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.”
Ah, yes, the ‘Republican obstructionism’ canard is the reason why he’s retiring. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that he was, as the New York Times so nicely put it, “instrumental in writing” the president’s signature health care law.
Actually, apparently not:
He has been unapologetic about the health care law during its troubled rollout in the fall, and he said that he was confident it would survive and that its use as a political weapon would diminish.
“I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “I think it’s a terrific piece of legislation.”
Tell that to the millions of Americans who’ve lost their doctors and health insurance plans. Would those American families say the Affordable Care Act is “a terrific piece of legislation?” No, I don't think so. Oh, and while you’re at it, read this piece about how Moody’s recently downgraded the health insurance industry’s outlook from "stable" to “negative” citing -- you guessed it -- Obamacare. A “terrific” law, indeed.
Incidentally, now that many House Democrats are opting to retire rather than seek re-election, has the Democratic Party fully given up on putting the Speaker’s gavel back into the hands of Ms. Pelosi? Politico has a piece out today that contends that, why yes, that certainly seems to be the case:
“There is no question that Democratic donors are shifting towards the Senate in 2014. They will continue to support Nancy, but everyone agrees that the emphasis is going to be on the Senate,” said Joe Cotchett, a prominent San Francisco trial attorney and friend of Pelosi’s who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party candidates and causes. “When you see people like [longtime California Democratic Rep.] George Miller announcing that they are not running again, you know where the money will be going.”
“…[U]nless we have a George Washington Bridge fiasco in the House,” he added, referring to the traffic scandal that has engulfed Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, “control is not going to change.”
Smart. Better to spend those dollars fighting to keep the upper chamber blue than misappropriating funds on a lost cause, right? And given how unpopular the president’s boondoggle is becoming, red state Senate Democrats are going to need all the funds they can get.