The Westside congressman would be running the powerful House Government Reform Committee if the Democrats win the House - and he's already promising lots more oversight of drug companies, oil companies and waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. (No wonder the big drug companies have been writing checks to the Republicans.) In an interview with the WSJ, Waxman said he wanted to root out "profiteering," which covers rebuilding eforts in Iraq and the Gulf Coast. As with Nancy Pelosi's interview on "60 Minutes" last week, you've got to wonder a little about timing. Maybe they figure that laying out the Democratic agenda will encourage a bigger turnout for their candidates. But wouldn't it motivate the other side, too - perhaps with greater urgency? To that point:
In discussing his goals, Mr. Waxman is touching on many of the hot-button issues being aired both in the campaign and behind the scenes among Democrats. The party has been debating how much to spotlight what could be controversial actions before voters go to the polls, or how much to stick to more general policy slogans. Republicans already have begun trying to cast Mr. Waxman as a partisan who would abuse his investigative powers.
When Democrats last held power, Mr. Waxman headed the Commerce Committee's subcommittee on health and environment, where he was a thorn in the side of big business. He led well-publicized crusades to get tobacco regulated as an addictive drug, increase federal oversight of dietary supplements and toughen auto-emissions standards, and helped write a raft of landmark legislation like the Clean Air Act, the Ryan White AIDS bill and laws mandating smoke-free airplanes, clearer nutritional labeling and access to generic drugs.