Representative Henry Waxman is retiring. Waxman has been in Congress a long time. He got there in the aftermath of Watergate, back when disco was still cool, and he hung around, building seniority and an attachment to certain causes. Among them, health care and the environment.
Since he was one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act, he considered it his duty to stick around and:
… 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.
The supreme environmental issue is, of course, global warming and Waxman was saying, just a month or so back, that he intended to remain in Congress in order to devote himself to this cause, declaring with fetching modesty that:
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.
Now, he has changed his mind. One would not be going too far out on a limb in speculating that he has decided that the Democrats most likely will not regain control of the House in 2014 leaving him as merely a (very) long-serving member in the minority. No committee chairmanship.
Leaving the planet to look after itself.