The Hill reports
that some liberal members of the Senate are toying with the idea of stripping Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) of his chairmanship of the Finance Committee. Well..."toying" maybe a bit too strong. But they're not happy. Without naming names, they're nodding toward the idea of creating a referendum system, which would allow caucus members to decide every two years whether particular committee chairmen get to keep their gavels.
Most senators would be in fine shape under such a system--but Baucus hasn't won many friends over the years. He was instrumental in the passage of Bush tax cuts and in Republican Medicare reforms and has provoked the ire of senior Democrats many times in the past. In 2003, The New Republic suggested
stripping Baucus of his seniority on the Finance Committee; and in a 2006 article that's been lost to the magazine's archive abyss its editors argued that he should be kicked off the Finance Committee altogether.
Not to suggest that anything like that anything like this is in the works. But in addition to past heresies, Baucus' broken health care process--and the degree to which he's let that process be held hostage by Republicans--hasn't gone unnoticed by many of his peers.