Congressmen are people too, and they only have so many years on this earth, so I hate to read too much into a retirement. But what’s interesting about the decision of Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is that just last month — on December 11 to be precise — he made a lengthy post on his campaign blog about why he’s running again in 2014.
The post, brought to my attention on Twitter by National Journal’s Alex Seitz-Wald, was pulled offline today shortly after news of Waxman’s intentions were leaked. But it’s still available through the Wayback Machine.
Waxman’s rationale for running again is that many things he wants to accomplish will not be resolved by the end of this term, so he intends to continue the fight. His first priority? Climate Change (my emphasis below):
I am leading a coalition in the House of Representatives that is focused on reducing the risk posed by climate change. I’ve been deeply involved in this issue for many years and recognize it won’t be resolved by 2014. But given the devastating consequences climate change has for our country and our planet, I intend to continue this fight.
Along the same lines, Obamacare:
I feel the same way about my efforts to make sure the landmark health reform law is implemented in the best possible way because the decisions over the coming years will impact millions of American families. My role as the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee gives me a strong platform to influence those choices, and to shape a federal budget that not only promotes economic growth, but protects our seniors and the most vulnerable in our society. These challenges — and others — won’t be resolved by the end of this congressional term, but I want to see them through.
He then goes on about the need for bipartisanship, and promotes himself as someone who can restore it.
The obvious takeaway here is that Democrats have no confidence in their ability to take back the House in 2014. If they did, he’d be excited about becoming chairman again of the House Energy and Commerce committee. (Waxman made his name as Oversight chairman when Bush was president, but lost interest in Oversight when Obama was elected.)
On a related note, Waxman holds a D+11 district. But Waxman still had a rough time of it last cycle — practically nobody noticed, but he almost lost his seat. A wealthy candidate named Bill Bloomfield (a longtime-moderate-Republican-donor-turned-unaffiliated-voter) put $7.6 of his own money into an independent bid against Waxman and held him under 54 percent in the general election. Bloomfield has actually raised $75,000 already this cycle, but he might just be paying himself back some of the loans he made his campaign.