Heavenly Day-- Waxman Defeats Dingell: Blue Dogs Go Down To Disastrous Defeat
Yes we can! Waxman vanquishes the filthy Blue Dogs!
I hope this isn't too inside baseball for everybody. If it is, just skip down to the nice song at the bottom. It's been somewhat drowned out by the intensity of the faux battle over Joe Lieberman's Homeland Security Committee chair, but there has been another battle in Congress pitting a progressive against a... non-progressive. John Dingell, the longest serving member of Congress, has been the auto industry's #1 shill in the House. The $897,915 he's taken from the industry in legalized bribes is more than any other member of Congress besides McCain and when you only count the auto manufacturers, Dingell's $625,725 in contributions is more than the #2 and #3 recipients combined. They like him; he does whatever they want-- and when they take the heads of the Big 3 out behind the barn, they should drag Dingell out back with them.
Yeah, yeah... that'll never happen... but... this morning the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee gave Dingell a stinging rebuke by voting 25-22 to recommend making Henry Waxman chairman of the powerful Energy & Commerce Committee, which Dingell has used to work with the Bush Regime and the car manufacturers in preventing reasonable increases in CAFE standards for automobiles. Progressives generally lined up behind Waxman and Dingell was championed by the Blue Dogs, New Dems and generally reactionary members from the Republican Wing of the Democratic Party (and members from his home state, Michigan). Most of the more corrupt members of the Congressional Black Caucus are also supporting Dingell. Tomorrow the full House will elect the chairmen of that committee (plus Appropriations, Financial Services, and Ways & Means.
Waxman, D-Calif., has long clashed with Dingell by pushing for stronger environmental laws and is expected to draw support from fellow liberals. Waxman, who is currently chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is aligned with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.
Pelosi has remained publicly neutral in the race for the Energy and Commerce panel chairmanship, but many Democrats doubt Waxman would have attempted the challenge without her tacit support.
Some Democrats have expressed concern that ousting Dingell would upset the seniority system and divide the caucus at a moment when the party has won the White House and cemented its hold on Congress.
Votes in the Steering Committee are conducted by secret ballot.
Democrats said the last time the Steering Committee declined to nominate the top Democrat on a committee to remain in that position was in 1996, when Henry B. Gonzalez of Texas was rejected as ranking member of the Banking panel.
The full caucus overturned that decision.
Although there are 4 members not currently on the Steering Committee (the 4 chairs mentioned above who need to be elected), these are the members:
Speaker, Steering & Policy Chair Nancy Pelosi
Steering Co-Chair Rosa DeLauro
Policy Co-Chair George Miller
Vice Chair Marion Berry
Vice Chair Hilda Solis
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
Majority Whip James Clyburn
Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson
Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Xavier Becerra
DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen
Organization, Study and Review Chair Michael Capuano
Senior Chief Deputy Whip John Lewis
Chief Deputy Whip G.K. Butterfield
Chief Deputy Whip Joseph Crowley
Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette
Chief Deputy Whip Ed Pastor
Chief Deputy Whip Jan Schakowsky
Chief Deputy Whip John Tanner
Chief Deputy Whip Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chief Deputy Whip Maxine Waters
Budget Chair John Spratt
Rules Chair Louise Slaughter
Add to that two freshmen, Debbie Halvorson and Jared Polis, and the 12 regional whips:
Jan Schakowsky (she only has one vote, even though she's on the list twice)
Eddie Bernice Johnson
OK, so what happens tomorrow. Pelosi had control over the Steering Committee (barely) but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the full caucus swings with the Blue Dogs and sticks with Dingell. Something to look forward to tomorrow... more with trepidation than with optimism. [Not such a Heavenly Day for the filthy reactionary Blue Dogs-- Waxman won the chairmanship away from Dingell as the myth of Blue Dog power crumbled.]
Because I used to work at a record company I still get tons of demos from aspiring artists. It makes no sense because "used to" means "now I'm a blogger and I don't do music biz anymore." Most of the demos aren't very good and I rarely stick them up at DWT or pass them along to the Late Night Music Club. Yesterday, however, a guy in Montana, Patrick Dwyer, sent me this simple performance YouTube he made of himself singing a Patty Griffin classic, "Heavenly Day." What do you think? Should I send this fella to meet some A&R guys?