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The Big Bad Boogeyman

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The LA Times misses several boats

Republicans are ringing alarms about what the House would be like if the GOP lost control: a throwback to unreconstructed liberalism, big-government activism, tax increases and weak-kneed defense. They point with Halloween horror to the likely line-up of Democratic committee chairmen, including Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and other liberal old-timers.

But, like Shuler, many of the Democratic candidates most likely to be elected are cut from a different cloth. Sixteen of them have been endorsed by the Blue Dogs, a coalition of conservative Democrats. Several of them used to be Republicans. Shuler was recruited to run as a Republican a few years ago but opted not to.

With so many conservative-leaning candidates at the forefront of the Democratic effort, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has, at least for now, stuck to a minimalist agenda that steers clear of grand, liberal ambitions.

Instead, Democratic leaders are focusing – and almost all serious Democratic candidates are campaigning on – a limited agenda that includes raising the minimum wage, repealing tax breaks for oil companies, restoring college-tuition tax breaks, cutting Medicare drug costs and other plans they believe could draw bipartisan support.

"Grand liberal ambitions?"  What, you mean nobody is screaming "woo hoo, bigger government" and "let's surrender to Al-Quaeda, they're scary?" Because you know, those are at the top of the unpublished Official Liberal Agenda.

It is due to the fact that word "liberal" has been so demonized, so thoroughly mischaracterized and redefined by right-wing extremists that articles like this get written.   The premise seems to be that it will be the triumph of conservative values that could take the House for the Democrats, but power will be turned over to flaming liberal committee chairs.

If many of the "blue dogs" get elected it is not by virtue of the popularity of their "values," it's because they live (and appeal to voters) in states where the pendulum is more likely to swing from one party to another at a moment when the GOP is remarkably unpopular, and it doesn't take tremendous powers of observation to figure that out.   

The author refers to Henry Waxman as "an unapologetic liberal of an older generation," as if he's a broken down 8-track or something.  Look at Henry Waxman's web page.  If there's anyone who has been keeping his eye on the ball during the past six years and staying current with where the country ought to be despite the distractions of the emotional kindergartners who actually run the country, it's Henry Waxman:

  • Democratic Medicare Drug Reforms Could Save Seniors Billions of Dollars   —  you know, by allowing the government to negotiate drug prices.  In strict violation of the "raise taxes at all time" line item of the Official Liberal Agenda.
  • Democratic Truth Squad Introduces 'Clean Contracting Act' — as ranking member of the Committee on Government Reform, Waxman wants to know where all the money went:  "Contracts collectively worth over $762 billion have been plagued by significant waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement under the Bush Administration."  Probably wants to get it all back just to blow it on weed.
  • Homeland Security Contracts Waste Hundreds of Millions of Taxpayer Dollars — Henry released a comprehensive report saying that Joe Lieberman's baby, the Department of Homeland Security, has engaged in "pervasive mismanagement and waste. According to the report, noncompetitive contracts have soared over 700% in just three years, and the total value of the Department’s wasteful contracts exceeds $34 billion." Yet another reason to be happy that Joe Lieberman boasts that a victory for him would return him to the chairmanship of the Homeland Security panel.
  • Iraq Reconstruction Efforts — Acording to a new report by the GAO there are "a record $3.5 billion in questioned and unsupported contractor charges in Iraq."  Henry had to get special dispensation fro the Vast Liberal Conspiracy to engage in this fiscal responsibility, likewise his call to urge Dennis Hastert to hold hearings on the increased global terrorist threat.  Needless to say, we almost tore hiscard up over that one.

The article is so ill-informed, so thoroughly misguided as to be absurd.   The goals that Henry Waxman is pursuing are all laudable objectives that should be the goal of any adult tasked with Congressional oversight regardless of party. And if the more conservative members of the party are more likely to be susceptible to taking money from lobbyists and shirk this responsibility it doesn't make them "centrists," it makes them crooks.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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