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Brian Schweitzer
Public Policy Polling (PDF). 4/26-29. Usual Democratic primary voters. MoE 5.4%

Max Baucus (D) 37
Brian Schweitzer (D) 48

As chair of the Senate finance committee, Sen. Max Baucus led the charge against even cursory exploration of a single-payer system (which could've been used, at worst, as a bargaining chip toward making the public option the default compromise), then hosted the so-called Gang of Six "negotiations" with Sens. Olympia Snowe, Chuck Grassley and arch-conservative Mike Enzi. For Baucus' troubles, those Republicans would later brag about how they used those pretend negotiations to delay consideration of any law through the end of 2009.

"If I hadn't been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care," [Sen. Mike Enzi] said. "It's not where I get them to compromise, it's what I get them to leave out."
In other words, if it wasn't for Baucus enabling Enzi and his friends, we could've avoided the long, protracted battle over the health care law that allowed conservatives to rally around the tea party and demonize the law, all the while demoralizing liberals into electoral-crushing apathy.

It's no secret that Baucus and Gov. Brian Schweitzer hate each other, and it's partly due to health care. Schweitzer has been aggressively pushing a single-payer health care system in Montana, while Baucus finds Schweitzer to be foolish and unrealistic in pushing for it.

If Schweitzer ran for Senate, it wouldn't be close. In fact, expect Baucus to retire in that eventuality. However, Schweitzer has been coy about his political future. One factor potentially at play—he'll be far less likely to pull the trigger on a 2014 Senate bid if he has designs on a 2016 White House bid. Don't discount the latter.

Originally posted to kos on Wed May 16, 2012 at 01:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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