People with better things to do than follow politics – and almost anything is better than that – won’t remember this guy. But Max Baucus was in the news last week and what he had to say is worth noting.

Ridiculous, but worth noting.

Baucus is a former U.S. senator from Montana. After that gig he was appointed ambassador to China. This means two things: he knows a fair amount about China and he has a really fat government retirement.

But while he may know something about China, one wonders how much he understands?

And sure, we get it Baucus is a cheerleader for Team Democrat. He despises everything Trump and he wants Joe Biden to be the next president. That all makes sense since he is a life-long Democrat. Good for him for being a team player.

But did he really have to reach for the Hitler comparison?

One would think a former diplomat could be a bit more, oh, diplomatic than prancing the old ‘Trump is just like Hitler’ canard. But that would have been a cliché too far for Baucus. At least it was during his recent interview with CNN.

Baucus was interviewed to get his opinion about Trump’s relationship with China. Needless to say, Baucus said Trump has it all wrong. So wrong, in fact, that said Trump was a ‘bit like Hitler in the ‘30s.

To hear Baucus say it, China is blameless – the U.S. under Trump? Not so much.

It is true that President Trump, especially since the pandemic, says tough things about China. And rarely is he diplomatic when he says those things. But Hitler-like? Really?

In the face of Chinese lies about the China virus, their shenanigans in the South China Sea and their corporate espionage – Trump is the threat?

Baucus is right in one sense. One country does have thousands of people in concentration camps. One country does murder its political opponents. One country does imprison protesters.

He’s just confused as to which country.

There could be a reason the former senator has become such a cheerleader for China.

It seems Baucus, at the same time he is cashing retirement checks from Uncle Sam, has gone to work for China. He serves on the board of Alibaba, the Amazon of China. He also serves on the board of Ingram Micro, which is owned by a Chinese company. Those are pretty cushy jobs that likely pay very well.

But, apparently, those generous wages come at a cost. A cost paid with integrity.

Now we’re not so naïve as to suggest that politics suddenly has become a dirty game. It’s always been this way. But what does seem different is how willing some are to cheer against the home team in support of their brand of politics.

The best thing for America would be to re-open. The number of unemployed has surpassed 35 million and more than 100,000 businesses – businesses that represent decades of investment and hard work – are broke.

The longer the shutdown, the higher the toll.

Sure, we must re-open with care, but the states that already have opened demonstrate that it can be done successfully.

Yet other states managed – largely – by Democrats insist on continuing the shutdown. Some say the shutdown must continue through July. July! Yet the numbers contradict that. As do their previous statements.

And whatever happened to ‘flatten the curve?’

For a long time, several weeks, we were told that was the goal. For weeks we were lectured by doctors and politicians about the wonders of the flat curve.

But when the curve flattened – dropped even – the rules changed.

Just last week it was suggested, no matter what shape the curve, we couldn’t even resume school in the fall.

It makes it hard to cheer for the home team when they keep moving the goalposts. But then, maybe that’s the point.

DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.

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