Rep. John Dingell is leaving the Congress he’s served for longer than anyone else in United States history.
At a luncheon Monday in his beloved Downriver, the Dearborn representative says he will announce he won’t seek re-election this fall to the seat he’s held since 1955.
“I’m not going to be carried out feet first,” says Dingell, who will be 88 in July. “I don’t want people to say I stayed too long.”
Dingell says his health “is good enough that I could have done it again. My doctor says I’m OK. And I’m still as smart and capable as anyone on the Hill.
“But I’m not certain I would have been able to serve out the two-year term.”
More than health concerns, Dingell says a disillusionment with the institution drove his decision to retire.
“I find serving in the House to be obnoxious,” he says. “It’s become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets.”
The Tea Party is too much even for the "Dean of the House" Dingell. Here's your fact of the day:
The question now becomes who will succeed Dingell. He won the seat at age 29 after the death of his father, a Depression-era New Dealer who served the district for 20 years.
So the Dingell family has represented the Dearborn, Michigan region in the House since the 30's. Some 78 years. That will never happen again in US history.
I'm frankly not sure that it should, either. Dingell is certainly the last piece of a bygone era, with the passing of Sens. Robert Byrd and Daniel Akaka, and Ted Kennedy. Dingell's House colleague and fellow Democrat Henry Waxman is also retiring this year. The old Democrats are soon to be gone.
In their place, the House That Boehner Built. Do nothing, blame Obama. Four years from now it will be Do nothing, blame Hillary. A government that doesn't work. And increasingly, we're okay with that.