It’s bad enough to be a Republican but do you have to be a jackass, too?
When Republicans blasted their way into the halls of Congress after the tea party wave of 2010, they found themselves among colleagues, some of whom had been there for years, even decades. John Dingell, for example, was entering his sixth decade as a member of Congress and is seen by even his political opponents as a man worthy of respect and, equally important, someone to learn from.
As Amy highlighted so well in her post last night, tea partier Kerry Bentivolio has no respect for John Dingell, allowing his staffer to mock the Dean of the House while others even from his own party showed him the deference he had earned.
Another Michigan tea partier was equally disrespectful of the institution he had been given the privilege to be a part of. Dan Benishek from Michigan’s mammoth 1st Congressional District waltzed into Washington, D.C. with a chip on his shoulder and little interest in earning respect from or showing respect to others. A piece at Politico published today shows just how disrespectful he was even after having been in Washington for two years. But the very best part is how John Dingell quickly put him in his place.
Shortly after the midterms, the entire 15-member Michigan congressional delegation—including Dingell and three newly elected Tea Party freshmen—convened for the first time. Speaking at the event was Daniel Akerson, a prominent Michigander who happened to be the CEO of General Motors Company.
One of the freshmen, a surgeon named Dan Benishek, arrived late and promptly announced that he would be leaving in five minutes.
“Sit down, Dan,” growled Dingell. “This is important to Michigan. You’ve got nowhere else more important to be.”
Dingell had once been an obnoxious freshman himself—a radical liberal in the eyes of Speaker Rayburn, who had a glare that, as Dingell would say, “damn near melted your cuff links.” He had been, as Dingell liked to say of anyone new at anything, “as green as grass.”
The difference, of course, was that Dingell had grown up in the institution. While his father, John Dingell Sr., was passing New Deal legislation on the House floor, the younger John was a House page, spending afternoons in the Capitol basement with a terrier and an air gun, shooting rats. He’d grown up in the presence of political giants. He’d seen what was humanly perfect. And therefore he could recognize that as a young freshman he was something of a jackass and had better shut up and absorb the wisdom of Mr. Sam Rayburn.
Benishek clearly has none of the self-awareness that John Dingell possessed even at a young age; unaware of just how much of a jackass he displays himself to be.
Perhaps Benishek didn’t want to look Daniel Akerson in the eye. After all, Benishek is on record as being against providing the loans that saved the American vehicle manufacturing industry and kept our country from spiraling into a deep depression:
By the way, to all of my 1st District friends: you have a good alternative this year in General Jerry Cannon. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to support him. Remember, Dan Benishek barely won reelection in 2012, winning by only 0.5%. By this time next year, you could actually be represented in Congress by someone who isn’t a jackass.
Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog