Since the news Thursday night that former Rep. John Dingell, D.-MI, died at 92, the legendary lawmaker from Dearborn, Michigan has been lionized in the national media.
One now reads how Dingell was a bona fide “Man of the House:” the son of a congressman who succeeded his father in 1954 and went on to be America’s longest-serving member of Congress when he retired in 2014; the last World War II veteran in Congress; the last congressman to have known Franklin D. Roosevelt (whom he met while a congressional page in his teens).
Dingell also was a fervent believer in the power of the federal government who made little secret of his disdain for those who disagreed with him.
He spoke his mind on this subject on June 27, 2014, when he delivered his farewell address at the National Press Club.
In addressing a standing-room-only crowd, Dingell spoke of the years after he succeeded his late father, "New Deal" Democratic Rep. John Dingell Sr., who served from 1933-1955, as a period "when Congress worked ... with goodwill and mutual respect, with colleagues who were interested in seeing the nation grow [and] put the partisan label on the shelf.
"That's how it was," said Dingell, adding that "'coming together' is the meaning of the word Congress" and that "Congress has not been doing much coming together lately."
Among the reasons for this cited by the veteran lawmaker were recent redistricting of House districts by state legislatures and the "Citizens United" decision opening the way for "spending unlimited amounts of unidentified money to allow certain people to swing elections."
As to why he feels the Supreme Court reached the "Citizens United" decision he so hated, the veteran lawmaker replied, "Money, and the fact that almost the entire court was selected on the basis of legal training and not ideology
But Dingell focused particular fury as a reason Congress is not working on the anti-tax pledge of Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), in which candidates for Congress sign a written promise not to vote for new taxes or raise existing taxes.
Insisting that taxpayer-funded programs are needed for "Americans living in the most dangerous circumstances," the Michigan man charged that "the Grover Norquist pledge is to carry out [Norquist's] goal of shrinking the size of government until you can drown it in a bathtub — his words, not mine."
After questsin read Dingell's words to him later that day, Norquist replied: "It's very flattering and there's real wisdom in his words. Mr. Dingell is wrong in citing me, but quite correct in citing the pledge as a substantial blow to the left. This is a high honor."
Dingell also excoriated the concept of term limits that day and proclaimed his pride in being a part of a “political dynasty” that held his U.S. House district for more than eighty years. He correctly predicted his successor would be wife Deborah, adding that she would win because she was “smarter” than he was.
John�Gizzi�is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for questsin. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.