I am John D. Dingell, the longest-serving congressman in history. Ask me whatever you want!
Hi Reddit. I'm Congressman John Dingell. Looking forward to discussing my 92 years on this planet, the ways I believe we can save American democracy, and my new book THE DEAN.
THE DEAN is out now! https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062571991/the-dean/
I speak to this further in the epilogue to my book. It would redistribute political representation to better reflect our population. It's a travesty that California has 40 million people and as many US Senators as Wyoming, with its 575,000 people. My former House district has as more people in it as several states do, yet we only shared two Senators.
Twice in the last eighteen years, the popular vote winner has become President. That is undemocratic.
Doesn't make a difference. They're all fowl
Yes. My apologies. My fingers worked better when keyboards weren’t electronic.
Greetings! When I entered the Congress, I spent the first six months wondering how in the Hell I got there. I spent the next fifty-nine years wondering how in they rest of them got there. But, however I got here, I'm honored and delighted to be here, and I look forward to your questions.
I believe in term limits; they're called elections. If you don't like your elected official, you can back someone else and work to get them elected, hoping they will serve you better both philosophically and politically.
Truth is, term limits are the lazy voter's way out.
The people who benefit most from term limits are lobbyists. As I note in the book, talk to me about term limits when they exist for lobbyists.
It's time for a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich.
damn bruh... it's never really that time, is it?
Hello Congressman Dingell!
In your recent op-ed in The Atlantic, you call for the abolition of the Senate and the Electoral College.
How would abolishing the Senate and the Electoral College benefit our republic? What drawbacks do you believe such changes would be likely to have?
Partisan bickering stinks, and it goes back to Greek, Roman, and Babylonian times. It seems to be getting more and more intense. The level of partisan bickering and how it has prevented us from coming together to do the people's work is one of the things that propelled me into leaving the Congress. We now find ourselves in an uncivil war with one another. The absence of civility has poisoned the process.
Trump is an example of what we were talking about with term limits. People didn't pay attention. And that includes members of my party. I can only tell you what I Tweeted about Trump when he was elected "he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel."
In seeing to it that every American has health care available to them. Close behind is that every American without stint or limit can vote. To deny an American the right to vote and to participate in an election is an absolute sin and the perversion of the American electoral process
Hello Congressman. I was wondering what your view is on term limits?
This is wholesome
Because they're preparing for the hot place in hell that awaits many of them?
I will start by saying that I have nothing against you personally. I feel that you have served Michigan well.
That said, I am a HUGE proponent of congressional term limits. I feel that people who have sat in congress for a long time don't necessarily understand the challenges of those that are going to inherit this country very shortly. Can you speak to this? Why should someone pull the lever for another Dingell term over a newer congressman, who might have more first-hand experience in the troubles of the up and coming leaders of this country?
Did you mean to say the popular vote winner did not become President?
Thank you all for having me! It's time for a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. God bless us all.
I hope you valued our conversation as much as I did, and that you enjoy my book!
I agree. Paul Ryan will be a lobbyist for 40 years after he gives up the gavel. Think how much more damage he'll do behind the scenes. Term limits doesn't fix this issue.
Has partisan bickering gotten worse in modern times, or was it always this bad, but not as obvious to the general public?
I think there's overwhelming evidence one of them may have been elected President....
1) Being honored by my friend and mentor Speaker John McCormack with the privilege of sitting in the Speaker's Chair and presiding over the House for the passage of Medicare in 1965.
2) Casting my vote for the passage of the Civil Right Act of 1964.
3) Sitting beside President Obama as he signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010.
All of those are detailed much more fully in the book, and I'm very proud of those moments.
Hi Mr Dingell,
I just wanted to say, thank you for yours and your wife's years of service in Congress. I am so proud and grateful to have had you and your wife as my Representative all these years. My husband is a British national, and we had a lot of trouble with our K1 visa application because either the USCIS or NVC lost our file, and neither side would admit it. We spent months lost in bureaucracy and it was an incredibly difficult time for us. I contacted your wife's office and they sorted the problem out in a matter of days. We have been happily married for almost two years now and are looking forward to many, many more, and I have your wife and her staff to thank for our blissful life. From the bottom of my heart, again, thank you both.
2) The Republican Party is now dead; it's the Trump Party.
Would you rather fight 99 duck-sized Donald Trumps, or 1 Donald Trump-sized duck?
Watching The Lovely Deborah and her staff serve the people so well and so ably is something that gladdens my soul. Constituent service is having staff who work day in and day our to solve problems. That is the greatest satisfaction of a representative: to be able to fix someone's problem. Government is not your enemy; it is us working together for the good of us all
My family and I did not come from personal wealth; what we did have was the passion and desire to serve. It sounds like you have that. Go ahead and run. And good luck!
and it goes back to Greek, Roman, and Babylonian times.
Damn, you have been serving for a long time.
"he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel."
I love it, I didn't see this but now I'm going to use it as often as possible.
My dear friend Alan Simpson, former Senator from Wyoming, who we all saw bring great humor in paying tribute to President Bush 41 at his state funeral. Alan spoke eloquently about how our dear departed friend used humor--"humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life."
I pray for President Bush's soul and for his family. He was a good and decent man who served us well, and I am proud that he graced my book with a kind and eloquent foreword.
If you're buying lunch and dessert
Dad jokes only become more potent with age.
Hi! First of all you’re amazing on Twitter. Second of all, you recently proposed abolishing the Senate. I suggested something similar in class years ago and was nearly laughed out of Freshman Poli Sci. Why do you think this should happen? How would it occur?
Dingell brings it.
How would you recommend someone not from a wealthy background get into politics? I want to run in my area of Florida but lack even a thousand dollars to spend on running.
Still, I have a strong desire to do something to help people like me and fix the problems in washington and the country.
What is your proudest accomplishment in your many years of service?
But by this logic, why should the office of President have term limits? Using the same rationale, you could put the onus on the people to simply "back someone else." The fact that it is a travesty that lobbyists don't have term limits has no bearing on term limits on others, especially elected officials. Just because lobbyists benefit MORE doesn't mean congressmen don't benefit.
The reason why congress needs term limits is that once you've won a few cycles, you've established a base of donors and learned the political machine, becoming more entrenched. You learn more of the political skills that help you get re-elected, which helps you personally and politically but doesn't translate to you being better at governing (it probably makes you worse because there are more special interests you are beholden to). On the contrary, the longer your serve, the further away from "reality" you get - the less you understand your electorate, and the more you understand your politicos.
Why shouldn't the default be term limits, and in SPECIAL circumstances you get to extend it, if you've done a particularly wonderful job and your voters agree? With each election, it should be harder for an incumbent to win, not easier.
In your opinion, how did our country get to the point where someone like Trump actually got elected?
As I say in the book, what shaped me as a young man perhaps more than anything else was serving in the Army during World War II. It was my first opportunity for real public service. It is a good thing that in the last election we as a country elected so many veterans to serve, and I look forward to their service in the years to come
Ted Cruz lost his presidential bid though
When you were on the board of the NRA were you ever approached by a foreign nation with bribe money? I have a hard time believing this is a new phenomenon.
It's true. Don't knock it until you've tried it
As my non-religious and very hilarious grandfather used to say when asked why he didn’t use air-conditioning “I’m just getting climatized for where I’m headed”. I really miss that man.
I follow you on Twitter and you have a great sense of humor. What other politicians might we be surprised to find out are secretly funny?
You famously served in WWII and then some time in Congress.
The death of GHWB brought up the fact that he was one of the last "soldier president".
With the recent changes to war, targets and reasons America fight, do you think being a soldier is still a valuable experience for an elected official ?
Will you get lunch with me at Zingermans?
I respect that you are answering this question if nothing else.
With all due respect, how do you feel about term limits for congressmen?
Do you believe Trump is a racist or bigot? What are the implications of a political party electing a man like this as their leader.
What can be done to save democracy when election losers are vandalizing their states' democratic process on their way out? Or just stealing the election to begin with like in NC?
I've heard stories about people who worked for you and your office - they were always very impressed by you. One thing I'm curious about - is it true that one of your most common meals was a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich? I've heard that was something you learned to eat during the depression and developed a fondness for.
Congressman Dingell: Have we or have we not been visited by aliens?
Why don’t republicans care about global warming?
If you don't like your elected official, you can back someone else
Not really. There are people of Kentucky who don't like Mitch McConnell, but no other Republican will run against him. That would be political suicide. "Backing someone else" sounds good in theory, but that's not really possible in reality.
Today I learned Congressman John D Dingell has no fucks left to give...
Doesn't the prevalence of gerrymandering make a significant portion of representatives immune to that remedy, though?
Term limits may be lazy, but they exist in all sorts of elected positions across the country. They help prevent accumulation of power around one individual and they break the cycle of campaigning on fundraising.
An idea that comes up periodically is to make each Supreme Court seat expire into a term-limited vacancy on a fixed schedule.
The main version I've seen is along these lines:The "most" tenured SCOTUS seat goes empty automatically on a fixed day, such as the first Monday after a new Congress is seated. So if this were live today, on January 7th, 2019, Clarence Thomas is automatically out of the court. On January 11th, 2021, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is automatically out, and so on. An alternate version is the first Monday after a President is inaugurated, for a slower paced cycle. Every President thus gets some automatic appointment opportunities, for either one or two seats. Mandate that if an appointment doesn't get a clean up-and-down vote in the Senate within 100 calendar days, a clean up-and-down vote is compulsory at 12pm on the next business day after that 100-day mark is hit. This solves problems Republicans saw with Kavanaugh and that Democrats saw with Garland. The most-tenured Justice is automatically Chief Justice. No changes to the process of replacing Justices in case of resignation, death or impeachment, but those slots are also bound by the 100-day timer.
Is any of this possible for the House to begin pressing?
Thank you for your response, sir. I am hoping I can get in touch with grassroots organizations but so far, nothing. I will keep going, glad I am not alone in that one.
I agreed with you.
Given the state of our healthcare system and new voter suppression attempts all over the country (including Michigan) would you say there's been success with either of those things?
Okay, you win.
It is really amazing to me that there is a WWII veteran serving in Congress today. Thank you for your many, many years of service, and your sacrifices.
What's your most memorable moment in Congress?
Being the longest serving congress man do you agree that we desperately need term limits for the legislature and how many terms would you say is a good limit. I personally want no more than 3 terms for all positions.
You may want to look at mechanical keyboards, especially Cherry MX Greens.
What was the inflection point of incivility? What percent blame do you put on right wing media? How much blame do you put on you and your fellow Democratic congressmen in allowing it to fester without forcefully condemning it early on?
Plus with his bone spurs Trump's has poultry fighting skills.
Ah shit, I love you.
In seeing to it that every American has health care available to them.
They don't. Tens of thousands of diabetics are rationing insulin and dying because insulin is made by a cartel of medical companies that raise prices in lock-step and hold all the patents (there is no generic insulin).
Get out of your bubble.
Edit: A good read on this situation.
Remember that those who were in power, and are still in power, are doing nothing about this. Hold them to answer for their inactions.
What is something you wish the average citizen was more aware of?
How do you think we can encourage better voter turnout?
What is the best way to ensure the 'checks and balances' of the three branches are best applied to reign-in a given branch? (not necessarily a president)
How would you fix the Senate, if you had your druthers?
Oh I like this answer.
Donald Trump recently said he didn't care about the debt because he 'wouldn't be around'.
Do you support a bill, or would you sponsor one, to make it illegal for politicians to pass their burdens onto their children?
All children born today (but not the last generation currently in office) are going to experience the result of fossil fuel obsession, rising sea waters, extreme cold, extreme heat, arid land, famine, rampant insect disease, as well as the deaths of many species of animals.
Ding...ding...ding... We have a winner! :)
You know it!
Great point. If voters don’t care to vote out a toxic legislator, replacing them with the new toxic flavor of the month just puts more power into the hands of the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers.
You've been around the block more than a few times, Having lived through ww2, and Korea, served the fallout of McCarthyism and the Red Scare, through the Cuban Missile Crisis, to Vietnam, to the fall of the USSR. How do you feel about the current political climate and how things are going for the US in general in relation to past historical events?
The folks who were born and raised during the great depression and WW2, the greatest generation, did amazing things in the 60s. Hopefully my generation can continue that.
What a legend!
Damn! 3 minutes after I posted my question. And here I was looking forward to maybe getting an answer ):
Enjoy your sandwich, sir!
Hey, judgement free zone. I'm not knocking - though I think the leap to trying it myself might be too far for me.
Thanks for your answer, and for your many years of service.
As a Millennial un their mid 30s one of the issues I have is how longevity in office breeds distance from constituents. Most of the same political players have been on the national stage for most or all of my life now and as I see Congress getting older and utterly neglecting the needs and interests of a generation coming of age in a different economy and tech environment. Even more dangerous is seeing the fight with Pelosi in that there has been little interest in raising the next generation of leaders. To most of my peers, our politicians do not work for us.
How do you, as someone who has been in Congress for so long propose balancing the benefit of experience while ensuring we don't have rule by and for the elderly and can be more forward thinking with regard to supporting the next generation of leaders?