Henry Waxman, Bipartisan Champion

by Jonah Goldberg

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, a diminutive Democratic giant whose 40 years in the House produced some of the most important legislation of the era, will announce on Thursday that he is retiring at the end of the year.

Mr. Waxman, 74, joins the growing list of House members who are calling it quits, many in disappointment over the partisanship and ineffectiveness of a Congress that may end up as the least productive in history.

“It’s been frustrating because of the extremism of Tea Party Republicans,” Mr. Waxman said in an interview on Wednesday. “Nothing seems to be happening.”

I can certainly understand that Henry Waxman would find it frustrating to work in a Republican-controlled House with a heavy dose of tea partiers in it (to which I say, “Yay, tea partiers!”). But the suggestion that Henry Waxman is leaving because of a lack of bipartisanship is crazy talk. He isn’t leaving because of a lack of bipartisanship, he’s leaving because of a lack of power. When he had power, he was a ruthless, mean-spirited, hyper-partisan ideologue. That’s the thing. When liberal Democrats are running everything, the lack of bipartisanship is a trifling concern. When they can’t have their way, the system itself is broken.