What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

CNN is reporting that Henry Waxman, a favorite among environmentalists, is challenging John Dingell for Chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  I could hardly sum up the current challenges of our country more succinctly than "Energy and Commerce" and it would be great to have a more easily recognizable Progressive in charge of this committee.

John Dingell is from Dearborn, MI and is widely considered to be friendly to the automobile industry.  This is an industry that has essentially dismantled public transportation, blocked many reasonable proposals to increase energy efficiency, and is losing badly in the current economic environment.  Then again, the auto industry is probably one of the largest remaining unionized workplaces in the country and John Dingell, despite his supposed ties to the industry, has been given ratings of 94 and 100% by League of Conservation Voters for the past two House sessions.

I understand that there are many subtleties not captured in the LCV rating.  For example, Dingell may have voted "correctly" in all of the environmentally-related votes in the House, but how many bills were watered down before they left his committee?  How many bills were killed outright because they weren't friendly enough to the auto industry?  These questions plague me.

I think that we're at a critical moment with regards to energy policy in this country.  I also believe that establishing a successful Green Collar economy is a way to solve several ills simultaneously:  energy dependence, lack of scientific jobs available in this country, a way to rejuvenate the innovation and manufacturing sectors of our economy, and combat pollution associated with fossil fuel burning.

So, it's Waxman for me.  But what do you think?  Is it time to throw put our shoulders into this and start a campaign to get him voted in?

Links in the diary:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/200 8/11/05/waxman-working-to-oust-dingell/

http://capwiz.com/lcv/bio/keyvotes/?id=3 29&congress=1102&lvl=C

Tags: 2008, commerce, dingell, Energy, Waxman (all tags)

Comments

22 Comments

Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Blame Dingell for CAFE standards not having been raised in the past and not having been raised as high as they should have been just recently and previous times. He also stalled on a number of other environmental and safety issues that the auto industry was against. Waxman all the way.

by Quinton 2008-11-06 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Does it change your opinion at all that the auto industry is so heavily unionized?  What if modernization means cutting things like pensions, benefits, and healthcare coverage?

by the mollusk 2008-11-06 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

If they don't build fuel efficient cars there won't be any jobs at all after they go bankrupt - and we won't much like the planet if we don't do something about fuel efficiency and global warming either. Government funds can be made available to assist them in doing so. There's no reason that building better cars has to hurt jobs or benefits.

by Quinton 2008-11-06 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Dingell would argue that he has no problem with raising fuel economy standards as part of a comprehensive energy plan, but that he opposes efforts to scapegoat the auto industry by raising CAFE standards as a stand-alone quick fix every time Washington wants to look like it is doing something about energy independence.  

by Steve M 2008-11-06 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Fair point that raising CAFE standards shouldn't be the only thing we do. Large-scale comprehensive changes will be needed to put us on the path to energy independence and to deal with climate change.

by Quinton 2008-11-06 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Obama's energy plan includes not only tougher fuel economy standards, but economic assistance to the auto companies to allow them to retool and develop vehicles that will be better for the environment and more competitive with foreign manufacturers.  So it's a fair tradeoff and one that Detroit will probably be happy to take.

by Steve M 2008-11-06 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

CAFE does not work.  Even if Democrats raise CAFE to 50 MPG it would take at least 14 years before the full auto fleet would be replaced.  We are looking at this issue the wrong way (supply v. demand)  Americans consumers bought SUVs and trucks in high numbers and increasing CAFE does nothing to change consumer habits.  The rising price of gas just proves that point, the only time people start demanding more fuel efficient cars are when gas prices are higher, and I believe it was Dingell who told people that the most effective way to reduce oil use in vehicles is to increase the cost of oil.  Besides I would take an American Auto Industry that employs hundreds of thousands of middle class Americans any day over the Big Oil.  

by ares08 2008-11-06 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

I thought Waxman was already chair of an important committee.  Is obama trying to purge all the Democrats who Supported the Clintons out of positions of power?  hmm.....

by karajan72 2008-11-06 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

What are your reasons for supporting John Dingell for this position?

by the mollusk 2008-11-06 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

John Dingell is the longest serving member of the House..i think in history.  No one knows energy and natural resource issues better than Dingell.  I really don't think most members of the House are gonna stand for Dingell losing his chairmanship.  The guy is an institution.  Even if he did support HIllary in the primaries...Obama shouldn't try to get his supporters to strip him of his chairmanship for political retribution. It looks like Obama is trying to get loyalists in every chairmanship in the House.  

by karajan72 2008-11-06 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Do you think his ties to the auto industry could potentially hurt the progress that needs to be made on energy and commerce?  I don't have the information at hand, but I seem to recall that he was an itinerant voice against raising CAFE standards, etc.  Also, does being the longest-serving member actually make him more qualified?  Seems like there have been a lot of missed opportunities to update our energy infrastructure over the past few decades.  Just curious.

by the mollusk 2008-11-06 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

No challenge we face is as great as the global warming challenge, and Dingell has steadfastly stood in the way of progress on this issue.  This way, way trasncends the long-over and not-really-that-consequential primary fight between Clinton and Obama.  It doesn't appear that Waxman's move was known about by Obama or Pelosi, though I hope they support him, because we're not going to get a good global warming bill out of the House as long as Dingell chairs Energy & Commerce.

by lorax 2008-11-06 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

How exactly has Dingell stood in the way of progress on fighting global warming?  If CAFE is the issue, he just passed a law that increases it by 40%.  I just read his website and the guy basically wrote all the enviro legislation of the last 30 years (endangered species, NEPA, Superfund, safe drinking water, no small matters)

Besides, what is really needed to combat global warming is to stop greenhouse gas emissions across the board, not just on autos, and according to his website Dingell wants a Cap and Trade Bill to do it.  I don't see what the problem with keeping Dingell, who has one of the best environmental records in the Congress, as Chair of Energy and Commerce.  

by ares08 2008-11-06 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Why are you trying to re-fight the primaries? This has to do with Waxman and the house leadership wanting to be able to do more about climate change and Dingell being a huge problem in this area. There's no reason to drag Obama into the matter with no evidence that he has encouraged Waxman to challenge Dingell or that he even knew about it. That said, if Obama did encourage it I'm glad. Climate change and alternative energy are serious things and Dingell hasn't been on the progressive side of dealing with the problem, thus he needs to either get on board or get out of the way.

by Quinton 2008-11-06 03:07PM | 0 recs
OMG, did Dingell support Clinton, too?

That makes two good reasons to dump him.

Not that that is significant, though, really.

Waxman is a LIVING GOD.  (That's the smallest hyperbole in history.)  Without knowing anything at all about Dingell, Waxman is a good choice for any of the important chair position.  In fact, if we could clone him, we could swap him out for a host of asshole Democratic congressmen.

by Dumbo 2008-11-06 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Obama has absolutely no say or influence in how the House organizes itself. This is strictly a power play among 2 powerful members.

by wolff109 2008-11-06 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

Recced for attempting to start a very important debate that we as progressives will need to have with ourselves.

by hello world 2008-11-06 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

now more than ever we need an effective legislator with the proven ability to meet the complex issues facing this nation.  Waxman is not a leader. John Dingell is one of the greatest legislative leaders in this nations history. Just look at some of Dingell's achievements for the working men and women of our nation:

*National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act

*Pacific Northwest Electric Power, Planning and Conservation Act (environmental provisions)

*Marine Mammal Protection Act

*Anadromous Fish Act
*Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

*Community Environmental Response Facilitation Act, 1992

*Drinking Water Security and Safety, Title IV of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism of 2001, passed House.

*Electric Consumer Protection Act of 1986

Rep Waxman attempted power grab is nothing more than an attempt to sow dissension during a period in which Democrats should be working together.

Understand this.  Waxman is more interested in power than progress.

Waxman does not have the accomplishments needed to help guide health care legislation or protect our environment.

by Fez Whatley 2008-11-06 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

ok, I should have read further, someone posted some of the same stuff as me.  Sorry.  But it seems like Dingell is seriously good at this and I for one did not work my ass off to get Obama elected to see Democrats start fighting with other Democrats like this.  Waxman should just let it be.  

by ares08 2008-11-06 06:14PM | 0 recs
I endorse Waxman.

And I'll tell you guys something else -- this is not the kind of thing you can sit on.  If we want to have any input into the committee assignments, we have to make our voice heard NOW, because these things always become set in stone within a week or two after the election.  

I remember two years ago when so many of us were pissed off at DLC dems trying to foist Steny Hoyer into the leadership position.  

by Dumbo 2008-11-06 04:17PM | 0 recs
Re: I endorse Waxman.

You endorse Waxman?  Well thats good enough for me. Lets dump someone who has given 50 years of his life fighting for America's working men and women.

You tipped the balance with your endorsement of Waxman.  

Game over for dingell.

by Fez Whatley 2008-11-08 05:25AM | 0 recs
Re: What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

With the mess this republican administration has gotten us into, We need someone with proven leadership and the experience to get us out of this mess. Dingell is a fighter for the working men and women of not only his district, but our country. We have lost too many blue-collar jobs to outsourcing. John Dingell will continue to fight for middle-class jobs that are needed to get this economy moving again.

by Cosmo911 2008-11-06 06:16PM | 0 recs

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