#1 Short, bald and pudgy, BatBoy Waxman has all the charisma of a CPA.
11-17-2008, 10:10 AM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
"...................BatBoy Henry Waxman, Mr Personality
Waxman simply makes his case point by point by point. He is not liberalism's man for all seasons. He is only its legislative genius.
"Henry never entertains colleagues," says his longtime aide Howard Elinson. "He does no sports. His staff would say, You should go golfing with (House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell.' Fat chance."
It's an inauspicious start for what will soon become one of the worst days in Henry Waxman's life. At 8:15 on a drizzly Election Day morning, the Democratic congressman from West Los Angeles addresses 120 government students at Beverly Hills High and not surprisingly, the rage against Congress has spilled into the Establishment confines of Beverly.
The first questioner, a kid in baggy pants and backward baseball cap who's two parts Beavis and Butthead to one part Rush Limbaugh, wants to know about congressional pensions. A lawyerly Young Republican notes that illegal immigrants won't necessarily lose out on education should Proposition 187 pass because they can always pay tuition. A student who grew up in Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania interrogates Waxman on smoking. Cigarettes, he insists, can't cause cancer because it's the government that says so, and governments never tell the truth. The bulk of the questions are innocuous, but all the pointed ones come out of right field. As the class winds down, the one hand still waving in the air belongs to Beavis-'n'-Rush, w ho wants to know whatever happened with the House banking scandal.
Through it all, the 55-year-old Waxman remains decorous and unembattled. His House seat, certainly, is in no danger: He will win reelection with 68% of the vote. spending practically nothing on his own campaign. Besides, he know how to work the students; he talks about his work on behalf of abortion rights and a cleaner environment. But he doesn't know how to wake the students. The morning never becomes electric.
Short, bald and pudgy, Waxman has all the charisma of a CPA. He persuades by argument, not by humor or personality. Where Ralph Nader unleashes a torrent of indignation, Barney Frank stings with wit and Tom Hayden still taps into a vein of adolescent anger, Waxman simply makes his case point by point by point. He is not liberalism's man for all seasons. He is only its legislative genius.
It's a genius not widely recognized in Los Angeles, where Waxman is still chiefly known for his political alliance with his longtime friend, congressman Howard L. Berman -- though by now, the fabled Waxman-Berman organization, which shaped California politics for the last two decades, has virtually ceased to exist. Indeed, Waxman maintains a low public profile generally. In an age of mediagenic politicians, he is exactly the opposite. Low-key and sound-bite-adverse, he lacks some of the essential elements of a politician's personality. "Henry's a very reserved person," says Lenore Wax, a confidante of 35 years who is his campaign committee president. "He still doesn't enjoy small talk."
11-17-2008, 10:22 AM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
Persistent Schiliro Back as a Co-Pilot for Oversight
"The Committee for the Trial of Former President George Bush for Ignoring Global Warming ."
Now that California Democrat Henry A. Waxman is chairman of one of the more powerful congressional committees, he has power to investigate virtually all aspects of the federal government. And that puts his chief of staff, Phil Schiliro, in the center of the action.
Schiliro, 50, forms a tag team with Phil Barnett, majority staff director of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Schiliro focuses on strategy, while Barnett oversees the nuts and bolts of the committee's work. The committee's first hearing of the new session took place Tuesday. In an e-mail, Schiliro said the focus is on "whether the administration has been distorting and suppressing the science of global warming." Hearings are expected in the following week on federal funds spent in Iraq and on homeland security.
Schiliro does not have the demeanor of a hard-charging investigator. The soft-spoken Long Islander is so averse to talking about himself that he advised a reporter to find someone more interesting to profile. His boss, however, calls him "active and persistent" in pursuing the committee's work. David Marin, staff director for the committee's former chairman, Tom Davis, R-Va., said that Schiliro and Waxman had an understated aggressiveness when it came to oversight and that their work kept the then-majority staff on its toes.
Even when the Democrats were in the minority, Schiliro managed to be effective in pushing Waxman's agenda. Between 1997 and 2006, Schiliro's team churned out about 2,000 reports on issues that ran the gamut from global warming to intelligence on Iraq to the level of lead in objects sold in the Capitol gift shop.
His biggest PR coup occurred in 2005 when Congress investigated allegations that Major League Baseball players were using steroids. The committee subpoenaed seven players, including the Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire, who broke the home-run record in 1998. Those hearings were marked by McGwire's refusal to say whether he had taken steroids and Palmeiro's firm statement that he had not. Several months after the hearings, Palmeiro tested positive for steroids and was briefly suspended from baseball. Barnett said the hearings contributed to eventual changes in the league's drug policy.snip
Schiliro got into politics because of his interest in environmental issues. After graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1981, he came to Washington. He worked briefly for representatives Butler Derrick, D-S.C., and Tim Wirth, D-Colo. It was through Wirth that Schiliro first met Waxman, who was then chairman of the Health and Environment Subcommittee. The congressman was impressed with the young staffer's work on the Clean Air Act and hired him in 1982.
Schiliro helped Waxman organize a probe after the 1984 Bhopal disaster, in which thousands perished in the Indian city when Union Carbide accidentally released toxic chemicals. The hearings revealed that chemical emissions were not being sufficiently monitored in this country and helped pave the way for the Clean Air Act in 1990.
11-17-2008, 10:54 AM...has all the charisma of a CPA...
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
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