Waxman, a Dissent

A disgruntled Goldblog reader writes, in reference to my post on Henry Waxman:

Why are you plugging Waxman without applying even a modicum of Goldbergian skepticism (which is why I read you every day)? Do you buy Waxman's line that his Judaism informs his liberalism? Either his theology is expansive, or his politics are irreducibly theological and therefore beyond the pale of civic discourse.

Since he does not seem to observe the impulse to halacha in a great deal of public policy matters (such as abortion or homosexuality, to name two obvious ones), one must assume he waves the flag of tikkun olam only as it befits his political theology and policy goals. That's fine -- it's no shock to see a politician grab the scripture when it suits him. But why pretend that it's nothing other than opportunistic when it happens. I doubt seriously that the major sources of Judaism -- especially the paleo-liberals of their day, the major prophets -- would have anything to say in the current health care debate, other than "heal the sick, ask questions later." Nobody disputes that goal -- the question is how to do it best. Does Waxman speak for the Judaic sources when he says we have to have a public option?

Bottom-line: You wouldn't give a free pass to a conservative politician claiming that scripture informs his/her policies. Why does Waxman get one? (And I say this all with great respect for the man, who is a devoted public servant, albeit incredibly misguided. I've also seen him in shul regularly, so at least he's not a total poseur.)