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Principles, Principals and Pay Back

Congressman Henry Waxman has the bit in his teeth. Waxman, famous for his interrogation of tobacco company executives and the man who arguably energized the entire idea of using the tort bar to fleece tobacco companies, creating a diabolical partnership between government, the bar and corporations who prefer stability rather than competition; is now embarked on a crusade to strip the veil of secrecy from the evil cabal the formulated the Bush energy policy.

Is there some genetic thing that all Democrats share? Despite gallons of corruption that flowed out of the White House for the 8 years of Bill Clinton’s mal-administration, Waxman is now shocked, shocked that energy companies were consulted in the formulation of the national energy policy. A document which was presented publicly and requires Congressional passage in one for or another. Waxman clearly expects to discover that Ken Lay and Enron not only provided analysis, opinion and suggestions but that the plan was created, not in response to Bush’s call to reduce our dependence on foreign oil but to save Enron. It is clear to anyone with Waxman’s X ray vision that this was merely a device to line the pockets of a small coterie of Houston jacklegs, a pro quo for the quid lavished on the GOP.

What is not surprising about the current folderol over the energy task force meetings is that few Republicans, with the notable exception of Speaker Hastert, have spoken out in defense of the administration. Those GOP politicians who do speak out in support of disclosure, do so with an air of resignation, displaying both a lack of confidence in their President and in the prerogatives of the executive branch. Most of these pols were pretty firm and clear on the need for full disclosure when Hillary Clinton was busily adopting market based medical fascism. Perhaps the fire has gone out in their souls, or they are more concerned with fighting the important battles America faces: the level of soy bean price supports or the relative merits of low interest loans for “empowerment zones”.

Chenney and Bush are standing up for an obvious proposition, that the executive branch is entitled to the free and unfettered opinions of a broad range of American interest groups. That it is only common sense to ask energy producers and traders to provide their expert opinion on the efficacy of various policy proposals. Last time I looked, Congressman receive calls, mail and even personal visits from more than just their constituents. Are those contacts subject to full public disclosure? No rational person would deny a Congressman with zero knowledge of medicines the right to contact Eli Lilly about issues regarding drug testing and patents. We expect men and women who are our elected representatives to investigate and research a wide range of issues for which they are not qualified. They should seek the best advice and make logical decisions.

What is lost in all the sturm und drang is that the President’s energy initiatives are mostly subject to both Congressional scrutiny and approval. If Waxman can successfully divine the caustic influence of Enron in the proposals, then he should stand up and point this out. Not that it will help Enron too much. Even if Chenney and Bush had adopted an energy policy based entirely on Enron’s recommendations, it wouldn’t help Enron much. This is a political fight and political pay back for HillaryCare.

Waxman should at least have the honesty to tell us why he opposes the plans. Disagreement is not un-patriotic. Opposition should be welcomed, it keeps the administration honest. But to dress up a dead corpse (Enron) and drag it to every public forum and display it as some sort of evil totem does a disservice to the nation.

Waxman is nothing more than a disgrace to the Congress. Sadly he’s not the only one.

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