Wednesday, January 10, 2007



Few Senate Democrats have as consistent reactionary a voting record as Montana's Max Baucus. In fact, only one Senate Democrat does: Ben Nelson (NE). On substantive matters Nelson has actually voted more frequently with the GOP than with the Democrats. Baucus' voting record could almost-- but not quite-- be called Democratic. Progressives in Montana have been talking about finding a primary challenger for some time now. CNN just reported that Baucus made a speech on the Senate floor that could go a long way towards easing some of his problems with the Democratic base.

It has been widely touted today that tonight Bush plans to announce he made a mistake-- imagine!-- by sending too few troops into Iraq from day one. Baucus, who has been a steadfast supporter of the efforts in Iraq, says he made a mistake too: supporting Bush's cockamamie war from the outset! He's now calling for a phased troop withdrawal.

"'The administration was not up front with us,' Baucus said. 'They presented faulty intelligence and inaccurate information about weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, the quality of Congress's decision-making was no better than the quality of the information upon which we relied.' Baucus also urged the president not to increase troop levels in Iraq and advocated for a withdrawal to begin by 'the middle of the year... Throwing more troops at the problem is not a solution,' he said. 'Escalating the war is not a solution. We must not launch a strategy that has no benchmarks for success. How long and at what cost will we add troops to the conflict? It's a mistake.'"

Montanan David Sirota, no fan of Baucus, says that today he is proud to be represented by him. "That he is now making this bold statement is a major step for him, and for the larger efforts around the country to end the war. I'm really hopeful he signs onto Kennedy's bill and supports all the other legislative initiatives to end the war-- but whether he does that is a question for later. Today, let's just cheer him on."

But not too loud... he's leading the charge in the Senate to "balance" increasing the minimum wage by offering a huge package of sweeteners to business interests. The Republicans are looking for billions of dollars in tax breaks for businesses and are again trying to hold the minimum wage bill hostage to the rampant greed and selfishness that is one of the keystone's of their reactionary party. And in the Senate, they knew just who to turn to for some help: Senate Finance Committee Baucus. Greasy business-oriented Dems, particularly Schumer and Durbin, who rake in the big bucks from lobbyists and Wall Street interests, aren't exactly going to the mat to discourage "a compromise" that would further enrich their contributors. These guys are real scum.

Media Matters debunks all the tired right wing canards about how raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy. They've used these arguments-- based on hate and fear and greed-- since the 1930s, have always been proved wrong without a single exception, and then they just turn around and use them again. (Hit the link if you haven't seen them; it's the definitive case.)

Increasing the minimum wage is gigantically popular with the voters. Padding the bottom line of politicians' contributors is not. The Democrats should stand firm and not be stampeded by the Republican minority and the greed dogs in their own midst. Let the Republicans filibuster a pure unadulterated minimum wage bill and see how the public deals with it.


Perhaps not everyone recognizes Max Baucus (left) but at least the story's about him. The other galoot isn't mentioned at all and, unless you follow the ins and outs of the vast trans-partisan American Money Party, you might not recognize Iowa corporate shill Charlie Grassley, someone who has made a career of screwing over workers and consumers on behalf of corporate interests. He and Baucus are fast friends and allies and make quite the "bipartisan" power couple. A different Montanan, David Sirota, however, found an essential truth about the Grassleys and Baucuses of the world. Hint: a quote from a disgruntled Grassley: "I don't see [fast track authority] being extended without some accommodation for labor and the environment, as much as I hate to see that."


At 1:03 PM, Blogger TeddySanFran said...

With "Democrats" like Baucus and RGJoe blocking Speaker Pelosi's cleanly passed Minimum Wage and Homeland Security bills -- or ladening them with hunks of cash for their corporatist supporters -- the GOP won't need to lift a finger to cripple the 100 Hours Agenda.

I hope the Senate Dems are enjoying their six-year-long date with Lieberman -- so sad that they could have NED as Connecticut's Senator!

Oh, yeah -- welcome, Max, to the reality-based community.


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