Imagine, if you will, the rankest, most miasmic, nauseating swamp imaginable. Now, imagine spending 53 long years submerged in it.
If you can do that, then you might be able to appreciate what Michigan's 82-year-old Rep. John Dingell has sacrificed for his country…
Now 82, Dingell will walk into the Capitol on Wednesday as the House's longest-serving member, entering the record books after leading a powerful committee, doggedly investigating government malfeasance and keeping a watchful eye on his home state's auto industry.
Dingell, who succeeded his late father in December 1955 in a Democratic-leaning district outside Detroit, will surpass the late Rep. Jamie Whitten, D-Miss., who served for more than 53 years.
I suppose that, all things considered, 53 years spent in Congress might have been preferable to 53 years spent in Michigan.
I mean, I started writing about politics to escape New Jersey. I guess we all do what we have to do.
Tags: House of Representatives, John Dingell, Michigan
* Markos Moulitsas points out that the Senate is pretty much just as worthless under Obama as it was under Bush.
* Todd Beeton wants to know if Joe Lieberman will ever be held responsible for anything.
* No casualties reported in Rahm Emanuel's first meetings with GOP congressional leadership.
* Ron Paul wants to kill taxes on personal income and replace them with taxes on nothing. (Part 2 to his Freakonomics readers' interview.)
* As Congress brushes off Dingell, Big Three take a dump.
* The Onion: Editorial "I'm not one of those 'Love thy neighbor' Christians"
* Turns out Christmas was the only thing holding our fragile economy together all those years. How about that?
Tags: Arizona, Auto Industry, Christianity, Christmas, Economy, House of Representatives, Janet Napolitano, Joe Lieberman, John Dingell, John McCain, Markos Moulitsas, Rahm Emanuel, Ron Paul, Senate, Taxes, The Onion
The above title is my attempt to increase traffic from gay porn searches. There is a grand skirmish in the Democratic Party, as tree-hugging nudist Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Californication) pushes out John Dingell (D-General Motors) to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
You may remember Waxman from the series of lonely unrequited letters about torture, CIA leaks, fake Niger uranium, etc. he sent to President Bush when the Democrats were in the minority.
Waxman's leadership indicates a huge change for the Committee, namely that large portions of environmental and energy policy should be dictated by the state with the most stringent rules on auto emissions and gas mileage (and most cars and miles of freeway), rather than a state beholden to an industry bent on thwarting those changes.
This upends the traditional seniority system for House committee chairmanships.
"Seniority is important, but it should not be a grant of property rights to be chairman for three decades or more," Waxman said after emerging from the caucus meeting.
Committee chairs will now be selected based on contests including best mustache and shiniest head.
Tags: Address The Mess, California, Environment, Henry Waxman, House of Representatives, John Dingell, Michigan
Join former United States Senate Pages Dylan and Ethan Ris as they bring you the dish on not just the presidential race but all the exciting triumphs and disgraces inside, outside, and below the Beltway!
Old Dogs, New Tricks! Last week the Pages profiled some of the youngest candidates running for Congress in 2008. Today we're reporting on the House's current elder statesmen — the men whose spittoons those youngsters would need to empty as Congressional Freshmen. Now we all know age is the new race, but don't bust out the "geezers only" drinking fountains just yet! These geriatrics are legends of the House of Representatives:
Name Claim to Fame 2008 Election Prospects
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), 85 years old
Said of George W. Bush: "We have a good president. I pray for him. Sometimes I'd like to pull down his britches and switch him, but I still love him." In 2004, Hall switched to the GOP from the Democrats– his party since his earlier defection from the Whigs. All his bases are covered.
Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH), 83 years old.
Single-handedly responsible for ensuring that Mt. McKinley remains named after one of our worst presidents, and is never officially recognized by its actual name, Denali. Regula recently announced that he would retire from Congress this year, citing his desire to spend more time with his children before they die of old age.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), 82 years old.
Was a guest of honor at a bizarre coronation ceremony for The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who was crowned as "humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent," while Bartlett watched. Bartlett has outfundraised his opponent, Jennifer Dougherty, 15 to one. If he can restrain himself from spending it all on Vicks Vapo-Rub, he should coast to victory.
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), 82 years old.
Reigning Congressional poetry slam champion. Valiantly napped through George W. Bush's State of the Union speech, winning him points with his liberal Michigan constituency. He's a shoo-in for his 28th term, which will set a House record.
Doris "Granny D" Haddock, 98 years old
Although not technically in Congress, Granny D ran against Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) in the 2004 election, winning 34% of the vote in the general election. Granny D is not on the ballot in 2008, but she has begun walking to Washington just in case she wins as a write-in.
(Note: Compared to Robert Byrd and Ted Stevens, this crowd is middle-aged. Check back later for the Senate edition!)
Tags: Congressional Confidential, John Dingell, Ralph Hall