Friday, July 23, 2010

Hey hey, ho ho, Charlie Rangel's got to go!

Harking back to the days of real protest marches, and the pithy chants that seemed to go with them, I am calling today for my fellow Democrats to purge yet another political dinosaur from our ranks. New York Congressman Charlie Rangel now stands formally accused of numerous ethics violations, including failure to pay taxes on a vacation house, using House stationary for campaign fundraising, and improperly dealing with donors to a "pet project" on government relations.

Mr. Rangel, the recently deposed House Ways and Means Committee chair, of course maintains his innocence. After all, the House Ethic Committee is now moving to what passes for a trial phase in its work, and Mr. Rangel needs to be able to defend himself.

That said, Charlie Rangel is another of the political dinosaurs who kills the Democratic Party, all the while smiling and proclaiming that, if he did anything wrong, it was all in the name of public service. Excuse me while go hack a hairball out of my throat.

What bugs me about Mr. Rangel's conduct - like the conduct of so many national politicians these days - is that Mr. Rangel seems to really believe that the ends justify the means. So he "slipped" a little with the IRS - he needs that house as a place to truly retreat thus ensuring his focus on the issues of his constituents. So he "misused" some stationary. He'll buy more out of his pocket to replace the lost stuff. And besides, in this day and age you need the real stuff to prove that the letter asking for money is really for a Congressional campaign. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

In that mindset, however, Mr. Rangel betrays the common Washington affliction - the rules don't apply to me because I'm a (insert Congressman, Senator, President here) and thus far too important to be bound by silly little things like laws or ethics or morals. I have important work to do for you the people, and you shouldn't care how I get it done. Or so it seems to go.

Out here on Mainstreet, however, Mr. Rangel's actions ar just another sordid tale of a Washington Politician loosing touch with reality, and thus not being worthy of our time or interest. As these scandals have grown in number and complexity over the years, ordinary people have reached the conclusion that if you are elected to Congress, or electable, you have to be some sort of sadistic narcissist, and thus not really normal. Is it any wonder that political identifications, by party, are falling off?

So to the Democratic Party, and the House of Representatives (and the DCCC) I say this - as a liberal I'll vote for you more then against you, but only because I have no real alternative. That means you have an obligation to make sure your ranks are peopled with the best and the brightest, not the sleaziest and the laziest. Charlie Rangel is hurting our brand, he's hurting liberal politics, and he's making it hard to keep the Democratic Party separate from the Republican Party, at least based on conduct. He's a mill stone around our collective necks.

Hey hey, ho ho, Charlie Rangel's got to go!


Mike at The Big Stick said...

I'd love to see him disappear but I have a bad feeling he is going to make them run him out of Congress. His fellow Democrats might choose to make an example of him because of the midterms. Ugly fight in an election year.

Philip H. said...

Mike it would be nice to see him go, and I'm not opposed to a good open floor fight. Seems that the Democrats need to duke it out over this sort of stuff - certainly helps the party's image more then hiding it in the shadows.