What Is Max Baucus Thinking?

With August recess approaching and the Senate still deliberating over a health-care bill, all eyes are on Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), who is struggling to cobble together a compromise with Republican senators. But what are his motives? If you ask liberal advocacy groups, some of whom are running ads against him in Montana, Baucus' reluctance to commit to a more liberal solution is a simple case of selling out to special interests. Ask some of his colleagues and they'll say he's a hardworking centrist looking for bipartisan consensus and the legitimate concerns of his state's conservative voters. The Missoula Independent this week takes an exhaustive look at the senator's 34-year career in Congress, detailing how the cagey political veteran has managed to defy labels and walk the line between left and right at home and in Washington.