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Ron Suskind proves Frank Rich's point that "[e]lections may come and go, but Washington remains incorrigible. Not even voters delivering a clear message can topple the town's conventional wisdom once it has been set in the stone of punditry."

Suskind writes

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), the soon-to-be chairman of the Government Reform Committee, is a classic pit bull. He has dreamed of subpoenas -- issuing them, and placing witnesses under oath -- for 12 years.... Democrats should be able to both investigate and lead, but it will take an embrace of Republican-style discipline (hardly a Democratic strong suit), an appreciation for deferred gratification (think inauguration day, January 2009) and a shrewd division of labor between pit bulls and show horses.

You'd think of all people, Ron Suskind who has worked so hard to uncover the malfeasance and misfeasance of the Bush administration, would have better understanding of the critical need for information gathering, as Waxman himself says:

Republicans have speculated that a Democratic congressional majority will mean a flurry of subpoenas and investigations into everything under the sun as retaliation against the GOP and President Bush.

Not so, Waxman said.

"A lot of people have said to me, 'Are you going to now go out and issue a lot of subpoenas and go on a wild payback time?' Well, payback is unworthy," he said. "Doing oversight doesn't mean issuing subpoenas. It means trying to get information."

Subpoenas would be used only as a last result, Waxman said, taking a jab at a previous committee chairman, GOP Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, who led the committee during part of the Clinton administration.

"He issued a subpoena like most people write a letter," Waxman said.

What Suskind forgets is that without information gathering, without investigation, it is impossible to lead. One would have thought that was one of the main themes of Suskind's bestseller One Percent Doctrine. As he demonstrates, the principal flaw of this administration and Republican Rubber Stamp Congress that has thankfully been put out of its misery, was that this information gathering did not occur, and whatever facts did emerge were ignored.

Henry Waxman is a serious man who takes his job very seriously. From investigating tobacco companies to being the only person trying to investigate Halliburton and the sinkhole that Iraq contracting has become, Waxman epitomizes what Congressman should be doing: leading by information gathering as a part of leadership, by oversight, and by providing the critical check to the executive that the legislative branch is supposed to.

He told the Chamber of Commerce that Congress must restore accountability and function as an independent branch of government. "It's our obligation not to be repeating with the Republicans have done," Waxman said.

One would have thought Suskind would be among the first to give that approach to governance a standing ovation. Go figure.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:46 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sounds like Suskind (5+ / 0-)

    has Mark-Halperin-itis.

    Visit my blog Penndit. Media, politics, campaigns, and political communications.

    by Newsie8200 on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:44:38 PM PST

  •  So basically (4+ / 0-)

    They are accusing Henry Waxman of wanting to issue subpoenas like the dog returning to its vomit?

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:47:30 PM PST

    •  He is described as a 'classic pit bull' n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  That doesn't bother me (0+ / 0-)

        We need pit bulls. Though if we're using a canine analogy, I think Waxman is more like a German Shepherd trained in schutzhund: under absolute control, and will go after someone only when they make it necessary. But when he hits, he hits hard.

        Maybe Rep. Waxman was rude to Suskind's mother once.

        "Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You've got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight." --Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers In A Dangerous

        by AustinCynic on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:20:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  same message applies to the pro-impeachment crowd (11+ / 0-)

    And Dumbya and Darth Cheney deserve it, no doubt, but we have to carefully lay the groundwork with facts, facts, and more facts, the Louis Brandeis approach, and drum it into public consciousness.  Ratcheting up the rhetoric without the basis for it will backfire, especially with the MSM so unsympathetic to Dems and progressives.

    "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

    by chingchongchinaman on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:48:28 PM PST

  •  Hmm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, vcmvo2, Big Tent Democrat

    I like his laundry list of stuff to investigate though.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:48:36 PM PST

    •  One of the things I was most excited (10+ / 0-)

      about this election was the fact that Henry Waxman is now in charge of government oversight. He's sure gonna be busy.

      •  I hope Waxman's a good strategist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mcjoan, BenGoshi

        The big battle of 2007 looks like a Constitutional crisis over Congressional subpoena power over the executive branch.  Bush and Cheney are going to stonewall over turning information over to Dems in Congress, and they'll fight everything hoping to run out the clock.  Cheney's already said as much.

        Much as I love him, John Conyers is not best placed to crack the Bush administration.  Henry Waxman's issues, particularly Halliburton and war profiteering, offer much more promising ground on which to have the decisive battle.  How any judge not afflicted with terminal Scalitoitis could turn down Congressional subpoenas investigating possible personal gain by Dick Cheney from his Halliburton pimping is beyond me.   And once the precedent is established that Congress does indeed have oversight powers, the administration is in a much weaker place to protest over investigations of other lawbreaking, like FISA.

        -4.50, -5.85 In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. --Orwell

        by Dallasdoc on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 04:36:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Crisis"? What "crisis"? It's all . . . (0+ / 0-)

          . . . beyond the scope of any subpoena, because of "national security".  

           Silly Democrats:  the Bush Junta is above the law.


          We're working on many levels here. Ken Kesey

          by BenGoshi on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 05:02:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Just how it should be done... (4+ / 0-)

    Hank's got it goin on. Slow and steady. Reveal the crimes gradually and build the case like a good prosecutor. Control the message. It's about oversight and accountability.

    "I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." -Will Rogers

    by LightningMan on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:50:48 PM PST

  •  Sexiest Man Alive (9+ / 0-)

    Who'd a thunk Henry Waxman would ever get his day in the sun?  I am so excited because I know he will NOT be vindictive or petty, but he WILL make sure we finally get to know what has been going on, where the money has gone, etc.

    I don't know what Suskind's worry is.  He should just let The Man do his job.

  •  The media is sacred crapless (6+ / 0-)

    Their complicity in the rise of neofascism in America and their total failure to adhere to anykind of "balance and fairness" and professional ethics will be exposed. I hope Judy Miller gets exposed as the CIA tool she is.

    We might have a republic for another hundred years if we can keep it.

    by victor lazlo on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:53:02 PM PST

  •  I gotta say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Driscoll

    I'm giving Ron Suskind the benefit of the doubt over a partisan democratic blog. These people aren't going full bore with investigations lest they break up their own protection racket.

    I'm sure Henry Waxman is a good man and a pitbull and all that, but I just can't see a sitting politician digging to deep into his own congress. You didn't see the republicans start a legal war against democrats, did you? You didn't see republicans trying to prove that congressman whose name escapes me caught with 90 grand in the freezer was a crook in court, did you?

    If you're going to break the rules, you better know what you're doing.

    by NeoconSemanticist on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:53:05 PM PST

    •  You don't know Waxman (6+ / 0-)

      and you don't understand the role he is in. There's a difference between the House Ethics Committee (a total joke under the GOP) which investigates Congress, and the Government Oversight Committee, which investigates the executive.

    •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Your comment does not make sense.

      Did you read Suskind's article? The Waxman article? This post?

      You are not giving S uskind the benefit of the doubt - he wrote so,ething contrary to your attempted point.

      As for who Henry Waxman will invetigate - his record speaks for itself.

      •  Okay (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        John Driscoll, Big Tent Democrat

        fair enough. I suppose I went on a bit of a non-sequitor there, although I still say I have a valid point. Suskind wrote about how Biden (a show horse) and Waxman (a pitbull) can co-exist strategically and politically in the face of the republican's highly successful top-down political playbook.

        Mcjoan wrote: "Waxman epitomizes what Congressman should be doing: leading by information gathering as a part of leadership, by oversight, and by providing the critical check to the executive that the legislative branch is supposed to... One would have thought Suskind would be among the first to give that approach to governance a standing ovation. Go figure."

        This is what I replied to. Gathering information is useless unless he puts that information to use. hell, he's already been gathering information. But what's the point in gathering info if said info is never used in a prosecutorial role? What's going to change if Waxman doesn't issue subpoenas?

        And to be clear, I understand Waxman and Mcjoan are emphasizing a judicious approach. I'm on board with any strategy that is wise and forethoughtful and broad in scope. What I don't get is what's going to really change. Practically speaking, is this going to change the role of the lobbyist in Washington? Is Waxman going to bring about incentive for politicians to distance themselves from big money now?

        I see now that you say "Waxman is more likely to bring about oversight" - which I agree with wholeheartedly. But that doesn't mean this statement: "Henry Waxman is a serious man who takes his job very seriously." is proof of change coming. One thing I've learned in following politics is that our understanding of their job description is vastly different from the job description they carry out. His job is to protect his job, which makes gathering information paramount - not for the public's benefit, but for his own job security to rangle support from those dirtier than he. So is he gathering information to extort political support for his own special interests, or is he gathering information to bring about progressive policy change?

        Only time will tell, but as you may have guessed, I remain highly skeptical.

        If you're going to break the rules, you better know what you're doing.

        by NeoconSemanticist on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:40:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If Biden wants to be a showhorse (0+ / 0-)

          HE better do oversight.

          What is ironic is Biden's own article in WaPo today is very much pitbull oversight AND leadership.

          He disproves Suskind's thesis on the same page.

          •  "He disproves Suskind's thesis on the same page." (0+ / 0-)

            I take issue with this statement, as I did when Mcjoan took Waxman's side over Suskind in rebuking Suskind's admonishment of Waxman in not

            Why do you give Biden the benefit over Suskind, especially one with Suskind's reputation? How do you know Biden's words are more pure than Suskind's? That's what I don't get. And that's my point through this thread: Suskind has more credibility (to me) than Biden or Waxman or Mcjoan or Big Tent Democrat. I'm sure you're all nice and intelligent people, but frankly you're coming off as a democrat-apologist and pre-emptive spinmeister. I agree that democrats are (probably) less corrupt and much more likely to do something good for the public, but that doesn't mean being a democrat is any kind of saving grace. So I ask you: Why are you a democrat? Are you different enough from republicans? Why would you want congress in the hands of democrats? Is it to effect liberal or progressive change, or is it simply to have your team in power?

            As you've said above, "Waxman is more likely to bring about oversight" - what makes you so sure, and how tentative is your certainty? If democrats aren't bringing change, would you still support them? Are you that partisan? I'm not ignorant of political realities, I don't expect Waxman to go into subpoena  overload, I simply want to know if your political evaluation is faith-based (that democrats are pre-ordained to be better than republicans) or if your views are a little more empirical? Do you see any parallels between your arguments and Bush's supporters, and does that distress you?

            If you're going to break the rules, you better know what you're doing.

            by NeoconSemanticist on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 02:17:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What benefit o f the doubt? (0+ / 0-)

              I read the Biden article.

              I describe it accurately.

              •  I'm confused as to what Biden article you mention (0+ / 0-)

                so in the absence of the article: why do democrat's words carry more weight (to you specifically) than the reporter's words, especially a reporter like Suskind? I don't see any skepticism on your part, and that concerns me - not that I really matter or that you need to answer to me or anything. I'm just looking for some objectivity, some greater awareness, some proof that democrats aren't sheep who give their leaders the same leeway Bush gets when it comes to truth, justice and excercising their power over the minority (and the people). What do you see in either article - Mcjoan's or Biden's - that displays Biden's/Waxman's accuracy in contrast to Suskind's point?

                Are we going to let our representitives play word games and deny the obvious (detrimental) effects of their policies, and if so, what's the point in electing democrats? What will become of the blogoshere's power if it appears to favor democrats power over truth?

                I'm concerned with the apologia I see already from the daily kos - this article an example. Suskind didn't say anything wrong or inflammitory. Suskind didn't demean Waxman or smear Waxman's agenda. so what's the issue? Why the front page article exalting Waxman's judicious approach as a rebuttal/clarification to Suskind's article? I don't get it.

                Waxman has subpoena power. he's a pitbull. Pitbull's have to be carefull how they weild their new chairmanships, lest they harm the show-horses chances at a Presidential nomination in 2008. At the same time, Waxman has to be effective in his role as chairman of the Oversight committee, which means some kind of tangible results at the end of the day. What's Mcjoan doing to Suskind on Waxman's behalf?


                If you're going to break the rules, you better know what you're doing.

                by NeoconSemanticist on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 04:14:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Again (5+ / 0-)

          there's a distinction between what Waxman is in charge of--government oversight--and congressional oversight, which is under the Ethics Committee.

          Waxman's job is finding out what's happened to the billions and billions that's gone missing in Iraq, or what's behind the FDA's approval of certain drugs that end up killing people. He's taken on lobbyists plenty of times in the past--there's no fear in Waxman on that front. In this case, I think your skepticism is misplaced.

          Now how much can he do with the recalcitrant Bush administration? That's where to direct your concern.

    •  What's this "partisan" Democratic blog stuff? (0+ / 0-)

      A lot of people here aren't lifelong Democrats. The GOP drove many of us here by forgetting that we're Americans first, we all believe in the rule of law.

      IIRC, the Dems have asked Jefferson (90K in his icebox) to resign, but he declined. A lot of us are working to defeat him in the runoff election.

      If you want to throw the word, "partisan" around, read Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

  •  I suspect that Suskind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, seabos84

    like even the best journalists these days, finds it hard if not impossible to succumb to the insiduous temptations and influences of working in a place like DC, where, in order to report on people and things, you have to get so close to them that they cannot help but influence you, in reverse-Heisenberg fashion. The best know this and make sure to take a step back from time to time to reassess themselves. But it's not easy to do this in the thick of things, with change and movement so fluid and dynamic these days.

    Being human, we are all subject to the corrupting influence of the worlds that we inhabit.

    For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party." -- Bob Novak

    by kovie on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 12:57:54 PM PST

  •  I don't get it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Driscoll, montpellier

    What in this quote is so offensive?  Are we assuming that Suskind thinks subpoenas are a bad thing?  To me it just seems like Suskind is stating the obvious -- that the Dems need "pit bulls" like Waxman.  

    •  I think it is completely offensive (0+ / 0-)

      Salivating to issue subpoeanas? It is the harrative of the DC Gasbags and carries a very negative connotation.

      More importantly, Suskinds sees the oversight role as divorced from the leadership role and that is complete wrong.

      The quote and indeed, the article, exhibits a fundamanetal misunderstanding of the role of Congress.

      •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The article seems like a reasoned examination of WHERE Waxman might want to investigate -- what's wrong with talking about that?  Suskind seems to be advocating a disciplined but aggressive approach to investigations, one that leaves the potential presidential candidates outside the process (which makes the "pit bulls" like Waxman all the more important).

        I don't consider the "salivating" line in the least bit offensive, as I myself have been extremely eager for a  man like Waxman to have subpoena power -- isn't that one of the great victories of this past election?  I think Suskind is happy to see that too, and that you (and mcjoan) are off on this one.  

        •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Phoenix Woman

          in the Suskind and your assumption that  Waxman is some kind of loose cannon wgho is salivating to issue subpoenas and has no notion of how to prioritize.

          Suskind's dicision of pit bulls and show horses evidences his fundamental misunderstanding of the Congressional role  - where he sees oversight as something for pit bulls and not show horses.

          But the  fundamental problem is Suskind's acceptance of the DC Gasbag narrative of information gathering by Congress as "subpoena salivation."

          •  Stop it (0+ / 0-)

            I'm certainly NOT calling Waxman a "loose cannon," and I think you know it.  WE ALL WANTED THE DEMS TO HAVE SUBPOENA POWER.  WE WERE ALL "SALIVATING" FOR IT!!!  Fine, you don't like Suskind's choice of words.  But don't dismiss his whole argument based on it.  He thinks it's in the dems BEST INTERESTS to seperate the "pit bulls" from the "show horses."  I think that makes a lot of sense.  Do we really want Obama playing an oversight role?  No -- presidential candidates should focus on positive visions for the future.  It will HELP US WIN in 2008.  What's so offensive about advocating that as a strategy?  

        •  Have you read the entire article? (6+ / 0-)

          You need the full context, which frankly I left out because I didn't want to get derailed by a Biden discussion.

          His set up is about the "inquisitorial zeal" of Waxman, and then says this:

          The new Democratic Congress may well come down to a series of confrontations between the competing urges to investigate and to lead.

          That's drawing a distinction that doesn't exist. Leadership and investigation are part and parcel. You don't have one without the other. He misses that entirely.

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            I think shibboleths has misread the article.

          •  I read it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            He goes into detail about WHERE the dems should investigate (do you disagree that they should be selective?) and then suggests that more high profile Dems should stay out of the process and focus on issues that the american public associates more directly with "leadership."  Disagree with that if you want, but I think it's at least an argument worth engaging, and shouldn't be dismissed.  I think you overreacted to what you perceived as a negetive description of Waxman (I didn't find it in the least bit offensive) and drew incorrect assumptions because of that.  

            •  You do not address her point (0+ / 0-)

              That oversight is part of congressional leadership - that you can not separate these two components.

            •  It's the distinction (4+ / 0-)

              between leadership and investigation that he draws that is specious, for one thing. You can't have leadership without it. Period.

              Maybe my extreme admiration for Waxman did cause me to see a dig where others don't, but I see a portrayal of Waxman, who wants to do his job as a congressman in charge of congressional oversight, as some kind of "pit bull" looking for payback for 12 years of being on the outs.

              The thing that has been most lacking in Congress under GOP leadership was oversight, and look what's happened.

              •  Pit Bull (0+ / 0-)

                I always think of Waxman as a pit bull type, and love him for it (he happens to be my congressman).  I didn't read payback into it, so much as FINALLY he's got the power to accomplish the things that have been outside his grasp for twelve years.  Which is a great thing, but now requires him to make some difficult decisions about how and where to use it.  

                I think there are different kinds of leadership -- public and private.  I think Suskind is suggesting that the two should have different responsibilities, and I think he's probably right, but I certainly accept that you disagree.  

                •  But public and private (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Phoenix Woman, Big Tent Democrat

                  leadership in Congress require the same thing, ultimately, investigation and oversight. Whether it's conducting hearings on legislation to gather information to make sure that its needed, properly drafted, and will do what it's intended to do (something that didn't happen under the GOP), or if it's investigating corruption in government there is no leadership in Congress without oversight.

                  It's a false distinction Suskind is drawing. And I also think Waxman hardly needs direction from Suskind on where to direct his energies.

                  You're lucky to have him as a congressman.

            •  Here's where you and Suskind are wrong (0+ / 0-)

              "The new Democratic Congress may well come down to a series of confrontations between the competing urges to investigate and to lead."

              These are not only not competing urges - you can not lead from Congress if you do not engage in oversight.

              Suskinf has bought into hook line and sinker the DC Gasbag narrative on this point.

              •  Look, I've re-read the comments here and... (0+ / 0-)

                ...the Suskind article.  Although I'm a Virginian, I've been very interested in Rep. Waxman's activities since the early 80s, when I first became politically aware.

                I think you and MCJOAN are wrong - there will be a competing set of press memes that have nothing to do with unfair punditry or structural framing bias or any of that other happy nonsense.  The Public will demand a certain focus on what do we do now - looking forward - nevermind who lied about what when and where and created the mess.

                To be sure, aggressive oversight of the plans put forth by the executive - investigative work by nature - is needed at the time the plans are proposed; which, for example, would have been so very, very helpful at preventing the intelligence cherry-picking leading up to the invasion of Iraq.  In that important but limited sense, yes there is an investigative oversight aspect to the future plans leadership role played by Congress.  

                Nevertheless, there will also be, as there with the Iran-Contra scandal, a very lengthy attempt to dig up criminal and/or impeachable actions and generally shine sunlight on all sorts of ethically questionable garbage.  That is very good and necessary - every bit as much so as the forward looking part.  It also makes the public's eyes glaze over.  The IC affair was a blueprint for another approach to creating a Unitary Executive; it's uncovering and investigation was hugely important for our country, and addressed very subtle and important issues.  And still, after six months, the non-political junkie classes just tuned out.  That's why Raygun got away with it, and Bush-I still got elected, though, fortunately, the likes of Ollie North were more or less permanently banished (I sadly note that Poindexter is back, as extra-legal as ever).

                Democrats did not get an affirmative vote; they got a default vote - we do not have a mandate just like Bush didn't have a mandate in '04.  It is critically important to get elected again, over and over. That will require a certain amount of the forward-looking leadership from the so-called Show-Horses.  

                All of these means, as Suskind suggested, a creative and flexible mixture and balance - all of these different things will compete for the public's limited attention.  Suskind was merely suggesting that

                Why on earth you insist on feeling slighted about the implication that somehow this is a slight towards Rep. Waxman?  The quick and deep umbrage at relatively friendly coverage is just not defensible, and undermines our credibility.

    •  i also don't really get it (0+ / 0-)

      it seems rather benign to me.  maybe not perfectly benign, but not something i'd dwell on.  just my too sense.

  •  Henry Waxman, this election was for you (2+ / 0-)

    go to work!

    Christ is my governor -- God help us.

    by ThatSinkingFeeling on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:05:51 PM PST

  •  As I've said many times these last few weeks (4+ / 0-)

    Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time.
    I have no doubt that we can lead on important issues while at the same time performing oversight. For crying out loud, that's one of the MOST important things government does. It's why we have checks and balances!
    I want subpoenas, I want all the dirt to be brought to the surface. I want Americans who were too damned lazy to stay informed finally hear all that they were ignoring. And then I want action.
    I'm really sick and tired of those who simply want to let Bush/Cheney's misdeeds go. When people commit crimes we prosecute. And when that person(s) commits crimes against the nation, it is doubly important to do so.
    To not do so is failing your country.

    All Truth is non-partisan

    by MA Liberal on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:08:11 PM PST

  •  I guess Waxman is going to show 'em how to be men (2+ / 0-)

    Frankly, I would rather he play their game because he'd win.

    I am Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party! ...

    by LandSurveyor on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:13:13 PM PST

  •  One has to wonder how (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    committed to corruption reform the house will be after the Hoyer vote. My instincts told me that if the mainstream media was bashing Murtha and Pelosi and simultaneously supporting Hoyer, then a bad choice had been made.
    Those fears were validated in this piece from "The Nation" by Nichols

    "Hoyer's record is one of abandoning the interests of workers, communities and the environment in order to meet the demands of multinational corporations and their lobbying groups."

    Pelosi's Problem

    "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." --Aristotle

    by java4every1 on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:13:58 PM PST

  •  mixed feelings (0+ / 0-)

    well, i guess you could say we're at the point, to use a war analogy, where the opposing forces are charging at us over an open field, defeated, with no weapons and only rocks and sticks in their hands to fight with.

    and you ask yourself, do you lay it on them or do you fire over their heads and have some mercy, hoping they'll give up or not cause any more damage.

    do we tie the government down for the next two years investigating EVERY possible thing we can?  if you've been paying attention to politics for the last six years, you know that is going to be impossible.

    but, on the same hand, it would almost be worse than the initial action (whether it be cheney's energy taskforce, plame-gate, iraq, god you could go on for ever), should we go through the next two years with nothing being done to pursue these weasels and make them pay for the utter lack of respect they have for democracy.

    i'd say go full out, 100% because of several reasons.  number one being as a deterrent for future corruption.  

    we all know punishment isn't much of anything at this point.  they're sociopaths.  they don't care about their actions.  they're rich, they have power, that's literally all there is to know.

    •  Um (0+ / 0-)

      did you read what Waxman said? I think you are arguing against a strawman of Suskind's creation.

      I think is mcjoan's point.

    •  The way forward is to ensure no (0+ / 0-)

      repeat of the past. If all that is achieved for the next ten years is accountability that would be achievement enough. If ethics and corruption are brought under control, the majority of other issues would be resolved by default.

      "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." --Aristotle

      by java4every1 on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:33:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did we read the same Suskind article? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The one I read was an investigative journalist's love note to an investigative legislator ... cheering him on and offering to share sources and leads, no charge.

    Excellent article, and one I assume Waxman will be glad to see in teh Sunday WaPo.

    I'm at a loss to identify where mcjoan thinks Suskind is dissing Waxman and/or the investigative imperative.

    None Dare Call It Stupid!

    by RonK Seattle on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:30:24 PM PST

    •  Heh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoenix Woman

      How come I am not surprised RonK.

      Salivating to issue subpoeans is soooo positive an image for Waxman. I am sure he loves it. That really explains why he was at pains to explain why he is NOT in his talk to the California Chamber of Commerce.

      Too funny and too predictable from you.

      •  Salivating (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        WE WERE ALL SALIVATING FOR SUBPOENA POWER.  How many times did I read on here that democratic control of congress gives us subpoena power?  Waxman WAS salivating for it, and is THRILLED to have it, as he should be.  God, aren't there enough REAL targets to go after out there?  Do we have to attack someone on our side for one word choice that we don't like?  

        •  We were salvating for Congresional Leadership (0+ / 0-)
          NOT payback.

          What you and Ron and Ron do not understand is that this is wrong and harmful-

          "The new Democratic Congress may well come down to a series of confrontations between the competing urges to investigate and to lead."

          Luckily, Waxman, as demonstrated in his talk to the CA Chamber of Commerce, does understand.

      •  This is the second time this week... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RonK Seattle, Shibboleths

        ...that I've seen one of these "oooo...the media's screwing us with the meme" diaries where anyone with reasonable aptitude and reading comprehension skills can see the original article/interview/editorial is in complete accord with the diarist's professed thinking and desires.

        • I read the article when it came out in the WaPo (I still get daily home delivery).
        • I got very excited because I so thoroughly enjoyed Suskind's 1% Doctrine, and more importantly, the very careful and often left to the reader inferences of traitorious lying on the part of the Adminstration.
        • Suskind was Op-Ed-ing specifically to re-iterate the thesis of the 1% Doctrine - that in any action, but above all war, the public cannot perform it's democratic function unless there is transparency.

        Let me translate that last point for you: while acknowleging the need for a governing plan, Suskind was critical of the Bidens who want to whitewash and "look forward", and suggesting a compromise of Subpoena Driven Congressional Testimony balanced against the desire of so-called "Showhorses" to just talk about future plans.  

        Learn how to read and listen before you let the kneejerk reflex take over.

    •  Amen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's what I read too.  I don't see what the problem is.  

    •  As I said to Shibboleths (3+ / 0-)

      Henry Waxman is one of my true heroes, so maybe I'm going to see a slight where others don't.

      I think Suskind is too dismissive of the importance of investigation. I think he's setting it up as Waxman looking for payback for being 12 years on the outs while the "leaders" like Biden are looking ahead, trying to fix things.

      •  No! (0+ / 0-)

        Suskind was emphasizing the need to have investigations and not let the Bidens and Obamas whitewash or ignore the past six years!

        He was suggesting that Henry Waxman was an ideally positioned politician to do this - the experience, the temperment and the political trajectory (Waxman will not be running for President) to handle the investigation - and it was clear that he felt "pit bull" was complimentary".

        Jeebus Pete...the skins are a little to thin with a lot of dKosers these days.

  •  Ah yes. He has "DREAMED of subpoenas" ... (3+ / 0-) have so many of us without the power to anything to make our dreams come true.

  •  There will a Flood of Subpoenas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    since the Bush administration will not release one piece of information to the Dems without a fight.

    It will be an ugly, inch by inch fight.

    Bush is counting on the pubic to grow weary of technical legal battles.

    Stall and run the clock out and run against the do nothing Dems in 08.

  •  some kind of Dem message consistency would (0+ / 0-)

    be seriously different from eras past, and

    would provide a framework for explaining to the average peon WHY s/he should vote FOR Dems.

    7 Nov. was more about revulsion towards the fascist kleptocracy than embracing the Dems,

    in my NOT humble opinion,

    and to really really really change things,

    it would really really really help if there were some simple messages that worked tying together the various strategies, tactics, policies, programs ...

    I want Iraq over, I want health care, I want a budget that isn't a freaking joke, I want the managers of Halliburton and Georgie's administration all wearing orange jumpsuits and handcuffs, BUT

    the Dems gotta figure out an easy to hear easy to say easy to understand set of soundbites.


    by seabos84 on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:37:30 PM PST

  •  I just don't get this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman

    ...we impeached a president over a blowjob.  And yet, instead of lowering the bar on acting against a president who by his own admission has violated the laws of this country, it seems to raise it to an impossibly high level.  At least, it does so in the minds of some people -- too many of whom should know better.

    "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by Roddy McCorley on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 01:55:27 PM PST

    •  Rod (0+ / 0-)

      Actually the impeachment was over Clinton lying under oath. This is considered a crime for the rest of us. To say he was impeached over a "blowjob" is simply not true.

      •  No. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nom de paix
        No it isn't.

        And the fact that we are not willing to hold the current occupant, as Garrison Keillor refers to him, accountable for his lies leaves us right where I said we are:


        Enjoy the Kool Aid.

        "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

        by Roddy McCorley on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 07:07:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Other than Feingold...who's our Henry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Casper

    Waxman in the Senate?

    Daniel Craig...the BEST James Bond...ever!

    by ShaShaMae on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 02:11:59 PM PST

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    it will take an embrace of Republican-style discipline (hardly a Democratic strong suit)

    If the GOoPers were so "disciplined" they'd still have their precious majority now, dontcha think, Ron?

    Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Well, come on, doesn't anybody know!?!?

    by Erik the Red on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 02:14:34 PM PST

  •  "classic pit bull" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    attentiveandangry, cadejo4

    sigh..  you can imagine how I feel about Susskind's use of this phrase, as I know what he  thinks he means.

    Now we hope Waxman actually IS a "classic pit bull"... sweet as can be to everyone, but up to any challenge and never backs down from any fight.

    And when he grabs on to something, he never lets go, and when he fights, he fights to win.

    •  Sounds like you own a pit bull . . . me too! (0+ / 0-)

      They're incredible dogs. The New Yorker did a piece that used pit bulls as an example of profiling some months ago.

      “There are a lot of pit bulls these days who are licensed therapy dogs,” the writer Vicki Hearne points out. “Their stability and resoluteness make them excellent for work with people who might not like a more bouncy, flibbertigibbet sort of dog. When pit bulls set out to provide comfort, they are as resolute as they are when they fight, but what they are resolute about is being gentle. And, because they are fearless, they can be gentle with anybody.”

      I hope Suskind meant to say Waxman is "resolute" or "determined" when comparing him to a pit bull, not "agressive."

    •  I don't know from real pit bulls, but (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know from real pit bulls, but if that's the description that's Waxman.

  •  That's semantics. (0+ / 0-)

    Call it payback, call it oversight, call it taking your new responsibilities seriously. And by all means, be selective about which comes first and which may - may - not be important or urgent enough to bother with for the time being. I think Waxman may be holding back on tipping off just how fiercely tenacious he intends to be once he has the power.

  •  Investigate TO Govern (0+ / 0-) I said the night of Nov. 8.

  •  I stand ready to support The Honorable Waxman... (0+ / 0-)

    as I state in my post: 'What the Democrats need now are: Smarts and Spine!'

    It ain't Waxman I'm worried about it's the likes of Joey the Liarmann and his protege Obama-Friend-of-Fundies and The Hill and the rest of the fat, self-satisfied Armani-suited K-Street boys and girls.

    Did I mention Schumer and Emmanuel?

    Well they have something to prove to me after they stabbed Ned Lamont in the back.

    They have a lot to prove.

    And I am sure many here will be watching...

    And acting if need be.

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."

    by Nestor Makhnow on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 07:23:21 PM PST

  •  From Britain with love (0+ / 0-)

    I can't wait for a proper investigation in the States, we've been denied one over here by Blair but it would be great to see one in your country into what the mistakes were in invading Iraq and controlling it. Go for it guys, most of the UK will be thrilled.

  •  Haul those energy execs in and put them under (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    oath.  It's time we found out the truth about the secret Cheney meeting where they planned how they were going to divvy up the oil in Iraq.  

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