Born in Colorado Springs in 1926, John Dingell (D-Mich.) took over from his father as a U.S. representative from Michigan in 1955 and has never stopped promoting his father’s progressive agenda. On February 24, Dingell announced that he would not seek a 30th term partly due to age and partly due to acrimony. In his prepared remarks he was all sweetness and light:
Around this time every two years, my wife Deborah [28 years his junior] and I confer on the question of whether I will seek reelection.
My standards are high for this job. I put myself to the test and have always known that when the time came that I felt I could not live up to my own personal standard for a Member of Congress, it would be time to step aside for someone else to represent this district.
He sang a different tune to the Detroit News:
I’m not going to be carried out feet first. I don’t want people to say I stayed too long....
It’s become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness both in Congress and in the streets.
The Dean of the House (a title granted to the longest-running member) probably had no idea that he, along with his father, are partly responsible for creating that atmosphere of acrimony and bitterness through the combined 80 years of pushing the American people around with extra-legal and unconstitutional laws and trampling of precious rights. As Fredric Bastiat expressed it so well more than 150 years ago, when the law is used as a bludgeon, people eventually get angry. When used as such a tool, said Bastiat, "the law destroys ... the rights of the person by way of slavery, liberty by way of oppression [and] property by way of plunder."
Dingell and his father, John D. Dingell, Sr., certainly used the law as a hammer to force citizens to comply with their progressive agenda. As early as 1933, Dingell, Sr., pushed for national health insurance under President Roosevelt. John T. Flynn called him a “New Deal stalwart.” He had no problem illegally arresting and jailing innocents, promoting in a letter dated August 18, 1941 to the president the incarceration of 10,000 Hawaiian Japanese Americans, using them as hostages to ensure the “good behavior” of the Japanese government.
Immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dingell, Sr. accused Admiral Kimmel and General Short of negligence and dereliction of duty, long before learning the facts behind the so-called “surprise” attack.
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Photo: John Dingell (D-Mich.)