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'Big John' Dingell Deploys Forces To Crush Waxman

The Dingell Machine is rallying K Street to help save the venerable Rep. John Dingell's chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Sleuth has obtained an email that Dingell's' chief of staff sent out at 11:35 p.m. last night to lobbyists and other well-connected Democrats providing "talking points" to promote Dingell and urging them to "gather intelligence" on Rep. Henry Waxman's brazen coup attempt to seize Dingell's beloved gavel.

Waxman and Dingell
Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.).(The Associated Press)

"Hey team," the email from Dingell chief of staff Michael Robbins begins. He thanks everyone for their phone calls and offers of support and spells out how the troops can help out to keep Chairman Dingell, 82, at the helm.

"We have attached some talking points for you to use when you are around town and talking to people," Robbins says. "I also included two great press clips below on stories that are worth reading and sharing with friends."

He attached two clips from Capitol Hill newspapers, one from The Hill, the other from (the subscription only) Roll Call, detailing Waxman's designs on Dingell's chair and pointing out Speaker Nancy Pelosi's complicit silence in the matter. And he suggests everyone report back to headquarters immediately with whatever buzz they're picking up on the streets.

"Another way that you can be helpful to us is to gather intelligence," Robbins writes. "Please send send me info that you are hearing from Members and their staffs. I don't need to elaborate on that further, you know what is useful and what is not. Keep the info flowing please."

Below is the full text of the letter, which begins with a "quote of the day."

Quote of the day: "Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.), one Dingell backer on the call, said when Waxman called him looking for support, Doyle asked him "rather pointedly" why Democrats should depose the current chairman. "And he was unable to give me a single reason why Dingell shouldn't be chairman of the committee, other than he thought he would be a better chairman," Doyle said." - Roll Call

Hey team -

Many of you have reached out in the past 36 hours to offer your support and assistance to Chairman Dingell. Thank you.

As you have probably heard, Chairman Dingell quickly organized a whip team and began making phone calls. The response has been outstanding. Chairman Dingell locked up a substantial number of commitments across the caucus yesterday including Blue Dogs, New Dems, CBC and CHC Members, California members, leadership, and freshmen.

The Dingell whip team was assembled and actively making calls yesterday and all day today. The team continues to grow and today we reached out to every member of the Democratic Caucus.

We are getting tremendous support so far. Members understand we need a strong, effective legislator who has the proven ability to address the complex issues facing our nation such as healthcare and energy policy. Chairman John Dingell has the best credentials for this job.

We have attached some talking points for you to use when you are around town and talking to people. I also included two great press clips below on stories that are worth reading and sharing with friends.

Another way that you can be helpful to us is to gather intelligence. Please send me info that you are hearing from Members and their staffs. I don't need to elaborate on that further, you know what is useful and what is not. Keep the info flowing please!

Again, thank you for your support and friendship.

Michael Robbins

Chief of Staff

By Mary Ann Akers  |  November 7, 2008; 7:51 AM ET
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Dingell is a corrupt old coot, a part of the old-style pork-snorting dirty group like Rostenkowski and Murtha. Look who he called first: the K Street lobbyists who gorge at his trough of corruption.

People should call their congresspeople and oust these old fogeys. Even Robert Byrd, who is apparently a good man but addicted to earmarks for West Virginia, was gracious enough to step down today. So should Dingell.

We need some progressive reformers in the powerful chairmanships. Enough with the me-first attitude. Do something for the American public.

Posted by: Pupster | November 7, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Dingel has been supplying the Detroit Automakers with their yearly dose of heroin by blocking fuel efficiency standards. Either he goes or Detroit will continue to be strung out, begging for money, no hope for the future because they think Dingel is doing them a favor. Dingel needs to go.

Posted by: gjcomm | November 8, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse


I completely agree.

Hey, if we Boomers (aged 50 - 65) were deemed too old to rule, what the heck does that say about the 80 - 90 year-old crowd??

Byrd steps down, he's 91. Whom does he pass the gavel to?

Inouye. He's 84.

I have been convinced that the world is moving so fast that we probably need to hand the reins over to younger leaders. And I say this as a young and fit 52-year-old who's been in college for 3 years learning a new field.

Yes, there is a wisdom that comes with age. But these young folks are being handed a total nightmare. They should at least have a major role in how the nightmare is resolved.


Posted by: DickeyFuller | November 8, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

My husband and I were blogging on ABC News yesterday about Obama and all our posts have been deleted. What happened to freedom of speech. They were not mean and we did not use filthy language in the blogs we just stated some facts!!!

Posted by: pattyduke45 | November 9, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Indications are that Huckabee may be getting ready to announce that he plans to run in 2012, according to
They have a article there about Huckabees 2012 Campaign Website. Hopefully the GOP will wise up and get behind the only GOP contender that appeals to the working class. Huckabee is awesome. Came from Working Class Roots did a great Job in Arkensaw. I myself an independant couldnt see voting for any other GOP contender. Besides after watching the video Huckabee Hearts Obama on Youtube. Why would I want to vote anyother way.!!!

Posted by: pastor123 | November 9, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Dingell needs to go - he and the automotive industry have been partners in driving this segment of our economy into the ground. Dingell is stubborn, plain and simple - his resistance to upping fuel economy standards has sunk the auto industry and lead to the biggest transfer of wealth in history.

Change is coming - and Dingell needs to go.

Posted by: GameChanger | November 10, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

With the American people voting for change
the "old bulls" of the House should come to terms that their days are over. No one represtative has done more to enable the auto industry to stonewall clean air adjustments that John Dingall. He has been in the K St pockets for decades. Two years ago, when the House went back to Democratic hands he reverted to his old ways, completely misunderstanding what the voters were saying. Henry Waxman should be given the opportunity to bring change to the House. New House members should be given the opportunity to serve. ( I am 70 and knew when to step aside )

Posted by: tkenygroup | November 10, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey Pattyduke, welcome to the future. Censorship is on the rise. There is no true freedom of speech just as there is no free market. Keep plugging away though and spread the word. Look who Obama is surrounding himself with - a bunch of retreads from past administrations. "Meet the new boos, same as the old boss" "Same as it ever was, same as it ever was". Yes, he may keep us out a war with Iran and we may get out of Iraq sooner but we will continue to burden our children and grandchildren with more debt as the transfer of wealth from our back to the ruling elite continues. We need to take back the control of our money supply from the privately run Federal Reserve. Read Web of Debt people. Great book.

Posted by: saxahydros | November 10, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

To pastor123 who is enamored of Mike Huckabee.
While I admit that he is a likeable fellow with a quick wit and solid conservative values, we here in Arkansas are also familiar with his giving pardons to killers, one of whom went on to kill again.
He raised taxes here and refused to take a firm stand on the school funding mandate given by the State Supreme court in the Lakeview case.
When he left the office of Governer he ordered all State computers to have their hard drives removed and smashed, what he was hiding, no one knows. He is one charming guy but he would not get my vote for dogcatcher.

Posted by: GenoARK | November 10, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

While new leadership is desirable, I don't want to see Waxman's power increase. The guy is rabidly anti vitamin and alternative medicine, for one thing, which is just one example of his belief that people are not qualified to make their own decisions and the government should do that for them.

Posted by: SuzyQ847 | November 11, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Tkenygroup is right. Dingle should step down voluntarily, otherwise be removed. His consistent blockage of reasonable mileage/clean air standards has deeply injured his district, the auto industry and the nation as a whole. He is a Dinosaur whose time has past. Waxman shows perception, guts and great dedication to the nations' best long term interests.

Posted by: Boomer4 | November 11, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Dingell represents a blue colar working class district in the detroit area. waxman (who is 69 and not exactly a new face in DC)represents one of the wealthiest areas in the country. dingell does a very good job representing his constituency, which means he votes to keep their jobs.

a real progressive works for jobs, health care, and green technology. Dingell has proposed universal health care every year he has been in congress. america needs jobs. the left needs to create jobs and not get side tracked just because they have the majority.

Posted by: tommybasil | November 11, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick note: When I was head of a Firefighters' Pension Fund Plan in the township I then resided in, I came to realize that, though I fully understood the best ways to invest those funds, I had headed that committee too long. I realized that younger members of our community had different ideas then I and they needed to be heard. Like Senator Byrd of West Virginia, I resigned two thirds of the way through my last term and turned the gavel over to a much younger person. Representative John Dingell needs to do the same!
There is another reason why he should graciously resign as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Mr. Dingell has truly failed the very auto manufacturers he claims to represent. For the last 6+ years he has failed to obtain a tariff package for the American Auto Industry. That industry's leaders have been forced to go to Washington, DC to beg for the kinds of bailouts that the U.S. Treasury Department has been doling out to other industries. Because of this failure, I hope and pray that the U.S. Auto Manufacturers come to realize that Mr. Dingell is not the best hope, any more, for that foundation of American capitalism. It is well past time that the AMA attach itself to a new, younger but dedicated Michigan-based member of the House of Representatives.

Posted by: 4news2Bgotten | November 11, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know Waxman was anti-alternative medicine. If so, he should stand down or publically forego this position.

I like Waxman because he has fought for drug safety against the pharmaceutical industry. Having lost my son; killed by the Lilly drug Zyprexa, I have attended several of his hearings, along with those of Bart Stupak and Markey from Mass. They battled phrma when PDUFA was reauthorized and even though they were pretty well crushed by the army of Phrma lobbyests and their money, he continues to wage this was.

I haven't seen Dingell do a thing . Just because he is from a blue collar district doesn't mean he should retain the chairmanship. And if he has been backing fuel hogging, poorly made cars and trucks in Detroit, he should definitely go. Now.

Posted by: ebliversidge | November 12, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Don't feel bad PattyDuke, Washingpost doesn't want me to post what I know about Federal Hospital Insurance Fraud targeting the elderly. The hold my comments so they don't get posted.

Posted by: Justmyopnion | November 12, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm from Michigan and our government is filled with organized crime, that's why Michigan is such a mess. We need a bailout - called vote out ALL incumbents, but because the News Media refuses to tell Michigan Citizens about all the Fraud conducted against us, the Politicians get away with Looting our Public Trust Fund Accounts ( criminal and financial miconduct )
All ENTITLED Federal Employee Health Beneficiaries [ OPM FEHB, TRICARE, HCFA Medicare\Medicaid, CHAMPVA ] and the General Public who are being criminally denied DHHS T42CFR417.1 Existing ( Federal \ State \ Private ) HMO Health Insurance Coverage, illegally billed for HMO denied covered claims and forced into HCFA State Medicaid Programs for the POOR.

Posted by: Justmyopnion | November 12, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

2012- huckabee, sure, palin, sure, steele, sure, gingrich, sure- Bring it ON!!!

Posted by: silverspring25 | November 12, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

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