by Pete Talbot

And here I thought Sen. Max Baucus was retiring from the U.S. Senate so he could spend more time in Montana with his lovely, young wife.  He’s even building a home in the Bozeman area.

It looks like I was wrong.  The blogs are awash with the news that Max will most likely be the next U.S. Ambassador to China.  I won’t link to them all — they range from kudos to criticism — and you’ve probably already read them.  Here’s the NY Times story, though.

Now China will be his legacy since tax reform is off the table and the Affordable Care Act isn’t exactly being warmly embraced.

The big question: who will be appointed by Gov. Bullock as Baucus’ place holder until the 2014 election?

Ahh, to be a fly on the wall in those smoke-filled back rooms (although not as smokey as they used to be thanks to anti-tobacco trends).  Who to pick: Lt. Gov. John Walsh, Brian Schweitzer, Pat or Carol Williams, one of our Tier-B women (Juneau, McCulloch, Lindeen)?

Now former Baucus/Obama staffer Jim Messina is being mentioned.  How the hell did he get in the mix?

And if Bullock appoints Walsh, who will he then appoint as lieutenant governor?  (Bohlinger?  That would be ironic, n’est pas?)

I’m sure all these questions were hashed out and answered many months ago by the powers that be.  The rest of us are just along for the ride.

UPDATE: It’s official.  Obama nominates Baucus for Ambassador to China position.  Max’s appointment should sail through Senate hearings.


  1. Bullock could then appoint Bohlinger to Lt Gov again- ha. Good line Pete…

  2. Big Swede

    No MT pizza joints in China.

    “You may remember that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson cast the decisive vote in favor of a government health care takeover after, of course, securing a bundle of money for his home state.

    Now it appears that that did not win him any friends in conservative Nebraska. Politico.com reports that Thursday night he and his wife were booed out of an Omaha pizzeria by angry customers who apparently yelled things like, “Get him out of here!””-FNC

  3. Big Swede

    Those smoke filled rooms are filled with China bound coal stack plumes and shale gas flares.

    “With Baucus’s likely departure for Beijing, the Senate finance chair will come open, and due to looming retirements, seems poised to fall to Sen. Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat who currently chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Aides say Wyden has wanted the job for years.

    And that would open the way for Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to take over at the Energy Committee; the No. 2 Democrat on the committee, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, is retiring.

    Unlike most Democrats, Landrieu unabashedly favors tapping U.S. oil and gas resources; Louisiana is at the epicenter of offshore oil and gas development, shale gas plays, and refineries.”-Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    • petetalbot

      Thanks for pointing this out, Swede. I agree that some of these Dem. players don’t have stellar environmental records. We need to work on that.

    • mike

      Landriue is toast next fall.

  4. Matthew Koehler

    It’s important for the public, and especially those who care about National Forest and Wilderness protection, to better understand the behind-closed-doors politicking that has been taking place over the past few weeks. Once rumors spread that the Obama Administration was going to name Sen Baucus as the next ambassador to China, a series of events took place over the weekend and past few days.

    Some of these events are directly related to the future of Tester’s mandated logging bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, as well as a bill (S.1301) from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who happens to be the Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    You see, Baucus’ quick departure means that Senator Wyden would give up his Chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to take over the very powerful Senate Finance Committee, which Baucus currently Chairs.

    This meant that Sen Wyden needed to quickly get his mandated logging bill S.1301 and Tester’s mandated logging bill through Wyden’s Senate ENR Committee because both Wyden, Tester and Baucus feared that the other Dems on the Committee wouldn’t be as supportive of these mandated logging bills once Wyden was no longer was the ENR Committee Chair.

    As you can see below, what Sen Wyden did this weekend was make last-minute changes to his “Oregon Eastside Forest Restoration, Old Growth Protection and Jobs Act (S.1301), which weren’t announced to the public until Wednesday, the eve of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup.

    The changes Wyden just made at the last minute include many concerning aspects, including a new provision that promotes the logging of old-growth trees up to 200 years old, instead of focusing on restoration.

    Good for the Oregon Forest and Wilderness protection organizations for pulling their support from Wyden’s old-growth logging bill and publicly blasting him for it. Unfortunately in Montana, that $1,000,000+ that Pew Trusts spread around to Montana Wilderness Association, Montana Trout Unlimited and others prevents these groups from speaking out against Tester’s bill, which clearly represents a big threat to the future of America’s public lands.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec 18, 2013

    Eastern Oregon Forest Bill Loses Conservation Support

    Senator Wyden abandons previous compromise on Eastern Oregon forests, proposes logging of trees up to 200 years old.

    OREGON – Conservation groups who have long worked closely with Senator Ron Wyden in the development of his Oregon Eastside Forest Restoration, Old Growth Protection and Jobs Act (S.1301), first introduced in 2009, have announced they cannot support last-minute changes that have been made to the bill. The changes were released on the eve of a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup scheduled for Thursday.

    Read the rest of the press release here:
    http://www.oregonwild.org/about/press-room/press-releases/eastern-oregon-forest-bill-loses-conservation-support

    • mike

      Matty, matty, matty, you make a good living being an obstructionist fuck . Congrats on doing whatever you can to destroy kill employment in a renewable resource industry. (Golf clap)

      • lizard19

        this isn’t my post, so I won’t remove your comments here, mike, but if you try commenting on another post of mine again, you will be deleted. just a friendly reminder :)

      • petetalbot

        Yeah, although I hardly ever delete comments, I’m tempted to take Mike’s down. I associate personal attacks with people of little character. However, Matt has a pretty thick hide, so I’ll leave it it up — for now.

      • larry kurtz

        good eye, mike: matt would rather sue and settle.

      • JC

        “Renewable resource”

        Talkin’ about government subsidies? The only thing renewable about the logging industry is pork that is fed them through Congress’ appropriations.

  5. Billings Dad

    Pete – you’ve been in the Montana atmosphere long enough to know what’s going on.

    The Dems have polling showing Daines leading by double digits.

    Walsh is their man, and he will be appointed to gain whatever incumbents advantage he can. After all, when you’re Max Baucus, or Jon Tester, you don’t ask for donations, you send invoices.

    The Dem establishment needs Bohlinger to go away, back into obscurity, so he will not be considered for anything.

    • mike

      Doesn’t matter BD, Obamacare is the gift that keeps on giving for Team Red and that will only get worse next year for your squad. Daines is a shoo in next fall no matter which victim Team Blue offers up. I

      As a libertarian I despise Team Red as much as you blue types but lately Obama is the leader in actively doing what he can to lessen freedom by fiat because he can’t do it by legislation. He’ll never have a a legislative majority going forward, the Senate will be held by Team Red next fall and Barry outside of
      regulatory overreaches will be neutered. That’s a good thing just like it was a good thing when BOOOOSH ruled the roost.

      I vote for divided government, the more divided the less damage the utterly disfunctional federal government can inflict on us.

  6. Big Swede

    Hot Air blog is calling this, “The Big Sky Buy Off”.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/12/21/max-baucus-and-the-big-sky-buy-off/




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