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Waxman Defeats Dingell

By Paul Kane

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) won the vote, 137-122, to become the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, defeating the legendary Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).

The vote came a day after the House Democratic steering committee recommended Waxman for the post in a narrow 25-22 vote. The powerful Energy panel, with jurisdiction over health care, energy issues and telecommunications policy, will play a significant role in moving much of President-elect Barack Obama's agenda in the 111th Congress.

"It's the mantra of the Obama election. People want change," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who supported Waxman. "He'll work best with the new administration."

Senior Democrats were stunned by the Waxman victory, which seemingly dealt a blow to the party's long-held principle of seniority.

"It's just been buried," Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said of seniority.

Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's public neutrality in the race, Rangel accused her of playing a role. "I assume that not playing a role is playing a role," Rangel said.

By Paul Volpe  |  November 20, 2008; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: Waxman's Win Marks Seismic Shift in House



Posted by: kup12 | November 20, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

With Dingell as chair, this committee was never going to move forward on a comprehensive, forward-thinking energy policy. He's too influenced by auto makers, and, by extension, big oil.

Seems like a smart move to replace him.

Posted by: dgloo | November 20, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Well that's it. No car industry bailout.

Dingell lost his job because ha and his wife are shills for General Motors.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 20, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Detroit: Thy Death's Name Is Waxman

Posted by: argie | November 20, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Dingell was a dinosaur whose time was more than over. Obama was never going to have the success this nation desperately needs to move towards energy independence without a much more flexible, forward-looking person running the energy committe in the House. This is a very good sign that we may really get some serious change on this major issue.

Posted by: Pearl77 | November 20, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

It's MORE than about time! Bravo!

Posted by: dewdrop2 | November 20, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This is a great day for America's future. The death grip the auto industry had on regulations is starting to loosen.

I'm behind the Moore Plan: do what Roosevelt did when he ordered the car companies to turn their manufacturing to weapons of war. We are in a full-fledged economic war and it is a matter of national security that we wean ourselves off oil.

What we once knew as car companies can be pressed into service building mass transit and alternate fuel vehicles, and improving CAFE standards to world-leading levels. This is time for major transformation: a renaissance of the Industrial Revolution, and if America is to become a world leader again, we must set about the task immediately -- and despite the impediments of Republicans and Democrats like Dingell who act like them.

Posted by: dgblues | November 20, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Waxman is the right man for the job ahead.

Posted by: timothy2me | November 20, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Good for Waxman. Dingell did everything in his power to make sure Detroit did not have to increase fuel efficiency of those monstrous things the produce. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming to support the lame increase in the CAFE standards. I hope somebody takes out Rangel also. Enough of this old farts leading this country to disaster.

Posted by: Henry_of_BrowardCounty | November 20, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

1. waxman is not part of the change montra set by obama, waxman has been in congress for 30 years.
2. the democrats will lose the majority two years from now, the rust belt is not a guarentee for them.
3. waxman will put standards on industry that will result in thousands of jobs lost, and there is nothing progressive about that.
4. this is classism, when DC bailed out wall street(white colar), no one blinked an eye. But DC has declared war on detroit (blue colar) and everyone thinks it is progrssive.

Posted by: tommybasil | November 20, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Go Henry go!

Posted by: Attucks | November 20, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

dgblues I agree.

A perfect opportunity, no one will buy Detroit cars from now on, so the industrial capacity is "free" for a whole new cast(e?) of entrepreneurs.

The ace in the hole is the very low energy price. It will keep the recession from becoming a depression in which all forms of new investment become impossible. In past times, cheap oil would cause business as usual, a rebirth of the SUV, but not this time. We know better than that now, right?

Posted by: shrink2 | November 20, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

So the pig-man is back. Someone alert Kramer!

Posted by: bryan2369 | November 20, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh Dear God.... we are doomed with Waxman at the controls. House Democrats better remember that they are still far more liberal than the country as a whole.

Posted by: lingering_lead | November 20, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Fantastic news! With Dingell out of the way, maybe renewable energy legislation, tightened CAFE standards, and a whole host of other important initiatives that he held up can finally begin moving us in the right direction. So long to Dinosaur Dingell.

Posted by: | November 20, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Does Waxman oppose a big-3 bailout? I haven't seen him take a position as yet on it. Naturlly I would expect Dingell would support a bailout more friendly to GM managment's desires, but I'm not sure Waxman would oppose any bailout of any kind.

Posted by: Scientician | November 20, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

dingell lost his position because people on the east coast and west coast do not seem to care about the hundreds of thousands of people employed by the auto industry.

Posted by: tommybasil | November 20, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse


No, they're really not. Comprehensive issue polling done on Americans has for decades shown Americans are more liberal than their government (though it is true not many people call themselves "liberals").

The General Social Survey found that even among the most-conservative self-identified respondents, a majority support more domestic social spending.

There is a reason Social Security is the "third rail" that keeps burning Republicans trying to gut it: Americans love it, and no amount of "center-right" mythologizing has altered that fact, more than 70 years after the birth of the program.

Posted by: Scientician | November 20, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not Waxman will voice nominal support for Detroit car makers, he won't 'drive' any such plan the way Dingle would have.

He will correctly understand his coup resulted from Democratic rank and file representatives sensing rising American anger against the Obama/Pelosi bailout/payback to the rust belt.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 20, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So dumb and dumber ran for the chair, and dumber won. No news here.

Posted by: LarryG621 | November 20, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Dingell meant well in his support for the auto industry, but by protecting them and catering to them, he wound up supporting their bad habits that are sinking them now.

Posted by: claritygraph | November 20, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

If Nanci Pelosi did play a role in replacing Dingell- a man who effectively helped the US auto industry commit suicide during the course of his career- with Henrry Waxman, then it will represent the first time her involvement has ever amounted to a genuinely positive result.

Be that as it may, I am stunned that nearly 50 percent of House Democrats actually thought that the man who almost single-handedly blocked any attempt to impose mileage standards during his entire career ought to remain in the key oversight position over the industry he helped to ruin.

Clearly, we have a long, long way to go.

Posted by: Bartron | November 20, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Great, we get to waste more money and cripple our economy pursuing the myth of anthropogenic global warming.

Posted by: NeverLeft | November 20, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Dingell has pimped for the automotive industry for far too long. And bears a good deal of the blame for the current uncompetitive state of the Big Three.

He is also old (82), infirm and barely capable of forming a complete sentence.

He is no way equipped to be anything other than one of the geriatric old codgers uselessly littering the halls of Congress.

Folks, it's a change you can believe in.

Posted by: pali2500 | November 20, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"Dingell has drawn criticism for his ties to the automotive industry. The three largest contributors to his campaign for the 2006 election cycle are political action committees, employees, or other affiliates of General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and DaimlerChrysler; since 1989, intermediaries for these corporations have contributed more than $US 600,000 to his campaign. Dingell also holds an unknown quantity, more than $US 1 million, in assets through General Motors stock options and savings-stock purchase programs; his spouse, Debbie Dingell, worked as a lobbyist for the corporation until they married, whereupon she moved to an administrative position there. At present Ms. Dingell is a senior executive at General Motors and vice chair of the General Motors Foundation.

"On November 11th, 2008, American columnist Thomas Friedman wrote about the the lack of innovative business culture in American auto industry singling out Representative John Dingell:

"The blame for this travesty not only belongs to the auto executives, but must be shared equally with the entire Michigan delegation in the House and Senate, virtually all of whom, year after year, voted however the Detroit automakers and unions instructed them to vote. That shielded General Motors, Ford and Chrysler from environmental concerns, mileage concerns and the full impact of global competition that could have forced Detroit to adapt long ago. Indeed, if and when they do have to bury Detroit, I hope that all the current and past representatives and senators from Michigan have to serve as pallbearers. And no one has earned the “honor” of chief pallbearer more than the Michigan Representative John Dingell, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who is more responsible for protecting Detroit to death than any single legislator."

Posted by: pali2500 | November 20, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It's time for Dingell to retire and have a real progressive from Ann Arbor replace him. How that district could have such a reactionary oaf surprises me.

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | November 20, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Yay! Mr. Dingell, thank you for your service in helping many causes. But, you fell prey to the auto industry influence and you became an obstruction to progress. The nation wants green vehicles, even big truck green vehicles and you helped stop this progress.

I wonder how much money the oil industry executives also handed over to the GM's of the world to prevent the electric car to be developed. Waxman won't let that happen. Waxman will leads us to energy indepence with Obama. I have been waiting to buy a van that would be electric or a hybrid for years now. With Waxman at the helm I may not have to wait too much longer.

Posted by: sandnsmith | November 20, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Dingell's defeat is a victory for Nancy Pelosi especially. Dingell outmanuevered her in the 110th Congress by negating any legislative authority for the global warming committee she created and gave to her ally Ed Markey, but that will be the last time he outmuscles her as this shows. By defeating Dingell, Pelosi does two things simultaneously: she gets a strong ally in the committee that will be writing global warming legislation, and she takes a step toward dissolving the seniority=committee chair system. This is reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson's resuffling of the Senate committees when he was majority leader. Other committee chairs can now take heed: don't mess with the queen!

Posted by: erikpdumont | November 20, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Great, we get to waste more money and cripple our economy pursuing the myth of anthropogenic global warming."

Posted by: NeverLeft

Gee, I thought you'd have driven your car off the edge of the Earth by now. If you had any education, you'd see how great powers lose their power by becoming conservative and complacent. Britain used to be the world's manufacturing colossus, until the U.S., with its newer machines and more efficient management systems, forced Britain to the curb. Same thing happened to Detroit when the Japanese entered the auto business. Lee Iacocca laughed at Honda, et al. Detroit sat on its butt. The Japan kicked that same butt. I'm sure Detroit is kicking itself, too.

Posted by: edwcorey | November 20, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Dingell = Crony capitalism.

Crony capitalism holds many industries (and countries) hostage. There is no such thing as a free market (except for anarchists, like the Somali pirates). The only question is who controls the markets and to what purpose. Dingell and his wife did all they could to defeat the interests of the American car industry.

Now, with the reactionaries (right wing and crony capitalists) temporarily at bay, will new leadership be able to innovate fast enough? They have to show the results people like Dingell and the Bush/Cheney crowd made impossible.

What an exciting time to be a political junkie!

Posted by: shrink2 | November 20, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Dingell (and his wife by extension) one of the architects of the stupendous decision to move Michigan's primary forward into January?

Posted by: bigskells | November 20, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

To tommybasil ::White collar vs blue collar

People on the east coast and west coast are no different. We want the best for everybody. Im as white collar as you can get and I lost my job when the tech sector went down and I didnt ask for handouts. I took what I got, and learnt new tricks and got back in the work force. Now, a lot of of east coast people are losing jobs again!

SO enough with the class warfare.

If the heartland claims to be all-american, then be American and succeed on your own merit. You had this coming with the compensation and benefits being totally out of proportion with the marketplace. No wonder the Japanese manufacturers have done so much better.

Go learn a new trick and get back into the workforce. We will all be better off for it.

Posted by: RandomGuy | November 20, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

re: "Neverleft" and the "myth of anthropogenic global warming"

Republicans/conservatives generally believe in most or all of the following:

-trickle down economics
-waterboarding is not torture
-abstinence only education
-Saddam supported Al Qaeda
-the founding fathers intended a Christian nation
-Palin rejected the Bridge to Nowhere
-Katrina was a "failure of citizenship"
-Terri Schiavo might have recovered
-FDR made the Great Depression worse/longer

And you want to complain about "myths"? Hate to break it to you, but your side just proved that they cannot distinguish reality from fiction. I'm not even going to the more bizarre things on the fringes of the right like the SPP, or Clinton killing Vince Foster or Obama being born in Kenya.

At this point I think the RNC could start every press release with "Once upon a time,..." The party long ceased to compete with Democrats, opting instead to compete with Mother Goose and the Brother Grimm. At least Aesop's fables had morals.

Posted by: Scientician | November 20, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I wish the liberals who are demanding that the $25 billion handout for compliance with the new emission/mileage standards would have told us that the new admission standards were going to cost $25 billion.

Lets save the $25 billion by repealing the silly emission/mileage standards that are nothing more than a backhanded attempt to mandate smaller cars.

Posted by: Razorback1 | November 20, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

tommybasil wrote:
"...3. waxman will put standards on industry that will result in thousands of jobs lost, and there is nothing progressive about that."

This may be painfully true in the short-run, but if either Congress or the auto-industry had acted proactively years ago, the American auto-industry would not be in the shape it is in today. Now major economic surgery is necessary.

Posted by: antlerson | November 20, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Tommybasil, your thoughts are outdated. Detroits time has come. Wall Street retains global competetiveness as its guarantee of a modicum of success, but Detroit has resisted reform for too long. Does anyone truly believe a car company can compete in the global marketplace paying its workers nearly twice as much as all foreign competition? Or perhaps we should 'preserve American jobs' by banning all imported vehicles and mandating that we buy domestic? Yeah, THAT'S freedom...

Progressive oughtta mean getting smarter, not protecting the dumber from reality.

Posted by: joebobjim56 | November 20, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Waxman is going to push that green power nonsense. It's going to do nothing but drive jobs out of America. He does not care. The people that vote for democrates are going to find out exactly how much they could give a hoot for you. Just look at the UAW. What did they get when they asked for a bailout? Nothing!

Posted by: yokosuka1985 | November 20, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Good. Rangel sounds scared. Maybe that's good too.

Posted by: Cowabunga1 | November 20, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh good God the Nuts are running the show
in Congress as Mad Madame Speaker Nutty
Nancy Pelosi Conducts Her Communist Style
Purge of those Pelosi doesnot like and
replaces them with even more Publicity Hound Screwballs like Crazy Henry Waxman
the biggest tv camera hound in Congress after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Pius Pompus
Holier Then Thou Hopeless Harry Reid and
Waxman who like Pelosi also is another
Socialist Democrat Run Your Big Mouth And
Say and Do Nothing Expert! The hard cold
reality is Goofy Henry Waxman and all his
publicity hound phony Congressional Investigations Have Never Resulted In One
Single Criminal Idictment or Conviction!

Posted by: sherrykay2008 | November 20, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The Bush Junior Lovers posting here caused the total collapse and destruction of the United States in only eight years with their Worst President Ever...and now here they are...totally oblivious...whining and screaming like babies about the people who will be cleaning up their mess.

They're perfect examples of the "Extreme Dumbing Down of America" brought to you by Rush Limbaugh and FoxNews. It's a great thing for America that they're totally irrelevant now...and will soon be extinct.

Posted by: wilder5121 | November 20, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

This is trouble. Waxman has an abysmal record and will fall before Pelosi on whatever she directs. She is actually the force behind his chairmanship. This is not only trouble for energy independence, but Obama. They have yet to come up with any solutions to any problems, but instead have gotten in the way.

Posted by: tommy21 | November 27, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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