Greens Better Hope Henry Stays Healthy

Democratic Superman Rep. Henry Waxman in his Los Angeles office two weeks ago and was rushed to hospital. He later described the episode as “a very bizarre incident” and said doctors “couldn’t figure out why it happened.” He’s feeling better now, thanks for asking.

President Obama and anyone else pulling for a bill curbing greenhouse emissions better hope he’s feeling better.

Since just after the November election, the California congressman has become the Tom “The Hammer” DeLay to Obama’s George W. Bush: he goes into the trenches to deliver on the president’s policy promises.  But while DeLay was a notorious armtwister, Waxman has – so much so that he’s pushing an art-of-the-deal style book on how to build consensus through long lunches and schmoozing opponents.

As in The New York Times notes today, he’s also got access to the levers of power. It’s notable that his former Chief of Staff Philip Schiliro is now Obama’s legislative liaison.

While there has been a lot of grumbling about the giveaways in the cap-and-trade bill – giving away most of the emissions permits has rankled many early supporters – he seems to be the force holding all the pieces together in the legislation.

As a coastal, avowedly liberal Democrat he has the bona fides to sell the bill to progressives; as a presidential favorite with a pragmatic streak, he’s authorized to negotiate to get the necessary votes.

The most significant climate change legislation the world has yet seen rests on his shoulders. So, again, stay healthy Henry.

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