Let's face it, nominating Sen. Max Baucus to be ambassador to China was a political move, fair and square. By trying to temporarily fill a seat with a Democratic candidate, appointed by a Democratic governor, the White House team knew it could improve the party's chances of holding on to Baucus's seat in Montana and stopping a GOP majority in the Senate.
By moving Baucus out early — he had already announced his retirement — not only does a Democrat arrive before the election to settle in and increase his advantage, but also the shift Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would make from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to the chairmanship of the Finance Committee means vulnerable Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) would rise to the chairmanship of the powerful energy panel with jurisdiction over critical energy and resource issues facing her state.
If Team Obama desperately wanted tax reform in 2014, they couldn't let Baucus go.
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