Pearlstein v. Baucus

By Beacon Staff

Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein blasted Montana Sen. Max Baucus in an op-ed Thursday for his role on President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission.

Baucus opposed the creation of the panel in the first place and then, after he was appointed to it, was one of seven members to vote against the commission’s final proposal. Eleven members voted for it, but 14 were needed to forward the proposal to Congress for consideration.

For his part, Baucus argued that the plan painted “a big, red target on rural America.” But Pearlstein called that a “ludicrous explanation” and wrote that perhaps the senator perceived the commission as a threat to the Senate Finance Committee of which he chairs. Pearlstein writes:

There are two possibilities. One is that Max is so parochial that he can’t get behind anything that might jeopardize his popularity with the Montana Cattlemen’s Association or the Billings Chamber of Commerce. In that case, he has no business chairing a committee that handles issues of national and international significance.

The more likely possibility is that he played the rural card simply as convenient political cover for his real motive, which was to prevent any challenge to his own authority. In that case, he has revealed himself as too petty to be a serious national leader.

Read Pearlstein’s column here.

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