Carl Levin, Trying to Change the System from Within

Sen. Carl Levin, poor ol’ Dignity-of-the-Senate Wonk, has announced he would not run for reelection in 2014. Of course the response among the Beltway’s Very Serious People has been almost entirely focused on the ‘horse race‘, but Dave Weigel posted Sen. Levin’s actual statement:

As Barbara and I struggled with the question of whether I should run again, we focused on our belief that our country is at a crossroads that will determine our economic health and security for decades to come. We decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.

Here are some of those issues. Years of bipartisan work by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that I chair have shed light on tax avoidance schemes that are a major drain on our treasury. The huge loss of corporate tax receipts caused by the shift of U.S. corporate tax revenue to offshore tax havens is but one example of the egregious tax loopholes that we must end. Thirty of our most profitable companies paid no taxes over a recent three year period although they had over $150 billion in profits…

Second, I want to ensure that the manufacturing renaissance that has led Michigan’s economic comeback continues. We’ve made progress in building the partnerships we need to help U.S. manufacturers succeed, but the next two years will be crucial to sustaining and building on that progress.

A third item I want to tackle is a growing blight on our political system that I believe I can help address: the use of secret money to fund political campaigns. Our tax laws are supposed to prevent secret contributions to tax exempt organizations for political purposes. My Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations needs to look into the failure of the IRS to enforce our tax laws and stem the flood of hundreds of millions of secret dollars flowing into our elections, eroding public confidence in our democracy.

Finally, the next two years will also be important in dealing with fiscal pressures on our military readiness. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am determined to do all I can to address that issue. I also believe we need to pursue the rapid transfer of responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghans. And, as our troops come home, we must do a better job of caring for those who bear both the visible and invisible wounds of war

Not to underrate the importance of Looking Forward, making sure the Democrats have a strong contender lined up, plus the funding & on-the-ground organization to hold the seat, but… Wouldn’t it be useful (and not just to our electoral chances in 2014) if those issues Sen. Levin highlights got some attention right now, too also?

36 replies
  1. 1
    liberal says:

    Am I wrong, or wasn’t Levin one of the guys who resisted filibuster reform?

  2. 2
    dedc79 says:

    The permanent subcommittee on investigations was basically the only senate committee that has actually taken on wall Street over the past few years and levin should be commended for that. His stance on the filibuster was awful though.

  3. 3
    Xantar says:

    You know what else would have helped get something done about those issues? Filibuster reform. And I say this with great disappointment as he is a Swarthmore graduate like myself.

  4. 4
    Linnaeus says:

    Levin is one of the Democratic senators who opposed changes to the filibuster, and while I didn’t think that was the right choice, he has generally stood for the right things during his Senate career. That far outweighs the things he’s been wrong on.

  5. 5
    catclub says:

    @Xantar: I am also a Swarthmore grad.

  6. 6
    catclub says:

    How about WTF? with Intrade shutting down suddenly.

    No more bets on the next Pope, there.

  7. 7

    @catclub: Could this have something to do with it?

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: Damn Obummer and his bizness killing regulations! A true free market can have any trader speculate on anything they wish! WOLVERINES!!

    (Or is the cheer BENGHAZI!! now?)

  9. 9
    danielx says:

    I think it would be nice if he’d focus just a bit on bankster monsters.

    These Wells Fargo scum, these bloodsucking bastards, these toxic maggots, these pigfuckers…I can’t think of an expression obscene enough to accurately describe them, and L.A. Superior Court Judge Laura Ellison doesn’t exactly have a sound grasp on the difference between law and justice either.

  10. 10
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Like others have said, he had not-good positions on filibuster reform and SOPA-type legislation, but I think he did a lot of good as well.

    I heard a rumor that Mitt Romney’s brother was considering running for the seat. As they say in The Far Side: “Ohhhhh pleaseohpleaseohplease…”

  11. 11
    Xantar says:


    2005. There have been a couple of buildings put up since your day.

  12. 12
    lamh35 says:

    Been reading that Obama may appoint Susan Rice as National Security Advisor.

    am I correct that this position does not need Senate confirmation? if true wouldn’t this be the perfect way to piss in Ms Lindsey & Grandpa McLame’s ee?

  13. 13
    catclub says:

    @Xantar: Yep. I was back in 2010 for graduation of the filial unit.

  14. 14
    catclub says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: I doubt it. They would either announce a cease and desist agreed on a weekday, or the US Justice department would announce a suit, on a weekday. The servers hacked, internal criminal activity seem a little more likely. It is not always about the US.

    Or I am wrong — it would be the first time.

  15. 15
    Chris says:


    Ohhhhhhhhhh MAAAAAANNNN….

    … pleasletitbetruepleaseletitbetruepleaseletitbetrue…

  16. 16
    askew says:

    Considering Levin was one of the key Senators who sabotaged real filibuster reform, I find it hysterical that he is talking about focusing on getting work done in the Senate. He knows nothing of import will be accomplished to his sabotage.

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    @lamh35: Ayup. Oh will Lyndsey be quite put out. Quite put out indeedy!

    @Chris: lamh is a ma’am, if you’re curious. :)

  18. 18
    Chris says:


    Sorry. What I meant was, you’re correct, sir! (Or madam). No confirmation, so it really is a best revenge waiting to happen.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:


    I remember reading around the time of the Sec of State kerfuffle that Rice had always wanted the NSA position and had been talked into taking the UN ambassador position in 2008, so it sounds like she may get the job she always preferred anyway.

  20. 20
    bago says:

    I can die in peace now, knowing where every karaoke video was born.

  21. 21
    KCinDC says:

    That cover is OK, but I can’t imagine listening to it in preference to the Leonard Cohen original.

  22. 22
    NotMax says:


    Yet another Swattie? Surprising, as there are (relatively speaking) so few of us.

    “Staunch and gray thou stand’st before us.”

  23. 23
    burnspbesq says:


    Look, there is no disputing the fact that this is a tragedy and Wells behaved outrageously. However, if the court was getting ready to grant summary judgment for Wells, it’s entirely possible that the poor guy didn’t have a case (the standard for granting summary judgment is that there are no material facts in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law).

    Your beef is with the Legislature, not with a judge who is apparently living up to her oath of office.

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:


    Now, I realize that the law does not indulge itself in common sense, but how in God’s name was Wells Fargo allowed to double a man’s mortgage payment based on their own admitted error, foreclose on his home when he couldn’t pay the new amount, and still get to keep the property even when Wells Fargo admitted that the entire thing had started because of their error?

    Basically, you’re saying it’s perfectly legal for Wells Fargo to screw someone over, take their property, and then say, “Finders keepers, losers weepers” when their error is revealed? And you’re defending that law?

  25. 25
    sm*t cl*de says:

    Seconding KCinDC.

  26. 26
    sm*t cl*de says:

    Note too that “beauty” is not a reliable weapons-guidance system.

  27. 27
    Andrew says:

    His constituent services sucked, in addition to filibuster preservation. Won’t be sad to see him go.

  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    You do understand that the law has to be upheld at any cost in burns world? There is no greater force in that world than the words written in some book and it must be protected as it is far more important than the outcome of it’s nonsense. What was it some famous person once said, “The law is an ass”? Some days it has company.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:


    From Dickens’ Oliver Twist:

    “I hope,” said Mr. Bumble, looking about him with great ruefulness, as Mr. Grimwig disappeared with the two old women: I hope that this unfortunate little circumstance will not deprive me of my porochial office?”

    “Indeed it will,” replied Mr. Brownlow. “You may make up your mind to that, and think yourself well off besides.”

    “It was all Mrs. Bumble. She would do it,” urged Mr. Bumble; first looking round to ascertain that his partner had left the room.

    “That is no excuse,” replied Mr. Brownlow. “You were present on the occasion of the destruction of these trinkets, and indeed are the more guilty of the two, in the eye of the law; for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.”

    “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass- a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience- by experience.”

    Laying great stress on the repetition of these two words, Mr. Bumble fixed his hat on very tight, and putting his hands in his pockets, followed his helpmate down stairs.

  30. 30
    ulee says:

    girlfriend in bed. dogs in bed. no job. no money. rope curled on the basement floor. Girlfriend left it there after we cleaned up. She is very precise, but for the rope. I think she’s leading me to suicide. Either that or it is just a coiled rope that happpens to be at the foot of the stairs.

  31. 31
    ulee says:

    I just went downstairs and checked it out. It is the perfect hanging yourself rope. It is thick, yet too not too thick. It is braided and abrasive. It is a good hanging rope. I don’t know, though. I am on on prozac which seems to be helping and I don’t feel much like suicide. ( Except this morning I was sitting in the bathtub and looking out the window at the snow and bare branches and thinking about…well, I’d rather not get into that, and I thought, I want to kill myself today.) Oh, Well.

  32. 32
    ulee says:

    Well alright, bukowoski would say tie that rope up and get it on boy. But he would be the only one awake, ya hipsters, ya layzboys, ya cumsucking balloon blowers. I’ll kill myself good and then you can all go back to ballslapping. This ain’t Balloon Juice, it’s a confederacy of dunces. Just kidding around, Alison.

  33. 33
    ulee says:

    my comments are awaiting moderation? Cole himself has ragged on this superhappy moderation. The Revolution will be televised.

  34. 34
    Paul in KY says:

    @Ruckus: The law, in its infinite majesty, forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under overpasses.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Warnes in lieu of Cohen? I am appalled, and I like (and own) her album of Cohen covers.

  36. 36
    Bruce S says:

    Wouldn’t it be useful (and not just to our electoral chances in 2014) if those issues Sen. Levin highlights got some attention right now, too also?


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