The Interests Manifest

Kevin Drum, commenting on a report that Rep. Dingell is poised to defeat Rep. Waxman’s challenge for Chairmanship of the Energy committee (bad news):

Dingell, who has been in the House for over 50 years, is a caretaker of Detroit’s interests and an impediment to bold action on climate change. It’s a shame that he’ll be chair of the Committee on Energy and Commerce during the Obama Administration.

You would think that as the House gets more and more Democratic, liberal priorities would get a stronger hearing. But every blue district in the country is already held by a Democrat. At this point, the DCCC is using conservative and moderate Democratic challengers to pick off seats in red areas. The paradoxical effect is that as the Democratic caucus grows more powerful, it also grows more conservative.

All the more reason why it’s important health care reform start with Congress. Obama has already stated his first priority will the financial crisis, his second stated priority will be “energy independence”, and health care reform taking the bronze. If Congress produces a health reform bill ready for Obama’s signature, Obama can invest his political capital extracting votes from conservative Democrats and (the dwindling) reality-based House Republicans to address climate change.


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