Rep. Henry Waxman’s Silly Sideshow

by William Yeatman on May 24, 2011

in Blog, Features

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I’ve long suspected that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) keeps Brawny paper towels in his kitchen cabinet. Brawny paper towels are the best—they’re the quickest, thickest picker-uppers—and Rep. Waxman lives in one of the richest Congressional districts, so it makes sense that he uses them, right? I think it does. Rep. Waxman’s logical affinity for Brawny paper towels is troubling, because they are manufactured by Georgia Pacific, which is owned by….KOCH INDUSTRIES!!! Possibly, every time Rep. Waxman wipes spilled caviar off his marble countertops, he’s funding the insidious KOCHTOPUS!!! I doubt his far-left base would appreciate this apparent financial link to a company reviled by liberals for supporting conservative causes. Why, it’s as if Rep. Waxman is contributing to the Tea Party!

I know what you are thinking: These are baseless and ridiculous claims. Indeed. Yet they are no more baseless and ridiculous than the stunt Rep. Waxman pulled yesterday at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Keystone XL Pipeline. I explained in detail the politics of the pipeline in a previous post. Suffice it to say, it would double U.S. imports of Canadian tar sands oil, and it is staunchly opposed by environmentalist special interests. The focus of yesterday’s hearing was a Republican bill that would speed up the pipeline approval process, but Rep. Waxman wanted to take the panel in a different direction. Namely, he wanted to fabricate an association between the Keystone Pipeline and the left’s favorite piñata, Koch Industries, a.k.a, the Kochtopus.

According to a write up in today’s ClimateWire (subscription required),

At yesterday’s hearing, Waxman continued to press for investigation of the Keystone-Koch connection. He said his staff had contacted Koch representatives to learn more about its investments in the oil sands, but that they had not been willing to answer basic questions alongside other oil companies such as ConocoPhillips Co. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. “The representatives would not discuss whether Koch would export oil from Canada through the new pipeline, whether Koch holds tar sands leases, or whether Koch has plans to produce oil from tar sands,” he said.

While I disagree with everything he does, I nonetheless esteem Rep. Waxman as a master tactician. More than once, I’ve wished that the other party had someone as cunning as the Congressman from Beverly Hills. However, in this instance, he sounded foolish. Koch Industries has denied any link to the pipeline, but even if they stood to gain, what does that have to do with expanding and diversifying our energy supply? If the Keystone XL Pipeline is good for America, and it is, then why does it matter if the Koch’s profit?

In any case, Rep. Waxman didn’t have the goods. He wanted to tar the pipeline with an association to the Kochtopus, but he didn’t have any evidence, and he threw it out there, anyway. In fact, it’s as silly and unfounded an association as the Rep. Waxman/Koch connection I describe in the opening paragraph of this post.

Fortunately, Rep. Waxman’s tom-foolery didn’t go without rebuke. Energy and Power Subcommittee Chair Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said he could care less about George Soros’s (the right’s version of the Kochtopus) documented investment in Suncor, a company that is actively involved in Canadian tar sands oil production.

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