In the much-discussed Dingell interview, he said a few other things that were, at least from an inside-baseball perspective, just as interesting as the carbon tax stuff. Especially notable was his scathing comments toward Rep. Markey’s climate change committee. Get a load of this:
HITT: The speaker created, or moved to create, at the beginning of the year, a special Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Climate Change. And that caused some heartburn in some quarters of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and I think you had some concerns about it. I wondered, six months after that committee has been up and running, if you have changed your mind about it, or if you have seen any evidence that it’s produced some contribution to the debate on the issues that we’re talking about?
DINGELL: Well, I’ve made, I thought, a very generous observation about this committee. I pointed out that I thought that they were going to be about as useful as feathers on a fish.
And I told everybody who would listen, that I thought that they were either going to be under foot or in the hair of the people who were charged with doing the legislative work.
I have seen nothing that they have done that I, frankly, would want to take credit for. If I were on that committee, I would have long since asked for the privilege of being removed from it, because, quite frankly, I think it’s an embarrassment to everybody.
DINGELL: Well, they’ve done nothing. They have no legislative jurisdiction or authority. And they’re just simply running around making speeches and thumping the tub and acting important.
Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark. (Of course, it’s a bit disingenuous to criticize the committee for its lack of legislative jurisdiction when you’re the very guy who insured it wouldn’t have any.)
This demonstrates, if you needed any more evidence, that Dingell takes his power as Energy Committee chair very, very seriously, and jealously guards it. He also said, at the end of a discussion of whether CAFE standards should have been included in the initial draft of the bill (another debate that intimately involves Markey):
Members are always entitled to their views. And I respect all of my colleagues, including Mr. Markey. But I have to remind everybody that I’m the chairman of the committee, and I have been processing difficult legislation for 50 years. And I think I have enough experience that my judgment should be listened to.
[Cartman voice] You will respect my authority!
House Dems can either dislodge Dingell as energy chair or learn to work with him. The former would be extremely difficult. For the latter, I suspect flattering his gigantic ego will be rather more effective than trying to humiliate and bully him, since as you’ll note, he doesn’t take kindly to that.