February 24, 2014

Coverage of Dingell’s Retirement Emphasizes Involvement in Obamacare, Omits His Post-Passage ‘Control the People’ Comment

Michigan Congressman John Dingell announced his retirement today. The Democrat’s career as Congress’s longest-serving member will end with this session.

With the help of a related statement by President Obama, press coverage predictably placed great emphasis on Dingell’s decades-long advocacy of universal health care coverage and his involvement in the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act, which used to be the law governing the scope and implementation of state-controlled health care until the Obama administration’s regime of pre-implementation waivers and post-passage changes turned it into the mush which should now and forever be called “Obamacare.” That emphasis on Obamacare “somehow” overlooked an infamous but truthful statement Dingell made to WJR Radio’s Paul W. Smith shortly after the original law’s passage in March 2010. It’s the kind of statement the press would have covered when Dingell originally made it (they didn’t), and would never have forgotten if it had been made by a Republican or conservative.

Smith asked a perfectly logical question, namely why the law’s implementation was being delayed for so long if the current healthcare system was supposedly leading to 18,000 deaths per year — a statistic Democrats threw around recklessly in the runup to the legislation’s passage. Here’s how it went:

Partial Transcript (bolds are mine):

Paul W. Smith: Are we readly to let 72,000 more people die in our country, if 18,000 died, or whatever the number is, a figure that anyone comes up with, per year because of a lack of health insurance or health care, when this bill doesn’t basically take effect until 2014?

John Dingell: Paul W, we’re not ready to be doing it. But let me remind you that this has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.”

Dingell was admitting that the left’s drive for state-controlled health care has really been all about power and control from the very beginning.

With all that extra time, the Obama administration hasn’t exactly done a stellar job of carrying out “the necessarly administrative steps,” has it?

A Google News search on [Dingell "control the people"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns one PJ Media post and nothing else.

In a rare moment of clarity, John Bresnahan and Alex Isenstadt at Politico noted that Obamacare is not universal health care: “The list of legislative accomplishments for Dingell is extraordinarily long, although he was unsuccessful in his most personal quest — universal health care.”

According to the Associated Press, it would appear that succession plans for Dingell’s seat might continue an abhorrent congressional trend of keeping congressional seats in the family:

He fueled speculation that his 60-year-old wife, Debbie Dingell, who was at the event, might run for his seat, saying she would have his vote if she does. She repeatedly deflected questions about whether she would run, saying she would only talk about her husband.

Also per AP, “Dingell said his ‘single most important’ vote was for the 1964 Civil Rights Act that eliminated unequal voter registration requirements and outlawed racial segregation in schools, workplaces and public areas – a move he said almost cost him his seat.”

If it “almost cost him his seat,” the general election results from that era don’t show it. He won his November 1964 election contest with 73% of the vote, and his November 1966 race with 63%.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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