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Why They Had To Do Dingell

Chris proclaims the Waxman victory over John Dingell a big win for Barack Obama. I agree, for somewhat cynical reasons. In a nutshell: Letting Lieberman keep his chairmanship was clearly the right political move, but it also sent a somewhat dangerous message to Democrats, which is that you can cross Obama without paying for it. Dingell largely fixes that problem. I'm not sure what role Obama actually played in Dingell's unseating, but the fact that his incoming congressional liaison was a longtime Waxman staffer certainly looks incriminating. Which is maybe the point: By taking out Dingell, who was at best a foot-dragger on the issue of climate change, Obama shows there are consequences to not being on board with his agenda.

--Noam Scheiber