Politics & Prejudices
Despite potholes, Republicans seek tax cuts
Tax cut is typical election year pandering-to-the-voters, except this year voters actually want better roads and schools.
Published: March 3, 2014
You can argue that he stayed too long. Physically, he is as frail as a nearly 88-year-old man usually is. He needs a cane, he is hard of hearing and his energy level isn’t what it was.
But mentally, he is still completely sharp. Which brings us to the curious case of John Conyers, who is running for re-election. If he wins, Conyers, who started out as an aide to Dingell, will become the house’s longest-serving member.
He will have been there for a half-century when this term ends. However, it’s no secret that Conyers, 84, sometimes doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders.
Two weeks ago, the Rev. Horace Sheffield announced he would take on Conyers in the August Democratic primary. That itself wouldn’t have rated more than a few seconds on the news.
What turned heads was what Sheffield then said: “The congressman is not all there."
Politicians make charges about other politicians all the time. But to me, what was most telling about this was that nobody came forth to deny what Sheffield said — except for those who are on John Conyers’ payroll.
That doesn’t mean Conyers will be defeated. Sheffield isn’t anybody’s idea of an ideal candidate. A relentless self-promoter, he was slavishly devoted to Kwame Kilpatrick to the end.
More disturbingly, he has been in the news more than once for alleged physical violence against women. Others have tried — and failed — to beat Conyers for two decades, from Butch Hollowell to Glenn Anderson to Bert Johnson.
He has always won easily. What’s interesting is why no news organization has ever taken a hard look at how his office is run, how funds are spent, how employees are treated.
Nor has anybody seriously tackled what you might call the competency issue. I’ve known seasoned reporters who wanted to, but who couldn’t get their editors to take the issue on.
Whatever happened to public service journalism?
> Email Jack Lessenberry