As I began to load stories to flatheadbeacon.com this morning, I noticed that it was moving extremely slow and actually asked our Webmaster, Kyle, if the server was down. It wasn’t. What happened was the Drudge Report, perhaps the most influential conservative blog in the country, had linked to Dan Testa’s story on Montana Sen. Max Baucus’ visit to Libby with Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Monday.
While the majority of the story focuses on federal aid provided for residents suffering from asbestos-related diseases from years of exposure to vermiculite mines operated by W.R. Grace and Co., Drudge, or someone who sent him the link, took notice of the following portion of the story:
Judy Matott asked Baucus if he would work to improve Libby’s image, and then asked him and Sebelius, “if either of you read the health care bill before it was passed and if not, that is the most despicable, irresponsible thing.”
Baucus replied that if Libby residents assembled an economic development plan, he would do what he could to help, and he took credit for “essentially” writing the health care bill that passed the Senate.
“I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill. You know why? It’s statutory language,” Baucus said. “We hire experts.”
In response to Matott’s question and another from a woman asking if the health care law was Constitutional, Baucus gave a broad defense of the changes, comparing them to programs like Social Security and Medicare that were unpopular when passed but have proven beneficial to Americans over the long term.
Drudge then linked to the piece under two separate headlines: “Sen. Baucus (author of Obamacare) admits to not reading the bill!” and “We hire experts.”
The headlines are taken a bit out of context, but that’s what Drudge does and is the least of my concerns. More pressing is the fact that he drove so much traffic our way that flatheadbeacon.com has moved incredibly slow for much of the day.
To our readers, I apologize for the delays. We’re doing everything we can to accommodate the increased traffic.
UPDATE: Baucus’ office sent along the following statement to a few D.C. news outlets:
Senator Baucus wrote the bill that passed the Finance Committee and then worked with his colleagues to write the health care bill that is law today. He has spent years crafting this policy and hundreds of hours reading and perfecting it. There is simply no question that he understands the provisions in the health care law and knows it is a historic improvement that will make our health care system more affordable and accessible for families in Montana and across America.