Henry “Bulldog” Waxman takes over at Energy and Commerce!

Best news so far out of the new Congress:  The all-important House Energy and Commerce Committee, in defiance of the traditions of seniority, has just been switched from John Dingell, the 82-year old Michigan legislator who has spent much of his time as chair of the committee “stifling environmental legislation and legislation that would have effectively encouraged American industry to lead the way on energy efficiency,” to Henry Waxman, Santa Monica’s celebrated and tireless environmental and regulatory warrior. As of last night Waxman’s challenge seemed a long shot, but I woke this morning to see he had pulled it off – it is indeed a new day in Congress, and the Democratic Party!

As Harold Meyerson pointed out (on Wednesday, when his success was still in doubt,) “Waxman is probably the House’s most accomplished legislator in three issue areas that are high on the agendas of the nation and President-elect Barack Obama: universal health care, global warming and enhanced consumer protections.” Something Meyerson doesn’t mention that should be encouraging to all us bloggy types: This committee also has jurisdiction over the FCC, and Waxman is a strong believer in net neutrality, media ownership caps, and effective anti-trust enforcement.

Lots of other Waxy goodness in the Meyerson article, including Sen. Allan Simpson’s observation that “Henry Waxman is tougher than a boiled owl.” Conclusion:

Now, after a 14-year winter, it’s legislating season again. Greenhouse gases are rising, the farms and factories producing the things we ingest have been spread across the globe, the number of uninsured has risen. Obama needs an ally on the Hill who can craft bills and obtain votes for the change he’s pledged to deliver. He needs a master legislator. He needs Henry Waxman.

And remember you heard it here at the Orange Juice first – while the boys at the Liberal OC (who just banished us from their “Liberal Launching Pad”) were still sitting on their hands saying, “Wax-WHAT?  Hey, Misha posted the same comment twice!  Duh, how did that happen?”

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.