But today, Max Baucus told a very different story to the Families USA gathering. He explained straight faced, without even breaking a sweat that his intent in shepherding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the Senate Finance Committee was simply to educate his fellow Senators.
He said, "I had no ideological axe to grind"
He said he had several sets of rules:
"We're all in this together. . .Nothin's off the table. . .we'll be non-judgmental, totally non-judgmental. . . suspend judgment. . .open up your mind and listen".
Huh? Yeah, he really said this. He makes shit up.
But they all do, and we--you and I--allow the political class to get away with this. Not one person, myself included, got up and said,"Mr. Baucus, why are you re-writing history? You know what you're saying is not the truth". I sat there and so did everyone else.
Tell Dr. Margaret Flowers and all the others arrested that it was a non-judgemental process, open to all Americans. Not exactly.
Of course we know Max's version of history is not what happened. Here, in fact is a meticulous recap of exactly what did happened.
So who is this Max Baucus? Like the Wizard of Oz, up close and personal, there's not much there there. He strikes me as is a simple man, woefully underqualifed to be dealing with the crippling issues our nation faces. Probably his intellectual abilities are no more or less than those of many in the elected class. He told us, that during some budget negotiation he wrote a big sign with he words, "Don't take the Bait" which he placed on the table in front of him. Then he said (kind of proud of himself), he drew a "smiley face", to remind himself to be cordial to friend and foe alike.
At lunch a few hours later, I sat with some young women who were equally dismayed with his presentation. One said, she had been to a healthcare meeting in his office where his staff did all the talking while he sat silently fondling his small dog. True story.
This is fine behavior, absolutely nothing wring with it, if you're say, running a restaurant. But if you're the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, oh well, you decide.
Donald Berwick, the head of CMS, spoke after lunch, now he is a hugely impressive public servant. You may remember that Obama had to recess appoint him because he made some comments extolling the virtues of the British NHS.
More tomorrow, I hope, on President Obama.
And I've got to hand it to Families USA. This organization always, without fail, delivers the politicians in force. We also heard from Nancy Pelosi today, I'll try and get a video of that as well.