Monday, May 28, 2012

Big tests for Baucus

Posted By on Mon, May 28, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Never mind that there's a historically expensive race for U.S. Senate between Jon Tester and Denny Rehberg, or that there's no clear consensus on who takes Rehberg's seat in the U.S. House — some folks want to focus on the challenges facing Montana's other leader in Washington, D.C.

Politico published Friday a story on Max Baucus that highlights "the biggest campaigns of his career." Specifically, he's gunning to re-write the Tax Code while also worrying about his reelection bid in 2014.

It’s all risky business for Baucus: He’s vulnerable back home in a state that has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate only once in the past 40 years. And a full-blown revision of the Tax Code is a once-in-a-generation undertaking certain to spark an all-out lobbying war on Capitol Hill and at the White House.

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  • Courtesy of White House
“This is probably the biggest thing he’s ever faced in his life,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a senior Finance Committee member who spent an hour with Baucus recently trading tax reform ideas. “The politics line up against it, but the country’s requirements line up for it.”

Politico labels Baucus as "vulnerable" because of his efforts to pass the unpopular health care bill in 2010 and the equally messy Tax Code fight. The article notes he's already building a war chest and campaigning. (Heck, he poured beers at the Garden City BrewFest a few weeks ago, shaking hands like it was already 2014.) Plus, polls show termed-out Gov. Brian Schweitzer, if he were to reverse course and show an interest in D.C. politics, would trounce Baucus.

But Baucus and his buddies, like Tester, say it's all much ado about nothing.

“Max is a force — he’s been a force in Montana politics for a long, long time,” Tester told Politico. “I’ve seen some of the polls that are out there. I don’t think they take into account his intestinal fortitude.”

At least we have a couple years to take everything into account.

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