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How Waxman Left the Left -- and Why They Should Return the Favor

Congressman Henry Waxman claims to champion the interests of liberals and the left. One townhall meeting at the Westside Pavilion in late 2007 should cause constituents to challenge that assumption.

When Congressman Henry Waxman (D-33rd, Beverly Hills, South Bay) was running the Westside during the previous decade, he never received less than 60% of the vote. In 2008, he ran unopposed by a major party. In 2010, Chuck Wilkerson sponsored a spirited campaign, complete with embarrassing footage of Waxman openly acknowledging his ignorance about key portions of his Cap and Trade Bill. Republicans swept the House, increased their numbers in the Senate, but Waxman survived.

Waxman raises nothing but rage and hackles for conservative and libertarian voters. Apparenlty, some Democrats are not too thrilled with the Congressman, either, which may explain why the Daily Bruin and the Santa Monica Daily Press tepidly endorsed his 2012 reelection. Progressives and outspoken leftists have expressed piquant outrage toward this man, too. The calumny which Waxman weathered at a 2007 townhall meeting dominated by WeAreChangeLA  provides an ample example of the movement’s disdain for the Congressman.

The day after Christmas, 2007: Waxman spoke at the Westside Pavilion. Some of the members belonged to the “9-11 Truth” movement, claiming that the attacks on the World Trade Center were an “inside job”. December 26, also known as “Boxing Day” in Canada, witnessed one hundred plus members in the Westside Pavilion in fighting form, pummeling Waxman left and right.

Predictably, the audience wanted impeachment President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The Bush administration’s domestic wiretapping, the invasive Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the looming girth of Big Government, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan offended voters left and right, both limited government and progressive advocates alike. Instead of respecting their concerns, Waxman gave the audience a twelfth-grade lecture on the impeachment process. As always, he blamed the Republicans for gumming up the works. Then again, he failed to point out that President George W. Bush successfully pushed for a troop surge in Iraq that year with support from new Democratic majorities in Congress.

Peter Thottam, a Westside lawyer, tore Waxman up:

 “I met with you in July, and we got the same load of crap the last time” about impeaching Bush. Outlining his credentials as an attorney, Thottam argued that there was “clear and convincing” evidence for impeachment. The previous year,  liberal Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) had submitted a resolution for a trial, which failed by only 26 votes. “Nothing less than the integrity of this government is at stake,” Thottam continued. If Clinton could be impeached for perjury, Thottam asserted, then Bush definitely deserved to be put on trial. Finally, he shouted at the bedeviled Congressman: “Show some spine!”

The next question touched on Congresswoman Jane Harman’s (D-South Bay, ret.) bill HR-1955, which authorized extended supervision of suspected domestic terrorists, offensively including the “9-11 Truth Commission”. Waxman voted for that bill, and the audience wanted to know why. This is what he had to say:

 “I wish someone had contacted me about that bill. It was on the suspension calendar for non-controversial bills.”

Then:

“I had no reason not to vote for the bill.”

The audience chanted back: “Did you read it? Did you read the bill?”

His response: “I did not know that it was a controversial bill. I do not read every bill.”

Waxman admitted in an open forum on camera in a townhall meeting that he had no reason not to vote for a bill that he did not even read. Unbelievable.

Another member asked:

“If you don’t serve our interests, whose interests do you serve?” followed by a demand for the Congressman to get some backbone, to show some spine. He then hammered him for going after steroid abuse in baseball instead of more pressing issues. Defending his investigations, Waxman meekly claimed his concern about children using steroids because their heroes, major league sports figures, were using the drug. His concern is forever repudiated in one telling scene from “Bigger, Faster, Stronger”, in which the Congressman admitted that he did not know the legal drinking age or the medical exceptions for steroids.

Judging from his brief appearance at the Westside Pavilion, Congressman Waxman was not taking his own left-wing constituents seriously. Until the 2012 election, he could take them for granted because if they did not vote for him, they would either endorse a minority candidate who had no chance of winning, or just sit out the election.

Waxman brazenly admitted that he does not read his own or other colleagues’ legislation. He investigated issues of no interest to voters left or right, or even of interest to himself. If he will not "show some spine" on pressing miliary and fiscal issue, then no doubt this man has no business being in office.

A future candidate  could claim: “I would have impeached President Bush.” The candidate could corral progressive votes, advocating for reductions of police power and a reduced American military, one focused on defending this country instead of invading other countries. The threat of such a challenger should quicken the Congressman to measure his days and pursue serious issues (fiscal cliff, veterans affairs) instead of boutique bills and marginal resolutions.

As Mr. Thottam asserted: "Nothing less than the integrity [both legal and financial] of this government is at stake."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Raul Marquez December 07, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Do you really think that anyone in government cares about anything except themselves? Politics is not a field for truth-tellers.
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
"Get the wrong people to do the right things." -- Milton Friedman. We tell them the truth, they do what they are told, or they get "told" at the polls.
Bad Teacher December 10, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Henry Taxman that is all the education one needs.

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