Monday, February 24, 2014
Congressman John Dingell, Jr., The Grand Inquisitor, Is Retiring After 58 Years: Finally!
Congressman John Dingell, Jr. joined today the herd of 3½ dozen Congressmen and Senators who have announced their retirement from Congress this year. His retirement is singular because he is the longest serving member of Congress, 58 continuous years through 29 terms. He was first elected in 1955, succeeding his father, John Dingell, Sr., who served from 1932 until his death in1932, Representative Dingell hopes his wife succeeds him, thereby keeping the seat in the family. Deborah Dingell is 30 years younger than her husband, and was a lobbyist for General Motors when they married. The 87 year old Congressman sais his health is good, but said “I do not want to be carried out feet first.” He added “I don’t want people to say I stayed too long.” Of course he did. He is a living argument for term limits. So are the other long term retirees, both Republicans and Democrats: Frank Wolf (R. Va.) 17 terms Howard Coble (R. N. Car.) 15 terms Buck McKeon (R. Cal.) 12 terms Tom Latham (R. Iowa) 10 terms Henry Waxman (D. Cal.) 20 terms George Miller (D. Cal.) 20 terms Bob Andrews (D. N.J.) 12 terms Jim Moran (D. Va.) 12 terms Carolyn McCarthy (D. N.Y.) 9 terms Mike McIntyre (D. N. Car.) 9 terms In addition, Senator Carl Levin (D. Mich.) is steeping aside after 35 years and Senator Max Baucus (D. Mont.) has left the Senate after 35 years to become Ambassador to China. Congressman Dingell was a dinosaur, carrying on the legacy of the New Deal and Great Society as the nation turned conservative. He was a bona fide liberal, being instrumental in the enactment of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Civil Rights Act, and Medicare. His life long dream of universal health care was achieved with the passage of ObamaCare. He should have retired with his good friend Bert Stupak (D. Mich.) in 2010. He finally realized that “This is not the Congress I know and love.” He added I find serving in the House to be obnoxious.” Of course it is a different Congress. The Democrats no longer control Congress. The Democrats controlled the House of Representatives for 40 years from 1954 to 1994. He was one of the Congressional Bulls, who chaired the powerful Congressional committees during the reign of Democratic hegemony. He lorded it over the Republicans until Newt Gingrich rallied them to fightback. Congressman Dingell chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 1981 to 1994. He quickly acquired a reputation as The Grand Inquisitor, or more aptly as a bully. He used his Chair to terrorize scientists, business executives and government workers, often without cause. Democrats today complain of the House hearings chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa (R. Cal.), but Congressman Issa has the facts to question the Obama Administration on issues such as Fast and Furious. Among the eminent scientists crucified by Congressman Dingell are Nobelist David Baltimore, President of Rockefeller University, and Robert Gallo, who linked the virus to AIDS. Chair Dingell also “took out” President Donald Kennedy of Stanford University on false charges of irregularities in government grants. Congressman Dingell was a reliable liberal, except on two issues. First, he was opposed to gun control, at one point being on the Board of the National Rifle association. Second, he was strongly supportive of the automobile industry. His current Congressional District includes the Ford Motor Company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. His largest campaign contributors are Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. He has served then well. The Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 midterm elections. They deposed him as Committee Chair in 2008, being replaced by Congressman Henry Waxman, representing smoggy Southern California. He should have realized that it was time to go when his own party dumped him. Representative Dingell served under 11 Presidents, and watched the decline of both Detroits, the city and the industry, during his tenure in Congress. He represented the city of Detroit and its suburbs and served Detroit, the industry. Not well! Congressman Dingell had become a caricature of himself.