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The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works Hardcover – July 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
After 35 years in the House of Representatives, Waxman, the mustached congressman from California, offers a very readable insider's account of his 35 years in the House. The longtime governmental watchdog crusaded for AIDS awareness, the Clean Air Act and stronger tobacco regulations as chairman of the Health and Environment subcommittee. The book chronicles the strategies and horse trading necessary to enact these regulations, including coalition building, raising public awareness and remaining informed on the countless issues affecting his constituency. Waxman doesn't romanticize his position, and admits that the qualities that have best served him have been patience, a knack for finding allies... and the ability to persevere. His conviction that government can better the lives of citizens is uplifting and strengthened by his record of implementing landmark legislation. The book frequently reads too much like a civics lesson to be fully engrossing, but the explanation of the workings of a widely misunderstood government body is a public service from a committed civil servant. (July)
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"A very readable insider's account... Waxman's conviction that government can better the lives of citizens is uplifting and strengthened by his record of implementing landmark legislation... the explanation of the workings of a widely misunderstood government body is a public service from a committed civil servant." (Publishers Weekly)
A welcome look at the internal workings of the legislative branch-- essential for political junkies. (Kirkus)
"Pretty faces and promising careers tend to flash across our local political firmament with the frequency of shooting stars -- and with about as much effect. But for more than two decades, the most consequential elected official in Southern California has been a short, bald, decidedly mustached congressman from Los Angeles' Westside named Henry Waxman . . . the congressman, now 69, has, along with his collaborator Joshua Green of the Atlantic magazine, produced something unexpected and rather fine. THE WAXMAN REPORT is part compelling memoir, part fascinating, shrewd civics lesson and part bracing statement of practical idealism. It's impossible to put down and a joy to read -- a model, in fact, of lucid exposition. If your plans for the long Independence Day weekend incline toward thoughts on the state of the nation, skip all the patriotic kitsch and read this book . . . The timing is fortuitous, because Waxman is more than ever at the center of events, since the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chairs, shares jurisdiction over the energy and healthcare issues key to President Obama's agenda . . . One of the pleasures of THE WAXMAN REPORT is tracing the origins of these signature traits to his Los Angeles boyhood . . . Most of all, it's a detailed inside account of just how the nation's laws are made. It succeeds as storytelling because Waxman and Green have structured most of the book as a series of narrative examples built around major bills. Thus chapters are titled, for instance, 'HIV/AIDS and the Ryan White Act,' 'The Orphan Drug Act,' 'The Clean Air Act' and 'The Tobacco Wars.' There's a fascinating chapter on baseball and steroids as well. Most of all, there's a persuasive declaration of faith in that particular brand of liberalism that the late Arthur Schlesinger called 'the politics of remedy.' As Waxman puts it, 'In Boyle Heights, everyone thought of government as an institution that helped people' . . . As this heartfelt, important little book will remind its readers, there's a lot to be said for the faith of our fathers." (Los Angeles Times)
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Instead of writing the usual political autobiography, Waxman has written an account based around five different laws he worked on and two major oversight investigations. That focus allows Waxman to demonstrate the give and take involved in being in Congress, show some of the obstinate personalities that are there, and describe some of the most important health and safety issues of the past thirty years.
Ironically, Waxman's subtitle is "How Congress Really Works." But Congress does not really work this way for everyone, as most people up there are more interested in scoring cheap political points that solving problems. But this is how Congress works for Waxman and a few others like him.
The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works
The book I ordered from Amazon was a Christmas gift for one such person.
Midwest Independent Research, educational websites. Democracy and politics, mwir-democracyandpolitics.blogspot. There are book lists here.
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I finally finished reading that book by Henry Waxman and was once again...Read more