What Might Have Been

An interesting point from Ezra Klein:

And though this is a direct victory for Waxman, it’s a quiet triumph for Pelosi. Without her tacit support, Waxman’s campaign would have quietly died. Meanwhile, few in the House will forget that she tried to solve this problem months ago by letting Dingell remain at Energy and Commerce and creating a new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Dingell fought her efforts, and managed to neuter the new committee. It has nothing more than an advisory role. But it’s now clear that what looked like a win for Dingell was actually prelude to a much larger loss. He not only loses jurisdiction over global warming, but over health care and most everything else.

Indeed. The Energy & Commerce Committee is very powerful, and even modulo climate change issues it would have been an extremely influential post with jurisdiction over, among other things, telecommunications policy. Indeed it’s a reminder that completely independent of the specifics of who chairs what, the general idea of separating the “energy” and “commerce” elements of the Energy & Commerce Committee is reasonably sound. In the real world, of course, it’s essentially impossible to change committee jurisdictions. But this is precisely how things wind up so out of whack in the first place. Everyone knows that the significance of telecommunications issues has changed a lot over the past 100 years but the committee rules stay the same.