Time Magazine Raps Rep. Dingell Firmly Across the Knuckles
In the October 5, 2009 issue of Time magazine, the Special Report is titled “The Tragedy of Detroit.” In a sidebar to the piece titled “How Detroit Lost Its Way,” the magazine editors singled out Representative John Dingell for political pandering. They write, “In an effort to prop up their constituencies, politicians like John D. Dingell resisted sensible policies, like more-stringent mileage standards, that would have helped Detroit compete today.”
In Ann Arbor, Dingell represents the direct line to the Federal teat. Local politicos curry his favor, seek his endorsements, and lap up his modest financial support for their City Council and state-level campaigns. In August 2009, thanks to his endorsement of Third Ward incumbent Leigh Greden, in the face of Greden’s involvement with the still-unfolding Council email scandal, Ann Arbor constituents gave Representative Dingell an earful. The message was clear: John Dingell had no business endorsing a Council candidate with such a clear record of ethical lapses. Ann Arbor emailers and letter writers alike urged Representative Dingell to withdraw his endorsement of Leigh Greden. To be fair to Representative Dingell, Greden had asked for the endorsement in February of 2009, well, before the Ann Arbor News broke the story of Greden’s involvement in the email scandal. Be that as it may, there were those who dubbed Representative Dingell’s support of Greden a serious political mistake.
Despite the pressure from his Ann Arbor constituents, Dingell did not withdraw with endorsement with any kind of flourish. However, the final piece of campaign literature distributed by the Greden campaign did not list Representative Dingell as one of the candidate’s endorsers. Greden’s subsequent loss was a serious blow to the Dingell Machine in Ann Arbor, a group that includes County Commissioner Leah Gunn.
Leah Gunn is, at the moment, running the City Council campaign for Fourth Ward Council candidate Marcia Higgins. Still no web site up for Higgins. Fourth Ward challenger Hatim Elhady’s web site went up yesterday. It remains to be seen if Higgins will run on endorsements, and expect them to save her from her own record of inaction, inattentiveness and high-handedness with constituents. Her involvement in the email scandal was at the same level as Greden’s; right along with her third Ward partner in crime, she scripted debates, rigged votes, and deliberated secretly via email during open meetings. Thus, it remains to be seen if Representative Dingell, stung from Greden’s loss, will lend a political hand to Marcia Higgins with either an endorsement or a donation.
Even more interesting, it remains to be seen if Dingell with face a Democratic challenger in his next race. Seems that Democratic Party officials in Washington are slowly, but surely, hanging Detroit’s long-time “panderer” out to dry. If there arose a Democratic challenger with environmental cred, and the ability to speak the language of both the A2 white collar crowd and the Dearborn blue collar crowd, John Dingell might find himself pushed into retirement sooner rather than later.
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