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DINGELL DEFEATS WAXMAN… Tim Fernholz of the Prospect has some sad news:

At least two people who would know (blind quotes suck but that’s the way of the world) don’t expect the Waxman challenge to Dingell at the Energy committee to get anywhere, in part because the last two classes of new representatives are more conservative on the whole than other members and will support the incumbent. The leadership hopes that it won’t come to a vote, because Waxman, who is more closely identified with Pelosi (who isn’t taking a position on the challenge) will drop out when he realizes he doesn’t have the votes.

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.

Dingell claims that he deserves the chairmanship because of his deep knowledge of and connections to the auto industry. But all Dingell has done with that knowledge/those connections is stand by and watch as the industry has driven itself into the ground. In fact, Dingell held the industry’s hand the whole way. I’m not sure why he demands such respect, nor why anyone should consider his supposed qualifications as valid any longer.

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