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Why Republicans Fear Henry Waxman

waxman.jpg

When you hear Republican hill staffers talk about their deepest fears, there's an interesting tendency to give those fears a name and a face. That name? Henry Waxman.

Waxman, of course, is the Democratic chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. His committee has jurisdiction over climate change legislation, health reform and much else. He's also something of a legendary lawmaker and negotiator. He famously managed to double the size of Medicaid facing a Republican Senate and a Reagan White House. Giving that skilled of a legislator that large of a docket terrifies some Republicans. They worry that not only will their representatives get rolled, but so too will the moderate Senate Democrats who will be hammering out the details with Waxman. Over at Washington Monthly, Charlie Homans explains why they're thinking these unhappy thoughts.

(Photo credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

By Ezra Klein  |  May 22, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Congress  
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Comments

"When you hear Republican hill staffers talk about their deepest fears, there's an interesting tendency to give those fears a name and a face. That name? Henry Waxman."

Can you blame them? The man resembles "Bat Boy" of Weekly World News fame!

Posted by: alc0f7 | May 22, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Waxman goes to my synagogue. I always remember him from when I was a young boy and he would sit front and center and weep during the Rosh Hashana sermon. Hey, its New Years man! CHEER THE F UP!

Posted by: SkinsInSichuan | May 22, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm old enough to remember when "cap and trade" was a pretty radical and "conservative" market-based alternative to traditional command and control regulation. So I find the irony irresistable that now we have the Democrat's Democrat, Henry Waxman, spearheading the passage of a market-based approach to greenhouse gas reduction, and we now have Republicans, who 2 decades ago championed approaches like cap and trade, just opposed flat out to any regulation and reduction in greenhouse gases. This shift exemplifies how Democrats have managed to capture the center (even the center-right in this case) and Republicans have marginalized themselves at the extreme right. Someone should make a bigger point of this, like you Ezra!

Posted by: rdbacon66 | May 22, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

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