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Dingell on Opponents: 'Ignorance,' 'Inexperience' Unfit for Politics

Candidates for the 12th District say it's time for John Dingell to retire. But the Dearborn Democrat said he still has work to do in the nation's capital.

If first-time candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 12th District are hoping that distancing themselves from politics will help boost their campaigns, Congressman John Dingell is banking on exactly the opposite.

Out of , Dingell is the only who has held office. And it’s his experience that he believes will carry him into his 30th term.

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“I never thought ignorance or inexperience was a qualification for running for office,” Dingell said in an interview with Dearborn Patch, speaking about candidates who tout their lack of political backgrounds.

But other candidates say it's their fresh outtake that will carry them through the election.

"I don’t care about politics," Dearborn Republican and 12th District candidate Karen Jacobsen . "I care about fixing the big problems in this country before we go over the edge.”

Ann Arbor Democrat Daniel Marcin has gone so far as to name his campaign website to reflect the hopeful end of Dingell’s career as a legislator: www.No30thTerm.com.

“He’s been in office since before my parents were born,” Marcin said . “I think my ideas are more aligned with the people in the 12th District than his. I happen to think he has been there too long.”

Dingell disagrees, adding that he has no plans to retire. And though the anti-politics tactic worked well for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, “This is John Dingell,” the Dearborn Democrat said. “I do things my own way and I’ve been doing them for years and it always works."

Still, Dingell–who turns 86 on July 8–has been hitting the campaign trail hard. In the past month, he and wife Debbie been spotted at such events as a charity baseball game in Wyandotte, the kickoff for car show Cruisin’ Downriver, and a Barack Obama campaign rally with the Washtenaw County Democrats.

“Campaigning is fun,” he said. “I get around and see my friends and I thoroughly enjoy it.”

As for attacks against him on the 2012 campaign trail, he brushes them off.

“I’ve got more important things to do,” Dingell said. “I’ve got the business of representing people in Congress; I’ve got the problems my people have; I’ve got legislative chores I can do better than anybody else.”

He said the response he’s gotten from constituents while campaigning has confirmed that.

“People wave and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Dingell, for what you do,’” he said. “We’ve been helping and serving people for over 50 years here and I find the people of this district rather like it.”

Dingell pointed out that though his district has changed a number of times, he has previously represented every city but one in the new 12th District, at one time or another. Downriver leaders, he said, are especially happy to have him back, and offered to host a dinner for him.

Dingell’s reply: “Let’s wait until after the election.”

Jean July 09, 2012 at 11:50 PM
After reading all the negative comments about Dingell, I realize you all have it pretty bad and you don't know it yet but you are going to have it worse. You will probably get your way and get him out because after the dimwits voted in Snyder, it was evident that the majority in this state have no critical thinking skills and most likely are as dumb as rocks. Also, the disrespect for him because of his age is shameful and you will all deserve to be treated the same way when you are old.
Tom Skyler July 10, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Snyder was voted in by citizens who want real action, balanced budgets and strong leadership. Dingell had his good times but the hunger is not there anymore. Good luck !!!!!
sine-of-the-times July 10, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Michigan does not need a right-wing radical Tea party candidate. I do not want her vote representing me.
sine-of-the-times July 10, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Hundreds of people gladly ran up to me last summer to sign a recall petition, telling me that they were TRICKED by slick Rick, because they didn't know, or perhaps realize how devastating he would be to our state in order to cater to corporations in the guise of "creating" jobs. Btw, the unemployment rate in MI went us last month, and I am pretty sure I did not get a raise in my salary or see a drop in my expenses, quite the opposite.
Jean July 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Mr. Walls, 'minimal government intrusion' doesn't make sense. What do you want the government to do? The Republican mantra of less government is just propaganda by the corporations and by supporting this, you are actually getting less freedom and a government that supports the corporations. The corporations aren't stupid, they know that they need laws in their favor and you are supporting that at the expense of your freedom. Reagan stated the 'government was the problem, not the solution' well whoever bought that stupid line was plain stupid. By his own statement, he was the biggest problem since he was president but instead people bought the line and it continues to work for the Republicans and here we are after 30 plus years in a horrific mess and the election of Snyder and the slamming of Dingell, a great supporter of the people, shows that this cretin thinking is still going on.

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