While Nancy Pelosi’s push for enactment of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006 is a promising start, others in her party aren’t even in their leadership chairs yet, but their comments hint at business as usual cronyism.

Dinosaur John Dingell (D-Michigan), a US congressman since 1955 is about to take over the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, occupying the seat currently held by Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton. Mr. Barton, a Big Oil flak spent time this year investigating an oil company. Oh, but it wasn’t a probe into how ExxonMobil took advantage of rising crude prices to pocket $36B in profits. No, the good rep from Texas wanted to know if Citgo broke any laws with their program to provide discounted heating oil to low-income US communities.

It now appears Mr. Dingell will move away from cohorting with Big Oil, but slide over to the next street corner to prop up the drunken Big 3 US automakers. Yep, fellow Jurrasic period inhabitants Ford, GM and Chrysler all live in Dingellville and produce some of the the least fuel efficient cars in the world.

While some Democrats advocate a doubling of fuel-efficiency standards for the US auto market to reduce both greenhouse gases and dependency on foreign oil, Mr. Dingle isn’t so sure. In an interview with CNBC, he responded, “I’m not sure that there’s any urgent needs for us to address those questions.” He noted that any rule changes should weigh “the needs, the costs, the technological ability and the economic ability of industry and the market to absorb these changes.”

Fair enough, but voters in the 2006 election proved they’ll act to make changes with policymakers not exercising their will. Inaction on this issue combined with inevitably higher gasoline prices could make the Dinglesaurus in danger of extinction by 2008.