Category Archives: Montana

Reapportionment: Mapping The New Congressional Districts by Gregory Hilton

New York has lost two seats and it is likely there will be some combination of the districts of Democratic Reps. Joseph Crowley, Carolyn Maloney and Gary Ackerman. The last time New York had 27 House seats was in the early 1820s, when the chamber had 181 seats. The two upstate districts with the heaviest population losses are in the western part of the state and are represented by Democratic Reps. Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter. With a Democratic Governor and state Assembly and a GOP Senate, expect each party to lose a district.

Yesterday’s release of the Census Bureau data allows the 2012 Congressional reapportionment process to begin. Drawing the new maps will be the subject of considerable speculation for the next six months. The GOP will gain at least six seats, and they are practically assured of pickups in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Also, several vulnerable Republicans will see favorable territory added to their districts.
The liberal Huffingtom Post does not agree with this assessment. Their current headline article is “Reapportionment Not Necessarily Good News for Republicans” by Robert Creamer. He is the same author who wrote their analysis explaining why Democrats would keep control of the House. Continue reading

Senator Baucus Nominates Girl Friend to be U.S. Attorney by Gregory Hilton

We have heard this story before and it is not partisan. Veteran lawmakers in both parties have ended long term marriages to marry female staffers who are 20 years their junior. Wanda Baucus is now 63, and until earlier this year she was married to Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), the powerful Chairman of the Finance Committee for 25 years.
I first met her when she was 38, and I thought she was the most attractive Senate spouse. She had a prominent role in the misguided nuclear freeze movement, but her former friends in various liberal organizations have not been kind to her. The title of Alexander Cockburn’s article was “A Bitch Named Wanda,” and in 2004 he publicly asked her “when are you going to dump that two timing husband?” I think they should be grateful to her.
She kept quiet throughout 2008 when he was re-elected to another six year term. Wanda Baucus is an abstract artist who previously served on the Harvard faculty and was a top aide to two U.S. Senators. She says Washington “is the strangest town I have ever lived in. I have lived in New York, Cambridge, Florida, Europe, and there is no place where women self-censor the way they do in Washington.”
She told the Washington Post about receiving unwanted attention from two senators, including persistent phone calls from one while she was working on Capitol Hill and a roving hand under the table from another when she was attending a dinner party with her husband. Both times she rebuffed the senators but did not publicly call them on their behavior.
Mrs. Baucus was “seething in silence but reluctant to talk.” She would not reveal their names because “to confront them would have hurt their wives and brought them pain.” She did go public with her criticism of then Senator Chuck Robb (D-VA) who is married to the daughter of the late President Lyndon Johnson.
She called Robb to demand that he fire the aide who attempted to silence Tai Collins, a former beauty queen who said she had an extramarital relationship with Robb.
Collins went public with details of the affair after she had been subjected to a barrage of intimidating meetings with the Senator’s attorneys and staff.
She was cautioned to keep quiet, and Collins said she “wanted the harassment to end.” Mrs. Baucus went on to tell the Washington Post, “It’s a man’s town, and even Elizabeth Taylor when she was married to a member of the Senate, left saying it’s a wonderful place for men to live, but it’s a deadly city for women. If the women I know in Washington and in the Senate talked and said all the things they know, this government would — I mean talk about the revolution….I mean this place would be turned upside down.”
Baucus has been in the press before for a relationship with a top staffer. I know Republicans are also guilty of infidelity and sexual harassment, but this is the same Max Baucus who was the champion of Anita Hill. He told us to believe Ms. Hill “because women do not lie about these things.” Baucus’ second wife was a Senate staffer and in 1999, he fired then-Chief of Staff Christine Niedermeier, who in turn accused him of sexual harassment. Niedermeier is an attorney who twice ran for Congress as a liberal Democrat in the 1980s.
She says Baucus pursued her relentlessly, asking her jealously about other boyfriends, making inappropriate comments and suggesting the two vacation together. She said he even proposed marriage. Niedermeier was promised a five-figure settlement from Baucus but he never paid. She has e-mails to support her story.

Key Democratic Senators Oppose Public Option by Gregory Hilton

Moderate Democrats understand public opinion polls and that is a major reason why the Obama agenda is sinking on Capitol Hill. Democratic Senators Kent Conrad (ND), Max Baucus (MT) and Ben Nelson (NE) are now expected to oppose the public option on health care reform. The Senate’s number two Democrat, Dick Durbin (IL), says he can accept a bill without a public option. The President’s lobbying has been focused on the public option and this will be a major setback for the Administration.
These Democrats have been citing a study by the Lewin Group indicating that a public option could entice 119 million people to drop their private coverage, and it would be a death blow to the insurance industry. The largest existing public health programs — Medicare and Medicaid — are the main reason that the government’s long-term finances are in shambles. Sen. Conrad doesn’t believe a public option will reduce costs. He has noted “We don’t need government-run grocery stores or government-run gas stations to ensure that Americans can buy food and fuel at reasonable prices.” Conrad said he would not vote for any health care reform that funded abortions, care for illegal immigrants or a plan that mandates end-of-life counseling.
A public option bill can not pass the Senate but 64 House Democrats are now on record saying they “simply cannot vote” for a bill that “at minimum” does not have a public option plan. They will not vote for a “co-ops” compromise. Rep. Weiner says the real opposition number is 100. There are 257 House Democrats and if you take away 64 the remaining 193 are well below the 218 needed for passage.
Liberal activist groups are working full blast on a grass roots campaign to convince progressive lawmakers to take a pledge in solid support of the public option. They do not want the President to compromise. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) just explained why the Pelosi plan scares many people: “I think if we had a good public option it would lead to single payer system.” In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says: “We’re going to have some type of public option, call it ‘co-op,’ call it what you want.” From the start, the Administration has always held that “the goal is non-negotiable; the path is,” as Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel put it.