If the House Democrats pull this off, it will be a major spanking of the Blue Dogs:
By a three-vote margin, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee today recommended that Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman be given the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, but a final decision will most likely be made by the full Democratic Caucus Thursday. The Steering Committee voted 25-22 in favor of Waxman to replace Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, according to lawmakers leaving the meeting.
And the Blue Dogs know it:
Dingell’s supporters said they are not worried by the vote of the Steering panel, which they say is stocked with left-leaning members who do not represent the broader makeup of Democratic caucus.
“If you look at the makeup of that committee in terms of geography and political leanings, this is not the same dynamic as our whole caucus,” said Jim Matheson , D-Utah, who is part of a team working the phones for Dingell, D-Mich.
The Steering Committee left three other chairs unresolved — Ways and Means (Rangel), Financial Services (Frank) and Appropriations (Obey).
Dingell has been a one-man stonewall against stronger clean air and fuel-efficiency laws, hero of the Blue Dogs. Waxman is a genuine progressive who appears to have the backing of Pelosi and the California delegation.
Whereas the Senate opted for the "changiness" of kumbayah optics and left Bush collaborator Lieberman in his Homeland Security chair, the House leadership seems to be bravely pushing for actual "change."
As one wag put it, "Dingell should have just endorsed McCain if he wanted to keep his gavel."