A pretty good piece in today’s New York Times profiling Representative John Dingell (D-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. To be sure, it’s the usual old storyline: Old-guard chairman insists on traditional political prerogatives, now running up against the push by younger House Democrats — younger being a relative term — to impose new government controls over the economy to halt supposed man-made global warming.
When Ms. Pelosi created a new committee on energy independence and global warming in January, Mr. Dingell attacked it as a potential encroachment on his turf. Though Ms. Pelosi assured him the new panel would have no legislative authority, he scornfully remarked that it would be “as useful as feathers on a fish.”
Behind the scenes, Mr. Dingell fumes that Ms. Pelosi and other comparatively young House leaders are trying to dictate his schedule and his priorities. He grumbles about colleagues who are too “ideological,” too impatient and too unrealistic about the costs of slowing global warming. He implies that Ms. Pelosi cares more about being “green” in California than about blue-collar workers in Michigan.
Note that last sentence. It’s the only reference, implicit or otherwise, in the entire story to Dingell’s desire to represent his constituents — an important consideration often omitted from these profiles of the chairman. We have no doubt that Dingell’s insistence on balance and caution and minimizing harm to the automobile industry reflects the views of a majority of constituents. Reporters would do well to make note of that fact.
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