Burt's Eye View: Henry Waxman Responds

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A while ago, I wrote a piece titled “Blowing the Whistle on Waxman.” In case you missed it, I explained that Henry Waxman and I had been friends beginning almost 50 years ago at UCLA. I also said that we had seen each other infrequently over the intervening years once he went to Sacramento as a state assemblyman and later to Washington as a member of Congress.



Over the years, I moved politically from left to right, while Henry moved from left to far left to over the edge. Still, I had a soft spot for him and, as a result, refrained from including his name when I would list the usual suspects, those left-wingers like Pelosi, Reid, Rangel, Boxer and Murtha, who were doing their utmost to destroy America.

However, once Obama was elected and began pushing his radical agenda, while simultaneously surrounding himself with advisors who should never have been allowed within a mile of the White House, Henry began feeling his oats. Suddenly, with the Democrats in control of the House, he was no longer a back-bencher. He even got to have his name on a piece of major legislation, the Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade bill, a singular disaster that would send all of our energy costs soaring while simultaneously providing China and India with a tremendous advantage over what remains of our American industry.

That was bad enough, but even after those notorious ACORN videos aired on Glenn Beck’s TV show, Waxman and 74 of his left-wing cronies on Capitol Hill voted to continue funding ACORN, and that cut the Gordian knot for me. At that point, even old school ties weren’t enough to dissuade me, and, in a very sad frame of mind, I wrote the article.

An hour or so after it was posted, I received an email from Waxman’s office in Washington. It began: “Dear Burt, I can understand that we have disagreements about politics. I can see that you have some embarrassment about our past friendship, but you are not responsible for me and I am not (thank G-d) responsible for your views or actions. But I do resent that whatever I may have said to you in a conversation years ago is now being dredged up (and maybe made up) to make me look bad. I never thought I had to remember things I may have said to you to be provocative at the time, would be repeated and distorted, as if it were ‘on the record.’"

(Note: Just for the record, I made up nothing and I distorted nothing. What I said he said about the steroid-using baseball players he called before his committee was exactly what he said; namely that he had no idea they were even famous until he saw his fellow congressmen lining up for their autographs; and, in response to a question I posed strictly out of curiosity, replied that he had no idea how long after an athlete stopped using steroids, they would continue to show up in drug tests. Besides, neither of those statements is particularly provocative. They merely indicate how unqualified and unaware a congressman can be and still feel himself entitled to sit in judgment of other people. The other thing I addressed in the article was Henry’s boasting that he and his colleagues were going to investigate Fox for biased news reporting, and my responding that I thought it was a swell idea so long as they then did the same with the NY Times, the three major networks, CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post. That time, I even had a totally impartial witness, my wife Yvonne.)

Responding to his first paragraph, I wrote: “Dear Henry, I don’t blame you in the least for being angry. But you can imagine how I felt when I saw your name included with the other 74 Democrats who voted to continue funding an organization as corrupt and vile as ACORN. For the life of me, I could not think of a single reason why you would wish to align yourself, even for partisan political reasons, with a group that has not only been guilty of election fraud, but, as those now famous videos made clear, have no objection to assisting a pimp to set up a brothel. And not just any brothel, but one employing abducted 13-year-old girls from Latin America. Also, I did send you a note some months ago wishing you a speedy recovery when I heard that you had been rushed off to the hospital, so even though you never acknowledged it, it would suggest I’m not entirely heartless.”

Waxman’s email went on: “As I recall our poker friendship, you used to keep a card with every cent I ever lost to you to be sure you were paid. When you sent out a letter pleading for your friends to help you out at a difficult financial time in your life, you promised that you would repay every cent. I sent you $100. I never asked you for the money, nor have you offered to repay it. I did not want to embarrass you then or now. But since you have no hesitation to try to publicly hold me up to scorn, I see no reason not to ask you to repay your debt to me. I would like to use that money to donate to the ACLU or some other group that will defend your rights, along with everyone else, to free speech and other Constitutional protections. Sincerely, Henry Waxman.”

To this, I replied, “The card you mention was not for poker losses. Those were always minimal because none of us had any money, and were invariably paid off at the end of the game. The card was to keep track of the money I loaned you, and which you took an extremely long time to repay. It was to help you continue playing blackjack during one of our occasional trips to Tahoe or Vegas. I am truly sorry, though, that I did not pay back the $100. That was an oversight because in moving from one rental to another, as circumstances forced us to do several times once Hollywood ageism made me unemployable, I lost the IOU list. When, some years later, I was finally able to earn some money, I did pay back those whose names I remembered and those who subsequently reminded me. I regret that I forgot your generosity. I will have the check in the mail to you this afternoon. You are free, of course, to donate it to the ACLU, to ACORN or even to help pay for Nancy Pelosi’s next facelift. It’s your money, after all, unlike the money that Waxman-Markey will cost American taxpayers and American businesses. Regards, Burt.”)

Do I regret that Henry Waxman is one of 250-odd Democrats who are only too happy to rubberstamp every piece of legislative lunacy concocted by Obama, Axelrod, Emanuel, Jarrett, Holdren, Jennings, Sunstein and Jeff Jones? Of course. Do I regret that Henry Waxman has so totally lost his moral compass that even when 172 of his fellow liberals voted to stop funding ACORN, he stood steadfast with the sleazebags? You bet.

Worst of all, he probably sees it as being politically courageous. On the other hand, normal human beings, who haven’t spent most of their adult lives feeding at the public trough, recognize it as aiding and abetting.

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