Baucus Decompensates on Floor of Senate

by JC

Days like this you wish you weren’t a Montanan. Found this top o’ the Drudge Report today:

And it’s plastered all over the conservablogs today. Guess the Melodee Hanes story was just a warm up.

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  1. Big Swede

    Ace of Spades has over 500 hilarious comments.

    Best one so far: This is just before he nominated Captain Morgan for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

  2. Pogo Possum

    With respect to everyone here, it is also very possible his sluring and apparent meandering rant is the sign of a serious medical condition. A few of my physicial friends have long suspected (based on observation only) that Max may have something medically wrong with him.

    While not ruling out alcohol, a series of falls over the years, on going balance issues, a story of collapsing at an airport a few years ago (one insider said they had to get the paddles out to bring him back) and other stories that quietly circulate may be an indication of something more serious. While I have numerous disagreements with some of Max’s positons and actions over the years, I hope this isn’t a serious health issue for him.

  3. Lizard

    does it really matter one way or the other?

  4. Elk Creek

    I have not posted here before, but I feel compelled to chime in. I am sure that I will be ridiculed by some solely as a “Max apologist”, (whatever that means), nonetheless, I believe that this particular, unfair attack warrants sharing some modest insight.

    Anyone who actually knows Max understands that he has struggled for years with what many of us believe to be the remnants of a childhood speech impediment that he is too proud to admit that he suffered from and is, likewise (and rightly if it is true), too determined not to let stand in the way of a career in public service. I do not know this definitively to be true, but strongly believe that this is the case.

    A Max speech will not be confused any time soon with an Obama speech, nor would anyone in Montana expect it to be. (Perhaps conservative bloggers elsewhere are confused). When Max is excited, as here, in public (and in private) sometimes he tends to slur his words. Again, nothing new for anyone who has seen Max excited or, as very likely in this case, utterly exhausted in the marathon of the health care debate. I have seen both excited and exhausted Max. I also would be absolutely stunned if Max went to the Senate floor intoxicated and see nothing here other than a tired and excited Max, struggling as he normally does to communicate what is in his head and heart.

    Certain things in politics are fair game. Attacking someone for the way they talk, or their struggle to do so, is immature at best, especially when the shots come from people who themselves hide in the anonymous, written world of the blogoshere. At worst, it’s mocking someone who very likely may suffer from a serious disability that he has struggled with his whole life. How would (and should) we react to conservatives mocking Gov. David Patterson for being blind or, perhaps, former Sen. Max Cleland for being in a wheel chair?

    So consider this, perhaps Max did and does suffer from a serious speech impediment? Will we join in with conservative bloggers in ridiculing and mocking him for their own political gain? I won’t.

    • Big Swede

      Wasn’t there assumption of drunkenness with Denny on the late night boat ride?

      Without any video proof?

      Mocking for political gain, perhaps?

    • Before I read any further, I will echo Elk Creek and Pogo’s sentiments. A silk tongue, Max has not – and considering his past, people should be more concerned, first, that this wasn’t a medical issue.

      Lots of things are fair game, but making fun of someone’s speech isn’t one of ’em.

  5. JC

    Ok. To all of the Max-wasn’t-drunk-ers (PoPo, Goof, Elk Creek, etc.), nobody here, with the exception of Big Swede alluded to Baucus being drunk. I brought up the YouTube video, because it is going to be news next week.

    And no one was referring to any possible speech impediment. An impediment does not lead a U.S. senator to rant in the way Max did. Transcript out his words, and they are very… revealing.

    I used the term “decompensated”, which roughly means: “…(more or less) to fall apart mentally and emotionally… Other (non-psychotic) persons may decompensate when the stressors they are faced with are greater than their coping abilities can manage.”

    In other words, he lost his cookies on the senate floor and ranted and raved, for whatever reason. And by doing so, he provided opponents of his reform package the perfect opportunity to attack him. Which they will do in full force in the upcoming week.

    Taking his actions and words at face value, it still is an embarrassing performance. If Max is not well, then his aids and the senate should see to it that he gets help. But with this sort of damaging video, any attempts by him to manage a conference committee for health care reform will be rather… unproductive.

    • Big Swede

      Let’s say you’re a senator. A powerful long term senator responsible for ground breaking health care legislation.

      Would you rather be accused of drinking too much before a speech on the senate floor, or “falling apart” mentally?

      And another thing. When you’re used to a sympathetic home state media, that is, affairs and indiscretions that are sat on, buried or swept aside you retain a false sense of security.

      Until a national embarrassment surfaces.

      • Big Swede

        Checked all the major MT news papers this morning, no mention.

        There was tho an article in GF paper about Denny’s rehabilitation and the accident.

    • OK. Now that I’ve read through this – the context in which I’ve seen this video already a half dozen times was that Max was drunk, which was where my initial reaction was coming.

      I actually believe I may have seen this live, but nonetheless, if he was “decompensating” he was publicly coming to the embarassing realization that the GOP that he worked with on the bill were shafting him and lying to him and america, despite being called out on it, on the floor of the senate.

      Saying out loud that I think that was quite possibly what it was, do I feel sorry about it? Nope. You and I both knew we were getting shafted..knew they were not negotiating in good faith..and now were sitting looking at the largest government-enforced corporate guaranteed contract to a whole chunk of our GNP ever to be enabled by Congress.

      Forgive me is I, too, decompensate a little.

  6. CharleyCarp

    I don’t think he was drunk. I think he was calling out the people on the other side who told him privately that they wanted to be part of a bipartisan effort, only to be drawn back by a leadership that is dedicated to no legislation being passed. It’s embarrassing that he ever thought conservatives/Republicans would act in good faith, given all the evidence (over decades and today) to the contrary. But the speech itself? In the context? Nothing wrong in it.

  7. mlu

    I don’t support Max and think he’s a poor senator, but the video doesn’t convince me he was drunk. I’ve seen Max in action lots of times, and it’s never been a whole lot better than this. As a speaker of clear thoughts, he’s an embarrassment.

  8. bloodyknife

    Now I can fully relate to how the Dixie Chicks felt about our past president. I would like to take this or any opportunity to apologize on behalf the state of Montana to the rest of the country for electing this embarrassment to the senate.

    • How noble of you, bloodyknife. However, I don’t think the voters of Montana would wish you to speak on their behalf. Baucus has been elected to the Senate six times (and to the House twice before that). You may not like the choice of your fellow citizens, but that’s how a democracy works.

  9. bloodyknife

    Binky, I neither credit nor blame my fellow citizens for Max’s behavior. I just hold US senators to certain standards and coherent thought and speech is not an unreasonable standard. If he wasn’t drunk then we have a bigger problem, at least a drunk can sober up part of the time.

    Any man can handle adversity. If you want to test his character, give him power.
    Abraham Lincoln

  10. Pogo Possum

    I am not buying the speech impediment argument inspite of very well delivered comments by Elk Creek. J.C. is right, “. . . Transcript out his words, and they are very… revealing.”

    Instead, I am going to have to go with J.C.s further analysis of this. Whether it was alchohol, over medication or a medical condition that caused this rambling wreck of a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Baucus owes Montana’s voters an immediate explanation.




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