poll-taxin.

  14. Mark Tokarski

    So let me understand here … Your only concern is that the seat might go to the other party, and would settle again for Baucus.

    This now puts the final touches on my argument. It goes something like this: Democrats are the problem.

    • Rob Kailey

      Oh certainly, let you understand … ~snort~

      “Ohhh, I’ve been fed poison. I can drink syrup of Ipecac which will make me violently ill and possibly cause a seizure, or I can let the poison work it’s way through. Whatever is to do?!”

      Mark, you’ve made no argument. You’ve made an assertion (based on a false generalization that Baucus = Democrats.) At best, you’ve posited a premise to an argument, but suffer from premature … exclamation. I’m certain that I’m not the only one who hopes you will perform better in the future.

      • Mark Tokarski

        Again I have to ask you why you think you are entitled to speak for others. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about your “thinking.” There are other things – you don’t write clearly. your Ipecac paragraph above was clearly an inner dialogue where you thought readers would be amused to share in your frivolity. Not so, not so, not for me. It just weirded me.

        Secondly, your black/white button cannot embrace nuance, so you are constantly trying to buttonhole people, demanding that they make arguments you can understand or asking off-the-mark questions and demanding answers, ignoring (or unable to grasp) the essential details of debate. It gets very tedious, and so it s that if you write more than one paragraph, it’s tedious reading.

        And then … Some originality please? It’s OK to think the things you think, but I don’t think you know that you are merely one of tens of millions who think like that. Your difference is that you think that when you offer boring riddles about how party loyalty somehow rewards us in the future, like religion, you think you invented the idea! At least if you are going to glom onto some boring workaday recipe for leading a pedestrian life and thinking pedestrian thoughts, admit that you are one of the rats in the race, and have likely never had an original thought.

        I see you now sniffing on cheese, whiskers stemming for each side of your nose. You think you’re pretty marvelous, I know. You’re not.

        • Rob Kailey

          Again I have to ask you why you think you are entitled to speak for others.

          Actually, Mark, you rarely ask me that unless you seek to deflect from a question directly asked to you. Good avoidance, cupcake.

          your Ipecac paragraph above was clearly an inner dialogue where you thought readers would be amused to share in your frivolity. Not so, not so, not for me. It just weirded me.

          And here you are, speaking for others based only on your impression. What a hypocrite you are. (and would please, for the love of Tebow, learn to use spellcheck?)

          Secondly, your black/white button cannot embrace nuance, so you are constantly trying to buttonhole people, demanding that they make arguments you can understand or asking off-the-mark questions and demanding answers, ignoring (or unable to grasp) the essential details of debate.

          Actually, kitten, I asked you to make any argument, even a weak one. Just anything. As I’ve pointed out, all you have are assertions and no argument to be had. Of course you find it tedious. I don’t accept your idiotic pontifications.

          The rest is “blah blah blah”. I don’t think myself marvelous, Mark. I think you are retarded, or possibly brain-damaged. You can’t answer any challenge. So I’m pretty secure about which one of us is a rat. You’re not original. You are nothing more than any conspiracy theorist that has come before you. Sorry Charlie.

        • Mark Tokarski

          Use of the word “actually” is tedious. Use of the word “kitten” (mock condescension) is tedious. Your laborious rants about assertions versus arguments is part of your grandiosity, the whole 4.0 philosophy fantasy. You’re looking for ‘proof’, and it does not exist in anything except mathematics, and even there, as Einstein reminds us, only within stated assumptions. There is no proof of anything. We exist in a real world with real people. People are crazy, more or less, and that is the odd thing – even though we are crazy, we survive. You are crazy, I’m sure, and yet your particular state of mind seems to be an evolutionary phenomenon. We both hate sociopaths and need them, all at once. But don’t get too uppity as you are not one of the useful ones.

          In politics you are a naïf. If I were a senator you would be the last person I would want on staff, as you just don’t get it. In regards to knowledge and wisdom, you work around the edges, but grasp very little. People do two things at once: they deceive you, they deceive themselves. It is extremely rare that anyone ever admits to wrongdoing. We have to use our brains. For kittens like you it’s too much to grasp, so you put it in a little disposal unit called conspiracy theory. You’re very naive and dense, and your thought processes are fairly pedestrian. Nothing really about you that interests me except your mundane idea that you can affect emotions and intelligence and fool everybody. Not everybody, you see.

          Abramoff has admitted error and is a changed man. This is your area of expertise: is it just a new angle for him? He can be very charming, which you are not. But I watched him on Colbert and thought that this is one smart dude. Here, in the area of sociopathy, your insights could be useful. Do share.

            • Mark Tokarski

              Your specialty is personal attacks. When you send them my way, you get it back in spades. You might want to consider now just leaving me alone. Okay, kitten?

              • Rob Kailey

                You still don’t understand Ad Hominem, Mark. I point out that you are a sad, loathsome, hypocritical and foolish human being. Those are my well-founded opinions. But you fail to get that I don’t use those facts against your arguments, because you are too cowardly to even make an argument.

                You, on the other hand, continue to attack me as a person, based on falsehoods, because you can’t counter my well-founded arguments. Seek help, Tokarski.

                • Mark Tokarski

                  Lame ass. I dunna unnastanad hominem. This is Kailey 4.0,grandiosity edition. I am a human full of flaws and defects and many good things too. You are unable to self-reflect, a condition that indicates deep insecurity. You have never once in our years of encounters ever laid back and south solace in your humanity, that state most do us encounter when we have overextended, made mistakes .., we do that. Humans make mistakes. According to you, you never do.

                  That’s authoritarianism, sociopathy. I wonder sometimes if messing with your fragile ego will cause a snap, if you will go off, hurt some people. I think you are one sick fuck.

                  Now leave me alone, lame ass.

  15. Ilikewoods

    Oh God, I leave for a week and I come back to the GOPPERs and their love of… Gingrich???? The lying professor who has the biggest ethics fine ever in Congress for $300,000.

    You mean to tell me you have fallen for a man that has no family values???? Incredible!

    You guys cant even stay on message anymore with a nominee like that!

  16. rleeh

    course, in fairness…
    we need to acknowledge that your and my themo-crapic congress passed the most fascist bill in decades…sb1867…
    there are those who dismiss it by saying it “doesn’t apply to american citizends”…
    the aclu seems to think it does.

  17. Rob Kailey

    That might well be kind of the problem. Things get called “fascist” without any actual “fascist” being identified. Ol’ Joe McCarthy was a big fan of that, calling something “communist” and then only tangentially relating real people to that thing.

    • rleeh

      since the senate voted 93-7 to approve military arrest of american citizens from their own home, without charges, without notice of where they would be imprisoned or for how long with no right to hearing or counsel…
      maybe there is more than one or two fascists in the chamber…
      surely you have no complaint with calling fascist policy fascist…
      the bill was put forth (in secret) by your favorite war hero, mccain, and
      themo-crap in smile only, carl levin.

      • Rob Kailey

        Uhhm, you aren’t correct. Be specific or join the rightwing in fear-mongering. It’s obvious to any thoughtful person that you choose the latter.

        surely you have no complaint with calling fascist policy fascist…

        Actually, I do. You don’t seem to understand at all what the term “fascist” means.

        the bill was put forth (in secret) by your favorite war hero, mccain, and
        themo-crap in smile only, carl levin.

        There was nothing “secret” about the bill or it’s debate. And there was nothing secret about my objections to it. You’re just being a jackass because somehow it makes you feel good. What a moron jackass you truly are.

        • rleeh

          everybody knows by now that there lurks smug genius everywhere you look on this blog…
          sorry robbie…
          no one mistakes you…

          http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/senators-demand-military-lock-american-citizens-battlefield-they-define-being

          you might want to contact the aclu and let them know sie schwizen nicht…

          or maybe these cats…

          http://hlpronline.com/2011/11/sb-1867-when-the-war-comes-home/

          if you could get past name calling, ala my pre-teens…
          maybe somebody would lend you cred.
          because it seems…
          maybe YOU got it wrong.

          oh, and that fascist thingy…

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascist

          your pay-pahs pleeze…

          • Rob Kailey

            That’s funny. I got past the lack of capitalization early on in grade school.

            You’ve missed the point completely, and rather spectacularly, I might add. Other than John McCain and myself, you refuse to actually name any fascists who support fascism. “YOU got it wrong” clearly about me, yet you still think that folks ought to just agree with your sloppy assessment of events. Though you don’t seem to have the attention span, look on back up there at my complaint.

            As for your “secret” rise of fascism, I was blogging about such things 8 years ago. It’s not a big secret, nor is it the grand conspiracy you seem to have privy knowledge of. As a philosophy or doctrine, fascism must have those who carry it forward. The difference between us is that I acknowledge the how and why and the who. You just bitch that everybody else doesn’t understand things the way you do. So sad.

            For the record, according to Happy place, the 4th funniest tweet of the year was:

            “If you vote against Obama because he can’t get stuff done, it’s kinda like saying “this guy can’t cure cancer. I’m gonna vote for cancer.”

            • rleeh

              robster…

              what a surprise to see that you are grammar nanny…
              must come almost as naturally as thought cop…
              go after e e cummings if it grinds you controlling chops so much.
              you didn’t get past some things from grade school…
              like the name calling on the playground.
              you claim EVERYBODY misses the point…
              we simply are not up to the clever nuances…
              go easy on us, please, show us poor plebes a little slack oh master of all whiz-dumb…
              i suppose i could chase down the 93 individual senators’ names who voted for military shift to domestic police…
              but you can look it up if you find it so dear…
              maybe the gestapo wasn’t fascist either, i might have mistaken that one as well…
              i know it is all about YOU…
              i don’t have anything wrong about you, but you might.
              nobody has to agree with me at all…
              is that YOUR requirement…everybody has to agree with you?
              don’t recall making an assertion that there was a “secret” rise in fascism…
              in fact, i would suggest that there has been nothing secret about it at all, rather, it has been outright arrogant…
              i didn’t call it a secret vote…the aclu did and, if you didn’t know, monitoring congress is their gig, and many of them happen to be constitutional experts.
              i’m not at all surprise that you had the inside on just about everything 8 years ago…
              you are that type of guy…
              but the process has been underway since the first suspension of the CONstitution…guess when that was in one of your brilliant moments…
              i’ll give you a hint…
              it was more than 8 years ago.
              while you are weeping about the sadness of my lacking the how, what, where, and the who (that was back in the fourth grade wasn’t it?)…
              you may not be aware that chris hedges and michael moore are also bitching about why it is that so many of our fine citizens are sleeping through the scam that YOUR polly-taxers are pulling…
              you probably knew before you voted for obammy that he voted for unlimited surveillance of american citizens and in “special” circumstances their assassination…real card carrying liberal, no?
              oh, and the cancer…
              it’s called money and it guarantees there is not a dime’s worth of difference between a themo-crap and a repuli-con.

              • Rob Kailey

                you claim EVERYBODY misses the point…

                No, that would be Mark. All you miss is that you claim I haven’t learned the lessons of middle school while proving you haven’t learned the lessons of grade school.

                i didn’t call it a secret vote…the aclu did and, if you didn’t know, monitoring congress is their gig, and many of them happen to be constitutional experts.
                i’m not at all surprise that you had the inside on just about everything 8 years ago…
                you are that type of guy…
                but the process has been underway since the first suspension of the CONstitution…guess when that was in one of your brilliant moments…
                i’ll give you a hint…
                it was more than 8 years ago.

                You’re lying. You did call it a “secret vote.” Do you really need me to quote you? I’m certain no other reader does.

                Here’s the punchline, jackass. I have been posting and commenting about these very issues for over a decade, and you’re stupid enough top think that you can school me. GYOBFW.

                Then you can post gibberish without anyone even noticing … just like Mark.

                • rleeh

                  robbie…

                  it is always about you, straining for the rest of us to notice how brilliant, talented and generally swell you are.
                  do those nits you pick smell bad too? something like your derry where you get them.
                  it is a trick to quote an organization without saying what they said…don’t you think?
                  “secret vote” was not my creation, the aclu, an organization that specializes in attending congressional votes, said it was a “secret vote”.

                  i would let you know straight up…
                  as opposed to throwing a bunch of cute, in-crowd letters together…
                  that you should get your own fn blog…
                  but wait…
                  you already have a couple…
                  and you are here…
                  because…
                  we ain’t there.

            • Mark Tokarski

              Nice, rleeh, nice. The absence of caps was off putting at first, like an affectation. But as I read I discovered content and thought processes. Very nice consciousness burp. You are among the living!

  18. Moorcat

    Getting back to the original topic of the post…

    Baucus is toast – and not just because he has alienated a large part of his base. There are plenty of people that will vote for a Democrat (any Democrat) over a Republican Challenger, but those people are not the ones that decide elections. Elections are desided (at least in my experience) by two things – Which side does a better job of getting people to the polls, and which side can pull the middle/moderates and the independants. The latter is what makes Baucus toast. It won’t be hard for ANYONE (Democrat primary challenger or Republican General challenger) to tie Baucus to the ACA (what the idiots on the right like calling Obama-care). While this bill did accomplish some minor things, it was – at it’s core – an insurance industry giveaway and there is little that can be done to hide that fact today. It wasn’t a “stepping stone” (it is more likely that the ACA will get repealed than it is to lead to something better) as many tried to characterize it when it was passed. It hasn’t improved health care in the US nor has it reduced the cost of health care – in fact, quite the opposite. It will be simplistic to tie this failed legislation directly to Baucus and since (again in my opinion) the majority of voters in Montana are simple working folk that tend to vote their wallets, Baucus will severly hurt by the ACA. I also don’t think that the intervening two years will change this unless Congress actually does get their head out of their backside and fix it.

    I see the good Gov running for Baucus’s position and whether Baucus retires gracefully or due to a failed primary, unwillingly, Baucus is done.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

      Moorcat, where you been? Haven’t seen you for awhile. And BTW, you’re right on with this post.

  19. Mandha

    James – Thanks. I iimagne about 50 percent of the people think he is cool and about 50 percent think he is a fool (both inside and outside Montana). -Jack