September 19, 2007

Now here's a worthy netroots target for 2008: Max Baucus. As the New Republic blogs over his decision to deny Congressional representation to the voters of D.C.:
(Baucus') explanation for his vote against DC receiving a vote in the House of Representatives (with Utah receiving one as well to maintain presumed partisan balance), is really one for the ages:
Baucus said in a written statement that he opposed the bill because Montana has only one House vote. "If we were to expand the House, Montana's voice would become less influential," he said.
Now, my back-of-the-envelope calculation--and I hope readers will feel free to correct it if it's wrong--finds that Montana's single House vote currently makes up 0.2299 percent of the total House vote. If the House were expanded from 435 members to 437, Montana's share would drop to 0.2288 percent. Yes, Baucus felt obligated to vote against any federal representation for residents of the District of Columbia, because it would reduce the relative clout of his states' residents (in the House only, the Senate would be unaffected) by one-thousandth of one percent.
Contrary to popular netroots mythology, Montana is not that red a state, and has not even historically been a particularly red state. All but two of the Senators it has elected in its history have been Democrats, it voted for Clinton in 1992 (and almost went for Dukakis in 1988), and routinely has been the most liberal of the Rocky Mountain states, although Colorado has probably passed it for that distinction in recent years. Tester and Schweitzer have shown that a progressive Democrat can win there today, so there's no need for the rest of us to assume that Baucus is the best we can get out of Big Sky.* [link via Matt Yglesias)

*Baucus has always been a Luxury Box Democrat, dating back to his first election to the Senate, when he defeated an incumbent, Paul Hatfield, over his support for the Panama Canal Treaty the previous year.

No comments: