Well. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana*), chairman of the Senate Finance Commitee and derailer of the health care process, apparently carried on a lengthy affair with a staffer, whom he then nominated for a US attorney position.

This is Melodee Hanes, Baucus' state office director. Hanes has worked for Baucus in various capacities since 2003.

We were all set to relentlessly mock Baucus for, whatever, being a douchebag, because we have never liked him, but this is actually a pretty lame little scandal. Baucus separated from his wife in early 2008, and, according to his office, he began dating Hanes that summer. Baucus and his wife divorced this last April, and he now lives with Hanes. So... scandal! Old dude's marriage ends and he takes up with someone age appropriate whom he's been close to for some time!

But then, like an idiot, Baucus sent her name to the White House to be considered as a US Attorney from Montana. That was dumb. No one is going to believe you nominated your fucking girlfriend for a plum gig based on her qualifications.

Baucus says he nominated Hanes for the job because they decided, once their relationship became sexy, that she should no longer work in his office. And she now works at the Justice Department.

Anyway! Now Montana has Rabbis and political sex scandals!

Baucus' office is being pretty aggressive in getting out in front of this story, so unless something terribly embarrassing comes out (text messages? nudez? golf club attack?) we don't think this will change the dynamics of the reform debate too much. In fact, let's watch chummy Senators close ranks around their pal Max. Though Michael Steele is trying to make it a thing, but he is a clown.

[Pic via Joe Weisenthal who, no offense, doesn't seem to have a great grasp of the health care process in the Senate. The Reid bill is basically a reworked Baucus bill, with slightly better subsidies and an incredibly weak public option that will probably be stripped out anyway. And the Democrats are certainly not betting full-on on that weakened opt-in public option. There's your health care reform update of the day!]

*Obligatory bitchy aside: Why don't you ever write anything bad about Democrats wah wah wah etc.