February 25, 2014 at 1:00 am


Left, right reflect on Congressman Dingell

Making John Dingell cry

Karen Tumulty in the Washington Post : The first time I ever interviewed John Dingell, I made him cry.

At the time — March 1993 — he was at the height of his powers, and had a well-earned reputation as the most fearsome, intimidating figure on Capitol Hill. His nickname was “The Truck,” which was a reference both to the fact that he stood 6-foot-3 and to the effect he had on those who stood in his way.

Then as now, health reform was the hottest topic in Washington.

As Dingell began telling me about his father, whose unfulfilled dreams had shaped his own legislative career, he put his glasses down on the conference table at which we sat and began to wipe away tears. His massive shoulders shook with sobs. “Pop was not an ideologue; he was a philosopher,” he said of the late Rep. John D. Dingell Sr. “He did a lot of thinking on things where you could make this country better, fairer.”

On stage too long

John Fund, on National Review Online : John Dingell was a walking advertisement for term limits. Until 1995, he chaired a behemoth that had jurisdiction over everything from health care to telecommunications to food safety and energy policy.

When Dingell was once asked to define its scope, he pointed to a photo of the Earth behind his desk and smiled. When Dems took back control of the House in 2007, Dingell was blocked from reclaiming his gavel after losing to an even more extreme regulator, Rep. Henry Waxman of California.