MIAMI, January 31, 2014 — After 40 years in Congress, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman of Los Angeles has decided to leave behind the poisonous climate he helped foster.
Waxman entered the House in 1974 during the Democratic anti-Nixon wave. Democrats had held the House since 1954, and Waxman became used to getting his way. His wealthy district included Beverly Hills, Malibu and Bel Air. An ardent liberal, he received millions of Hollywood campaign dollars. This gave him a safe seat, preventing him from ever having to debate political opponents, hold town hall meetings, or respond to ordinary citizen concerns from people who disagreed with him.
Waxman wielded his absolute power with little apparent restraint. Environmentalism was one of his main passions. He was able to push extreme environmental job-killing measures because his district was unaffected by the damage those regulations caused.
Waxman is in good health, making his motive for leaving an obvious one.
Due to redistricting by Republican governors in 2010, Democrats had little chance of retaking the House in 2014. Rising anger over Obamacare has killed the small chance of victory that remained. Democrats know this, and do not want to face angry voters. Some would rather retire than be fired. Others would rather not spend months being attacked for supporting unpopular Obama policies, especially the Affordable Care Act. Waxman was in no danger of losing his seat, and most likely would not have had to spend one dollar to defend himself. Waxman’s problem is that many other Democrats are not lucky enough to have safe seats, and he did not want to stay mired in the minority with zero governing ability.
Waxman was a pit bull, a bully, and a fierce partisan. He enjoyed demonizing people who saw the world differently from him. He was unable to distinguish opponents from enemies. His staff in recent years was known to be rude and unprofessional, keeping the congressman from engaging in meetings with anybody who did not share his prejudices on a wide range of issues.
Upon retiring, Waxman said, “It’s been frustrating because of the extremism of Tea Party Republicans.”
What he meant was that conservative citizens participating in the political process legally and peacefully were an impediment to iron-fisted rule. Waxman passionately defended the right of IRS agents to target tea party organizations for the greater good. He accused tea party people of being racist and violent. Waxman stayed silent when Occupy Wall Street, a leftist movement actually rooted in real violence, wreaked havoc nationwide.
Waxman was one of the key authors of Obamacare and is now bailing before it crashes. He is one of the driving forces behind EPA regulations that have crippled businesses including small family farms.
Waxman frequently showed more compassion for trees and animals than for human beings. While many liberals in Congress vote for regulations that cripple their own constituents, Waxman escaped scrutiny because of the extreme wealth in his district. Beverly Hills was never affected by his policies. Middle Americans he never met were the victims of his social justice crusades.
If there is anything Waxman should be most remembered for, it would be his poisoning the political climate. Long before President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, the NSA, and IRS hatchet woman Lois Lerner began spying on Americans, Waxman had his own spy ring. To attend one of the few functions he spoke at required registration. Every registrant was subjected to an intrusive background check. Conservatives were targeted for harassment before the events began. In his later years he had conservative bloggers and activists targeted with threats of physical violence.
Waxman hated half the country, and then wondered why the country became so fractured.
The saddest aspect of Waxman’s tenure centered around his Judaism. While he claimed to be a proud Jew and supporter of Israel, he became one of many liberal Jews who turned out to be liberal first and Jewish second. When President Obama yanked the leash, Waxman heeled and obeyed. By giving Obama cover in the Jewish community, Waxman could focus on what liberal Jews truly care about: pro-choice abortion views, gay marriage support, and environmental extremism based on pseudo-science. Social issues were Waxman’s Jewish values. Iran threatened Israel with obliteration, Obama backed loosening Iranian sanctions, and the normally yapping Waxman was neutered.
Waxman remained defiant to the end, saying, “I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act. I think it’s a terrific piece of legislation.”
As a congressman, Waxman was never subjected to the law himself. He claimed he had a “similar” plan in the same way that Beverly Hills is similar to Compton because both are in Los Angeles. He repeatedly demanded higher taxes for wealthy Americans while securing tax breaks to exempt Hollywood studios from paying them. This was ideological bigotry, with high taxes for middle class Republicans while billionaire liberals skated.
While there will be glowing tributes to Waxman for his lifetime of service, it would be a mistake to lionize him just for being old and refusing to leave a job in a timely manner. He was a destructive force who directly contributed to the corrosive society that America has become. His lack of regard, civility and decency toward conservative Republicans and his insistence on treating opponents as enemies made him dangerous. He was mendacious, a claim he would wear with pride.
Now he gets to leave like Snagglepuss, exit stage (far) left. His pension is safe, which is more than can be said for the millions of Americans struggling while he lived high on the hog.
The American system of government is better for his departure.
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