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.


“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.”

Doug Melzer July 03, 2012 at 04:17 PM
A tot of Victory Gin to you for that profound insight! By the way, are we still at war with EastAsia?
Ro Virgo July 03, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Unfortunately when we are a mature individual we fail to realize that youth needs to have the opportunities that we had when we were young. How else will our youth be able to obtain the same experience. Both young and old are valuable. Maybe it is time to collect his pension, he is one of the few that has earned it. Politians only need to serve 2 terms before receiving full benefits. Full pension and full health insurance. I don't remember voting on this issue but I guess my mind isn't ras it tuse to be. There was a time that people were proud to serve their country and didn't require a position until death, and recognized the value of training young people to help with new hope and new ideas. Those of us in the middle class have the opportunity to support the poor and the wealthy how lucky can one be. It truly is a time for change so that we can build the wonderful country we live in. We need job opportunities for all that are fit to work. If we are working until we are in our late 80's we are taking away a job from someone. We need to think with open minds and give opportunities to those needing them. Politians need to put their hands in their pockets, and listen to the American people and their realities not the irrational realities of the politiians. We need to see what you are saying and not listen to what we hear. Quite often they do not match.
Tony Galano July 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Do you want to know the TRUTH? John Dingell keeps running for Congress becuase if he were to give up his seat or be voted out, he would become SUICIDAL. Dingell would not know what to do with his life if he were no longer a Congressmam after 50+ years.
Frank Lee July 03, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Unquestionably it's time for Dingle to go and has been for a while, however the dolts running against him are worse choices.
Thomas Barszczowski July 03, 2012 at 10:38 PM
We, as voters, keep on electing people because of their names and not necessarily for the job they do. Those in office are elected by people who pull the party lever or vote because the person bought them a hot dog or shovelled their snow. If there were term limits throughout the country, we wouldn't have to worry about political favors because Senators and Congress get special treatment because of time spent in office. We can all vent, but things won't change. Kwami will come home and Ficano will stay in office. The Commissioners will say "we didn't know what was going on". And Congressman Dingell will win the next election.
Diana Jackson July 03, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I agree with the largest % of the comments. Retire old man...Never liked you or what you stood for. Definitely not a leader...totally a follower, no backbone. Does he even know what day it is??? Come on...
Razor July 03, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I only see John Dingell when he is looking to get re-elected. Retire !
Stephanie Keffer July 04, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Last time I checked anytime you are new you have inexperience. It's a shame this is the words he chose to use. But being in politics longer than my dad has been alive I wouldn't of expected anything less. Just makes me want to vote of his competition by the ignorance of his comments.
James July 04, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Agreed. It's time for Dingell to step aside along with his ever present wife and let someone else step in. No one should be the longest serving member of congress and if you see this guy he can barely keep his mouth closed on his own. I frankly don't care if it is a democrat, plutocrat or a republican, just get some new blood in there. Any incumbent with the same job for so many decades is totally out of touch and completely indebted to special interests. Dingell go enjoy the social security you worked so hard to protect. Move on buddy.
Gary Gudith July 04, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Time to retire! He is suppose to have his District at heart but he takes care of himself and fellow Congressmen. If you see the O' Mighty One ask him about the New Heath Plan that he voted for that according to him is the greatest thing to happen for this country. If it is so great why is there a provision in it that EXEMPTS THE CONGRESS from participating in it ?NEEDS TO GO !
whachadune July 04, 2012 at 02:53 AM
What an arrogant condescending statement by a guy who had zero experience back in the paleolithic age when he joined Congress. Maybe the ladies who want his job dont have as much experience milking the public trough like Dingell but give em a chance. heck does the democratic party have such a shallow talent pool that they have to prop up this hand puppet? What happens if he gets incapacitated while on duty? He'll be close to ninety by the end of this term. I like my granny but I'd rather take her to the grocery store than have her run the country.
Frank Lee July 04, 2012 at 06:00 AM
It's scary that the people who are posting on this board don't even understand how congress works. Sadly enough neither do the two dolts running against Dingel. The idea that one doesn't care about politics but just wants to do the right thing? There is a recipe for failure. All congress is is politics and back room deals, this is how it's done and electing naive candidates with good intentions is ridiculous. Neither of these 3 candidates is ideal but our district would be better served by electing a man with a seasoned staff and committee status than two inexperienced lightweights that are GOP cannon fodder. Sadly the GOP knows JD will get reelected and these two women did not get the message. If the GOP thought this seat would flip I assure neither of these two women would get the party nod. I congratulate these women on volunteering to be republican sacrificial lambs
Art Zasadny July 04, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Dingell has never had a real job, he's been a politician for life. What does he know about the average person's reality? He's a poster child for term limits...
Disillusioned in Dearborn July 04, 2012 at 04:11 PM
At least Dingell's ignorant, inexperienced, and unfit opponents are politically savvy enough NOT to have their pictures taken with Wayne County Executive Bob "I didn't know my overcompensated appointees were taking millions from taxpayers" Ficano and Gary "I didn't know either" Woronchak. If I was running against Dingell, I would use that photo in my mailers..
sine-of-the-times July 04, 2012 at 05:21 PM
We are lucky to have the most powerful man in congress representing us. Dingell is a solid vote for YOU and ME, and his vote has NO AGE. Republicans will NOT vote for YOU. Term limits have ruined our own Michigan legislature. Also, notice how Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick is no longer a rep? People know who to vote for and who not to. It is VERY important to vote Democratic this term. We have to get rid of the Republicans who are the party of "NO".
Charles L Walls July 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Ignorance is something that may be corrected by education. And you don't have to have "experience" in politics in order to be an effective legislator. You just have to know what your political objectives are, and relentlessly push toward them. The world of politics may be divided into two parts: (1) Those who believe the people are too ignorant to be able to control their own lives, and need a powerful government, fueled by other people's money, to keep 'em in line; and (2) those who believe in individual responsibility and liberty, and minimal government intrusion into their lives.. John Dingle is clearly in the (1) camp...and like most liberals, he plays all kinds of word-spin games to hide his true "I-know-better-than-you" spots.
michelle July 05, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Thanks Charles for putting into words what I was thinking. To call the others running ignorant or inexperienced really bothers me. Just because he has been around forever doesn't make him qualified. I also do not think being there for so long is a good thing. Who made him so qualified to judge? For example: "Marcin, who is pursing a PhD in economics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor", I would hardly say this guy is ignorant (I may be a little biased being a U of M alumni myself but they have a good reputation for quality education). "Kallgren has been active in local politics and government." so she has some experience plus ties to the area from actually living here and being active in the community. For Dingell to make such bold statements I am led to believe he may be worried and he should be. Those were low and ignorant remarks made on his part. Other than just being "experienced", what more can he bring to the table that the others cannot? I'm very disapointed in Dingell's remarks.
Jack Jones July 05, 2012 at 02:25 PM
What has Dingell ever done for us besides let Wayne County fall into ruins? Are we better off now than we were 57 years ago? You say that he votes for us? Well he voted against a non-discrimination bill, his opponent Cynthia talks about it, read her response! dearborn.patch.com/blog_posts/candidate-cynthia-kallgren-on-where-experience-stems-from
Christine MacDonald July 06, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Shame on you Mr. Dingell! The arrogance of your remarks shows us exactly how you feel about the great folks of the State of Michigan. You are not the ideal or most intelligent person to make proper decisions for our wants and needs, we are the people, start thinking of our needs while you still hold office, instead of those of your party line. As a matter of fact, have you ever voted as folks requested you to on any Bill? I know many folks who have contacted you via telephone, e-mail, etc., regarding their feelings, and you simply ignored them. As a matter of fact, most U.S. citizens are totally against Obama-Care. If Dingell, Stabanow, and Obama have not stood for your beliefs, ideals, and your needs it's time to vote for those who do!. Elections have consequences!
Lenny Potato July 07, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Fred your comment came out just the way his wife Debbie told you to write it, why don't you grow a set of balls and face facts, he was good however, his time has passed, its time for a change. Dingell doesn't even know where he is at half the time, but as long as the unions keep filling his pockets, he doesn't want to give it up it seems. By the way Fred are you even in his district?
Tom Skyler July 09, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Its time to move on, I also want a fresher face in the position. Its too easy to be comfortable in your role after all those years.
Jean July 09, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Well said Mr Hoffman. Anyone that doesn't realize this is probably too young and incapable of learning anything. I can't believe some of the comments left here. Talk about a bunch of Republican sheep. Statements that just say he needs to go because of his length of service are saying nothing. Contributions such as his to the middle class citizens is what we need. The sad thing is that after Michigan voters put Snyder in, it is evident that the IQ here is pretty low. What does being a nerd have to do with governing?
Jean July 09, 2012 at 11:40 PM
So someone who has done nothing is now a good choice? Or someone who has never served is even better? Nerds made good governors? Businessmen make good governors? What qualifications are these? And what fresh ideas do these new candidates really have. I have never heard anything come out of Snyder but his boasting of being a nerd and he had 'good ideas'. Yea, good ideas for him and his corporate friends not the working person. The whole notion of 'career politicians' comes out of the Republican propaganda machine. Woe to Michigan when we no longer have Dingell.
Jean July 09, 2012 at 11:41 PM
No, thanks to your thinking.
Tom Skyler July 09, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Change is positive, look at how quick to balance the budget our best governor in many years came in and did it. Without being a politician he made the tough choices many won't and it's working !!!!! I can't wait to pull that republican lever.
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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