Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The New York Times Magazine on Sunday ran an interview with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who recently unseated John Dingell (D-Mich.) as the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Interviewer Deborah Solomon asks him about the new post, and Waxman says he’s not sorry he won, but he is sorry Dingell put up a fight:

Do you feel any guilt about ousting the current chairman, John Dingell, a fellow Democrat, who, at 82, is currently the longest-serving member of Congress?
I felt sad to have to engage in a challenge. I hoped he would retire.

As a youngster of 69, did you personally ask him to retire?
I called him up and told him that I thought I would be able to bring more energy to the post. I was hoping that he wouldn’t run again. He didn’t agree with that idea, and I told him that I was going to run for it.

What did he say?
Well, he said he was chairman and he wanted to continue as chairman.

This seems like a symbolic shift — California environmentalist unseats Michigan congressman who propped up the auto industry.

We’ve had our differences on environmental issues. I think we need new leadership in the committee in order to move a very active agenda being proposed by the Obama administration.

Oh, and there’s this:

How do you get along with President Bush? Does he have a nickname for you?
Not to my face. I haven’t heard it yet.

I’ve heard you referred to as “the Mustache of Justice.”
I still have my mustache, and I still believe in fighting for justice.