Henry Waxman

Washington Is Suffering from a Naive Nostalgia for Old-School Political Bosses

The retiring Congressional stars show how much Washington needs free agents

Three retiring Capitol Hill superstars show that we need free agents, not just strong parties.

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No living member of Congress has accomplished as much as he has.

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President Obama has a credibility problem. He has compromised so often that Republicans simply don't believe that he'll sustain his opposition to anything, as this exchange attests: Rep.

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Last month, Henry Waxman and Ed Markey summoned the chairmen of the world's five big oil companies to testify before Congress. The execs from Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron spent much of their time trying to distance themselves from BP. We wouldn't have poisoned the Gulf the way BP did, they insisted. Unfortunately for them, Waxman and Markey weren't buying it, and noted that all the other oil companies had the exact same error-filled spill-response plans that BP did.

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Earlier today, the chairmen of the world's five biggest oil companies went before the House energy committee to testify about the Gulf spill. Naturally, the CEOs from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell all wanted to put as much distance as possible between themselves and BP, protesting that they would've never handled this mess so poorly. But Henry Waxman and Ed Markey weren't buying it: Mr. Markey added: “In preparation for this hearing, the committee reviewed the oil spill safety response plans for all of the companies here today.

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As if BP wasn't in enough trouble, the company now has Henry Waxman on its case. Waxman has long been one of the House's a most brutal investigators—back in the '90s, he and his staff dredged up those damning Big Tobacco documents showing that cigarette manufacturers had lied about their products for decades.

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Last week I suggested that I became interested in writing about the Middle East because the left's embrace, or semi-embrace, of the Walt-Mearsheimer argument was changing the American political discourse in disconcerting ways. Here's a recent example. A few days ago, Democratic Congressional candidate Marcy Winograd attacked Reps.

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This is the final installment of a five-part series explaining, in remarkable detail, how Obama and the Democrats came to pass health care reform. (Click here to read parts one, two, three, and four. And click here to subscribe to TNR.) Mass. Panic Nancy Pelosi was in the Old Executive Office Building when one of her advisers gave her a message: Obama wanted her next door, in the White House. Martha Coakley was about to lose the election for Ted Kennedy’s old seat and, with it, the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority. Obama had summoned Harry Reid, too, and together they discussed options.

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How They Did It

When the president and his closest advisers huddled in the Oval Office last August, they had every reason to panic. Their signature piece of legislation, comprehensive health care reform, was mired in the Senate Finance Committee and the public was souring on it. Unemployment was on the march, and all this talk about preexisting conditions and insurance exchanges barely registered above the Fox News pundits screaming, “Death panel!” Suddenly, health care reform was under attack everywhere—even in the West Wing. All week, the group had debated whether to scale back the reform effort.

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Dej ja vu all over again: We're a day away from a House vote on health care reform and success, once again, may hinge on a deal with Democrats who oppose abortion rights. As you know, Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak has said he can't vote for the senate health care bill because, at least in his view, it doesn't sufficiently restrict abortion.

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