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TNR rips Baucus:

There is something a bit troubling about the Democrats’ current obsession with discipline, as though there were no higher aspiration than matching the ruthless efficiency of the House Republicans. A political party is not the same as a Third World liberation movement. It ought to accommodate moments of dissent and occasional deviations from the party line without the forms of retribution that have recently taken hold in the liberal blogosphere.

But apostasy comes in gradations: There is heterodoxy, and then there is Montana Senator Max Baucus. Baucus isn’t in the mold of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who flirted with reasonable ideas taboo among Democratic constituencies. He doesn’t take quirky procedural stands, à la Russ Feingold. He’s not even a Zell Miller-like figure who rhetorically strafes his party but does little substantive damage. What Baucus does is use his influence as the top Democrat on the Finance Committee to systematically undercut his party and enable George W. Bush’s most egregious domestic legislation. So why does his party entrust him with so much responsibility?

If you look closely enough at recent domestic policy debacles, you’ll invariably see his fingerprints. Facing George W. Bush’s massive tax-cut proposal in 2001, Baucus undermined the Senate Democrats’ strategy of forcing concessions by maintaining a united front. In private negotiations with his GOP counterpart, Chuck Grassley, Baucus produced a bill that handed the White House virtually all of its top priorities. Afterward, he boasted that he’d done Democrats a favor, since they “would have been in trouble in 2002 just saying no to every one of the president’s proposals.” We shudder to think what might have happened had the Democrats been labeled “obstructionist.”

My goodness! It’s almost like something you’d read on Kos. The fascists have taken over! Someone alert Lee Siegel!

Categories: Montana, The media
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