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Obama's Big Congressional Victory

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That thunderous crash you just heard emanating from Washington, DC was Henry Waxman's toppling of John Dingell to become chair of the energy and commerce committee. West Coast beats Midwest Coast. Good versus evil. A rotten oak has been felled.

Whatever you want to call it, it's a big victory for Barack Obama and liberals, as important, if not more so, than his cabinet appointments. (Full disclosure: I should mention that my significant other works for H.W., but these are my own unfiltered thoughts.)

Dingell, as odious and bullying a legislator as there's ever been, was essentially nothing more than a shill for the auto industry, working overtime to suppress any attempts at controlling pollution or raising mileage limits. Look where that approach got Detroit. Waxman, who has been one of the most effective legislators on Capitol Hill, almost singlehandedly exposing Bush administration malfeasance in Iraq and a host of other government agencies (as Harold Meyerson cogently noted in a Washington Post op-ed yesterday calling upon Democrats to support Waxman for his new post), will move quickly and effectively with Nancy Pelosi, who clearly was fed up with Dingell, to implement Obama's agenda on health and the environment.

Score another one for Obama.