The Monday 1/12/09 print edition of the Detroit News printed most of an LTE I sent taking issue with an op-ed of 1/07/09 by Rep. John Dingell from Michigan. For those who may not remember, Rep. Dingell was recently voted out of the chairmanship of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce by his colleagues who gave the chair to Henry Waxman. Now Mr. Dingell regrets not being even tougher on the auto companies. (The News left out two sentences and edited another but did not affect the message at all. And two other letter writers disputed Mr. Dingell as well, at the above link.)
“Americans are angry about what has happened to our country. No one seems to be willing to take responsibility. I will take some.
I should have held the automotive companies more accountable for their actions, or inactions, over the years. My colleagues voted to make another member, who views the auto industry in a much different way than I do, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. I find that some members voted against me because I was perceived to be sympathetic to the auto industry.
I don’t regret fighting for millions of Americans who work in the auto industry, even if that fight might have hurt me. I will fight for those workers, the UAW and others in the industry until they kick me out of this place.
But I, and the auto industry, must recognize that fighting for those jobs means doing things differently. And while I may occasionally be put at odds with the companies themselves, I will continue my fight to protect the finest, most loyal men and women who work in the industry as well as the need to continue a manufacturing base in this country — whatever the personal cost.”
My LTE to The News:
I laugh at the Jan. 7 op-ed by U.S. Rep. John Dingell “I will hold the automakers more accountable.” It is Dingell who needs to be held accountable.
He prides himself on being a defender of the auto industry, but whenever the more leftist members of his party wanted to place more and more straws on the back of the camel that was the auto industry, all he’s ever done is to insist on smaller straws (such as slightly less stringent fuel economy standards). With that kind of defense, is it any wonder the auto industry is on life support? Dingell is claiming to be for workers’ jobs while being antagonistic toward the source of those jobs, management.
And so it goes with all the other political lifers here in Michigan not just Dingell (53 years in Mi. politics) but also Rep. John Conyers (over 40 years),Rep. Sander Levin (25 years) Sen Carl Levin (over 30 years) and others. All they do is blame someone else and call for more straws to be placed on the camel’s back.
There are other things wrong with Dingell’s op-ed but the point I wanted to make was that you can’t defend an industry by only defending the workers and not the management. Nor can one defend an industry by constantly compromising with those who want to regulate it to death. The auto industry is on the brink precisely because the Michigan politicos have refused to defend the individual rights of car makers to make the kind of cars they want to make and market them as they see fit. As Dingell demonstrates, they are still refusing to defend the automakers. Notice the sentence “I should have held the automotive companies more accountable for their actions, or inactions, over the years.” In other words, “I could have bashed ’em for something.” Sader still, the industry won’t even defend its own rights.