Leah Barkoukis

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) admitted Tuesday during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that’s he’s “no real expert on China.” No big deal since he’s the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, right? Wrong.

Baucus, who’s stepping down at the end of his term, made the comment during his Senate confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. ambassador to China.

This display of diplomatic naiveté comes on the heels of Obama’s ambassador pick to Norway totally bungling his hearing. The explanation for the latter’s ignorance is that he’s a top Obama bundler, but Baucus? Ed Morrissey over at HotAir offers an explanation:

To say that this is an important diplomatic posting with a deep need for expertise in the issues involved is to offer a dramatic understatement. Yet the White House has nominated someone who apparently knows little about those issues. Why? Democrats wanted Gov. Steve Bullock to appoint a Democrat in Baucus’ place in order to get a leg up in the 2014 midterm race in what was going to be an open seat. Baucus got the appointment to get him out of the Senate now, rather than at the end of the session.

Given China’s strategic significance in the world and the importance of U.S.-China relations, one would think politics as usual wouldn’t trump American interests. Wrong again.


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography