« A tale of two cities - and two campaigns |
Blog Home Page
| WaPo endorses Obama »
October 17, 2008
Waxman 'Oversight' overlooks much
No time to do the people's business when partisan politics calls . This is the mantra of Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman who uses the committee he heads - the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform - to bludgeon businessmen, entire industries, and Republicans.
Instead of focusing on the travails of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have run amok and helped put the America economy in the pits, Waxman focuses his committee's time on partisan attacks on one GOP donor accused of overcharging the Pentagon.
His history of presiding over show trials with very little to show for his efforts prompted a National Review article earlier in the year highlighting his lack of success. By conventional measures, this may be true. His "investigations" all too often turn out to be witch hunts - much sound and fury with few practical results. However, politically, it helps him quite a bit (he represents the district encompassing Beverly Hills) and certainly helps the broader Democratic party.
From the National Review:
The chairman of that committee is the only person in Congress who has unilateral power to issue subpoenas without a committee vote. And the panel’s purview is nearly limitless: If something has a potential impact on federal policy, Waxman can call hearings and investigate it. He is known for his brutal and relentless questioning style. Once he has ensnared his prey. he requires witnesses to testify under oath so that, if there’s even a whiff of imperfect recollection, his staff — which features some of the most dogged and experienced operatives on Capitol Hill — is likely to sniff it out, exposing witnesses to perjury charges. What are the chances of Waxman buckling down and doing a good job in overseeing wasteful government spending? About as good as a Democrat being brought up on charges for one of his show trials.
As the first year of the first Democratic-controlled Congress in twelve years comes to a close, Democrats are busy pointing fingers for their notable failures. Funding for the war is still intact; the Democrats’ ambitious reform agenda has been stymied; the leadership has been unable to pass even basic appropriations bills in a timely fashion. But while Democrats are angry at Pelosi and Reid, few seem to have taken note of the fact that Waxman’s committee has been a bust as well. Given his fearsome reputation, expectations were high that he could use his position to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire. Yet even with virtually unchecked power, Waxman was able to do little more than generate splashy press coverage and badger the administration, with meager results.