The Old Days of Regular Order

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) has served 53 years in the House and next week will become the longest serving member of that body. In a CongressDaily AM article (subscription required) earlier in the week Dingell lamented, “Where we used to have long and thorough debates with open rules, we don’t anymore.” CongressDaily goes on to note that this and the lack of comradery in the House doates to Speaker Gingrich.

It’s starting to become “common knowledge” that the House under the old Democrats was a legislative utopia. Dingell states, “The place worked.” Well of course it worked, if you were a big-government Democrat. Could it be that what Dingell is really missing is the stranglehold on power Democrats (and Dingell in particular) once had?

Nancy Pelosi spent a lot of time in 2006 talking about regular order and restoring the rights of the minority party. Now she’s gotten so heavy-handed that members of her own party are banding together to ask her to dial it down. Dingell and the Blue Dogs have a voice in how the House is run and it happens at the beginning of every Congress when the Speaker is elected. After being reelected, Pelosi immediately moved to strengthen her rule and not one Blue Dog voted against giving her more power to silence the minority.