I'm surprised, given the amount of attention foisted on the US auto industry at the moment, how few people are actually watching the Dingell versus Waxman dogfight over the Chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee. E&C is the policy-making committee that will probably have jurisdiction over a good amount of the rule-making around whatever bailout happens, since it handles CAFE standards, industrial regulation, etc. So whether it goes to the super-green but sensible Henry Waxman or the more traditional John Dingell matters quite a bit.
It's very hard to tell what's going on with the conflict. Since it's secret ballot, certain members are probably promising their vote to both, and others are lying about who they will vote for. What makes it even more difficult to suss out is that Dingell is waging his campaign through the media, and Waxman is not.
Waxman is an effective, green progressive and he knows how to get things done. Dingel is an elder who is discredited by his relationship with the auto industry and the NRA. If pragmatic change rather than milquetoast status quo bipartisanship is what people voted for, this is where the action is.
Waxman is the right guy to be in charge of these things as we deal with this economic/energy crisis. Whatever threats there may or may not be to the seniority system by putting Waxman in charge pale in comparison to the necessity to have the House working properly on these issues.
I couldn't agree with Matt and Digby more. Let's go Waxman.
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