I hate to kick a guy when he’s down, but not if he is asking for it. It is really absurd that Max Baucus has now jumped on the anti-Citizens United bandwagon.
A few days ago, a Montana democrat forwarded to me an e-mail from Max Baucus, railing against “big money in elections,” and describing the urgency with which America must “stand up against it.” Then I was played a robocall from Baucus, saying mostly the same thing and urging voters to unite behind him in his quest to “help fight the influence of big money in Montana” or something silly like that.
It’s unfathomable that Max Baucus would chose to join the fray on this issue, for he is just about the last person on earth that should be decrying the influence of corporate money in American elections. Baucus is one of the most prolific raisers of corporate money in the United States Senate, if not United States Senate history. He has raised, literally, millions of dollars from the many powerful industries that must kneel before him when they want something from the Senate Finance Committee, of which he is chair–Banks, Drug Companies, the Media Industry, and just about every multi-billion-dollar interest that wants special treatment under the law. And, Baucus’ office staff have frequently walked back and forth through the revolving door, writing legislation that affects large industries, leaving to become lobbyists or corporate honchos for those same industries, and then returning later to write some more legislation.
When sufficient votes in the US Senate existed for a national public insurance option, that would have competed against private insurers and broken the health insurance oligopoly in America, Max brought the hammer down on it, doing the bidding of his insurance industry supporters. And his adviser who drafted the compromise that would become the turd known as the Affordable Care Act, which provides 30 million new patients for doctors and hospitals and insurance companies but does nothing to bring down the cost of healthcare–is a health industry executive who was sent over to Baucus’ office to write the bill.
Max is not without his victories for the state of Montana, including a history of work to strengthen protection for public lands such as the Rocky Mountain Front. And while I can certainly understand how Baucus might feel left out of the fun, with Bullock and Schweitzer gobbling up column space and cable news appearances on the Citizens United issue, Baucus simply has no business complaining about corporate money in our political system. It is simply beyond the pale. It is an insult to all Montana progressives, and you deserve and apology for it.