Senator Max Baucus is no stranger to controversy. He doesn’t shy away from it. Time and time again Baucus takes on tough and inevitably unpopular political fights. In many ways you have to respect it. Too many of our legislators run and hide whenever they see a tough issue on the horizon. For some reason, Max seems to embrace such opportunities.
The cynic would say it’s because of Max’s ego and these circumstances provide him a chance to amass more power and influence.
The optimist would say it’s because Max has political courage – even if his politics are that of compromise and accommodation.
Once again, Max is taking on an incredibly controversial issue sure to upset everyone across the political spectrum. This time it’s the U.S. Tax Code. Baucus is meeting with Democrats and Republicans to discuss the task at hand.
Obviously, this creates another headache for Max in terms of his re-election in 2014, so it’s a good things he’s already got a massive war chest and more money on the way. Let’s hope rewriting the tax code isn’t used as a chance to raise more funds. We can’t forget that Max has already threatened K Street lobbyists using the tax code.
Politico also writes, “the left continues to look at Baucus warily because of his support for the 2001 Bush tax cuts and his failed efforts to cut a bipartisan deal with Republicans on health care.” On the other hand,
Much like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who both wield heavy hands in their home state politics, Baucus has invested a lot of time in Montana building the state party over the years. He has stumped for local candidates and recruited office seekers, including Steve Bullock, the Montana attorney general, a Democrat running for governor this year. Bullock said in an interview that Baucus was one of the voices urging him to run.
Whether you see Max as the Montana Democratic Party’s biggest backer or a centrist who compromises too quickly for political benefit, one thing is for sure: rewriting the U.S. Tax Code and the ripple effect it causes in Montana’s political environment sure will be a lot of fun to watch.
Let’s hope that in the end, we have a new Tax Code that is fair, balanced, and protects the institutions we hold most dear.