The Note: Not Just a Slogan

"House Democratic leaders have voted to strip Representative John Dingell of his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce committee, replacing him with Henry Waxman," ABC's Jonathan Karl reports. "In a stinging rebuke, the House Steering committee voted 25-22 by secret ballot during a closed-door Democratic leadership meeting. The move was a dramatic one for House Democrats -- considered a victory for House liberals and environmentalists, a big defeat for Michigan and the auto industry."

But the full caucus votes Thursday. Give Dingell the votes of all the chairmen, plus the blue dogs, and really anyone who has a stake in the seniority system -- and what are you going to get?

"Dingell's supporters took that vote [in Steering and Policy] as a positive, suggesting the committee was packed with allies of Waxman's and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has, at times, split with Dingell, although she has officially remained neutral in Waxman's challenge for the chairmanship," Todd Spangler reports for the Detroit Free Press.

"We're in a much stronger position with the rank and file," said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., who is helping to line up support for Dingell.

The Washington Post's Paul Kane: "Much of President-elect Barack Obama's agenda will go through that panel, raising the stakes for the Waxman-Dingell race. And the chairman's contest comes as Detroit's Big Three automakers are pleading with Congress to approve a $25 billion rescue package, with Dingell's wife, Debbie, serving as an executive at cash-strapped General Motors."

Where the big money is placing its bets: "Of the two, Mr. Dingell is regarded as closer to businesses such as automakers, utilities and oil and gas producers. He's worked closely with Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, who is a frequent opponent of new environmental regulations," Dave Michaels writes in The Dallas Morning News.

As for House Republicans -- Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, cruises: "Boehner won a second two-year term as minority leader despite the GOP's loss of more than 20 House seats. He told colleagues that he would serve as a check on liberal policies pushed by President-elect Barack Obama and his allies in Congress, and vowed to seek out new ways to wage 'the battle of ideas' against Democrats," per ABC News.

Next for Boehner, and the GOP caucus: "I think that we've got to show the American people that we're the party of reform. And, the party of new ideas. I believe that our party believes in a smaller, more accountable government. And I think that we've got to earn that principle back, with the American people," Boehner tells Time's Jay Newton-Small.

Newton-Small: "So do you a have prediction about gaining back seats, taking back the House?

Boehner: "Oh, no no no. Let's just take this one-day at a time."

As for the rest of the team: "Republicans in the House of Representatives on Wednesday gave their bloc a decidedly more conservative -- and outspoken -- tone, as they voted in new leaders who have reputations as sharp-edged partisans," McClatchy's David Lightman reports.

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