“The Best Policy for
“What is the best policy for Montanans and people across the country lies at the heart of every decision Chairman Baucus makes,” said Meaghan Smith, a spokeswoman for Mr. Baucus. “It’s as simple as that.”
I’m not going to dissect this story. What with all the hoopla over at Pogie’s Place, and Pete’s article below, it seems that there is a crack in the dem distortion field that protects incumbent, yet corrupt, politicians from the scrutiny they deserve.
In this case, Senator Baucus once again has been caught with his pants down, getting serviced by the health care industry — this time by Amgen and its lobbyists. It’s the usual story of revolving door crony capitalism: former Baucus Chief of Staff goes back to work in the industry, lobbies his former boss and plies him with campaign contributions, then manages to insert last minute provision benefiting company into the ram-rodded fiscal cliff bill with Sen.
Amgen’s Baucus’ approval.
The story originated with investigative reporters at the NY Times, and has spread all over (half a million hits for “Baucus + Amgen” at google already) the internet, but as Mark over at PoM notes, “All corruption that has ever been reported on Montana office holders has originated out-of-state, and local media like Lee newspapers ignore it unless it gains s national traction.”
Yawn, just another day at the local Baucus corruption media newsline, relegated to a LTE submission.
In any case, if dems were really concerned about their politician’s corruption, they’d take quick notice, and begin casting a wide net for a replacement for Max (with all due respect for Ellie Hill’s distancing herself from the race). While Max’s last election victory (a 73%-27% shellacking of Bob Kelleher–one of his campaign managers called it “the easiest job I’ve ever had”) was basically a “gimmie” that the republicans ceded by not putting up a candidate, one can be assured that they smell blood on the water this time ’round.
And Baucus’ revolving door, that is emblematic of everything wrong with Congress, is certain to be his achilles heel. Acquiescence (i.e. lesser of two evil arguments) is acceptance at this point. Dems who willingly support Baucus will have to explain how they can overlook his corruption. The cognitive dissonance MT Dems are going to experience over Max is going to be the single-most interesting part of the primaries lead-up, and the election should he make it to the generals.
I’ll leave you all with a small clip from Bill Moyers talking with a Congressman about this issue:
“So the trail winds deeper into the sordid swamp beneath that great Capitol dome, a sinkhole where shame has all but disappeared. As reporters Lipton and Sack remind us, just weeks before this backroom betrayal of the public interest by elected officials and the mercenaries they have mentored, Amgen pleaded guilty to fraud. Look it up: fraud means trickery, cheating and duplicity. Amgen agreed to pay $762 million in criminal and civil penalties; the company had been caught illegally marketing another one of its drugs.
The fact that their puppet master had been the subject of fines and a massive federal investigation mattered not to its servile pawns in the Senate, where pomp and circumstance are but masks for the brute power of money.”
I guess there’s more than one way to pay a three-quarter billion dollar fine: buy a Senator or two or three, and get them to drop a little provision in a last minute bill that isn’t going to be scrutinized until the dirty work is done, and the prez has signed off on it.
Maybe Pete’s question should be reframed: “Do dems want to do better?” instead of “can we do better?” Really, can dems find no better candidate? Or must all mention of it always be preceded with the disclaimer: “but we’ll vote for Max anyways” that assures him there is no real dissent in the ranks, or harm in continuing with his corrupt ways?