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Nobody make a move, or else the clout gets it

by: Eric B.

Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 14:06:47 PM EST


Every time a long-time Congresscritter leaves office, at some point there is a bit of hand wringing about how it will reduce Michigan's clout in Congress. The idea is that your clout grows the longer you serve in the same way that the longer you can keep a player character alive in Dungeons and Dragons, eventually they become very powerful through the accumulation of experience points. At this point, John Dingell is the mage who can literally control the weather and Carl Levin is the cleric who can make wraiths turn to dust by simply glowering at them. Both of them are leaving and will be replaced by first level characters: Whoever gets Dingell's seat will be able to cast maybe one or two magic missiles a day, and Levin's replacement will have a hard time making skeletons turn and run.

An overlooked part of this, however, is that the new people bring new ideas to Congress. With all due respect to Dingell, the district he started representing is no longer the district it is today and while he championed a lot of important environmental legislation early in his career, towards the end his alliance with the auto industry prompted him to oppose or slow things like hikes in fuel efficiency standards and legislation intended to address climate change. This is why he was replaced as Energy committee chairman by Henry Waxman.

Eric B. :: Nobody make a move, or else the clout gets it
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Vote for Galstaf, Sorceror of Light! (0.00 / 0)
Galstaf: I wanna cast...Magic Missile!
DM: Why are you casting Magic Missile? There's nothing to attack.
Galstaf: I'm attacking...THE DARKNESS!!
(Hilarity ensues)

Ah, the Dead Alewives. Nothing like a defunct, barely-remembered 90s-era Milwaukee-based improv troupe to set a new standard for MichLib commentary.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison


Especially in Michigan (0.00 / 0)
You are so right about the benefits of an infusion of new ideas from new people.  Clout, schmout.  What Michigan congressional Democrats need is some new blood.  This isn't a knock on the old guard at all.  When you look at John Dingell and Carl Levin you are inspired by their example. But they are not the future and I respect that they bowed out with dignity and not infirmity. Same goes for Dale Kildee.  They are honorable fellows.  

I don't intend it as a knock on Levin/Dingell (0.00 / 0)
It's kind of hard to express this without it coming off as a "Geezers need to step aside" thing, but it's not.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Detroit News (0.00 / 0)
This is the Detroit News trolling.  You can read it in between the lines; it's almost gleeful.  Guess what, News?  Powerful congressmembers eventually get old and they quit, and then members have to replace them in build their own.  Surprised, right?  

Seriously, what was the point of this piece beyond the New concern trolling?  This is the natural order of things.  These are 70 and 80-year-old men we have representing Southeast Michigan.  Some would argue that at least two of the three have long sense overstayed their welcome, but they stuck around for the clout.  Are they required to stay around until they die in office?

This isn't the News caring about congressional clout.  This is the New reveling in a loss of power for long-serving Michigan Dems, and trying to spin the natural end of their time in the legislature as some kind of existential bad news for Michigan instead of celebrating their long careers and accomplishments.


It's pretty standard political coverage (0.00 / 0)
They've been doing stories on our aging Congressional delegation for years, and every time someone leaves office, there are stories about Michigan's declining clout. If it's not the News, it's the Free Press, or it's Gongwer/MIRS, or it's Politico, or someone else who does this stuff.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
Too bad they didn't support Lynn Rivers (1.50 / 2)
Back in their primary, when Dingell had no clout at all in a Republican congress, he should have stepped aside. She had 8 years seniority, and would have grown more with passing time.

He had all the seniority he'd ever have, and squandered it so badly for healthcare and environment (and alienated so many other members) he was removed from decision making power.

But he wasn't thinking about the state, he was only concerned with himself.

So now we'll have somebody with 0 years seniority.


[ Parent ]

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