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July 02, 2002

Polygon hails Dingell Demise

Larry Kestenbaum, as expert a political voice as exists in the blogosphere on Michigan politics, has a detailed autopsy on Rep. John Dingell's career and why he deserves to lose the primary he has been forced into against fellow Democrat Lynn Rivers.
...While I share Larry's problems with Dingell's haphazard (at best) record on the environment and would probably vote for Rivers in the primary, I have far more fondness for Dingell (possibly enhanced by my distance :)
...Part of that fondness is the fact that Dingell stayed in office after the Democrats lost the House in 1994, when so many other senior Dems (such as Patricia Schoeder) abandoned their seats when they lost the perks of power. I hated the quitters of that period and liked that Dingell took up minority status with gusto and kept on fighting.
...As for the sins cited by Larry, some are serious in my mind, such as his environmental and abortion record, some more mixed, such as his crusades against university research abuses and gun control, and others are reasons I quite like Dingell.
...Dingell was one of 21 House members to vote against the May 2 "Solidarity with Israel" resolution, which endorsed the Sharon regime even as they were brutalizing Palestinian towns. Dissenting on that vote is a major plus in my book.
...As for Dingell's history of fighting telecom deregulation and defending the Baby Bells, that just makes him a hero for me. The WorldCom fraud is nothing besides the tens of billions stolen from consumers for the benefit of big business in the name of telecom "competition", which was all about taking solid union jobs from the Bells and handing them over to the financial speculators like WorldCom. I've written on why I think the Dingell-Tauzin bill is good for both consumers and workers and the role of deregulation in the telecom meltdown.
...And its worth emphasizing a few points in Dingell's favor that Larry skipped over. Dingell was a fierce investigator of the insider trading and deals that were left uninvestigated once he lost his chairmanship. And Dingell was a proud and determined advocate of single-payer national health insurance.
...So I will have no particular joy in seeing his departure from the House if he loses the primary. The public has had far worse advocates in Congress.
...Also, check out Max Sawicky's comments on Dingell and the blue collar/McGovernite split among progressive values.

Posted by Nathan at July 2, 2002 01:25 PM

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