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The Troubles of Charlie Rangel

October 11, 2009


By Thought Merchant

Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel currently chairs the House Ways and Means committee which makes him a steward of the nations income tax policy in that branch of Congress. Rep. Rangel is now himself being investigated for income tax improprieties, putting his chairmanship of that most powerful committee in jeopardy.

Not surprisingly, the  right wing has been making strong attacks against Rangel in an effort to use him as the poster child for Democratic Party hypocrisy considering  that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi became Speaker assuring Americans she would “drain the swamp” and clean up ethics violations.

But as stated in this piece in “…when you look at how long Tom DeLay and all the Abramoff-tainted Republicans took to face reality, the clock has barely started ticking on Rangel.”

Furthermore, Rangel is still being supported by many of his traditional allies on the left as explained here:

“The Congressional Black Caucus, of which Rangel was a founding member, sent a letter to Pelosi on Thursday blasting the vote as “partisan attempts to ignore the well-established, bipartisan congressional ethics process.”

“Regrettably, the minority has repeatedly attempted to make an end-run around the bipartisan procedures for investigating possible ethics issues,” the letter read. “These Republican attempts to presume guilt before an investigation has been completed violate the core American principle of the presumption of innocence.”

Rangel’s office condemned the measure as a “highly partisan effort.”

What is more interesting is how some of the more prominent voices from the left wing blogoshphere have been willing to throw Rangel under the bus and demand he resign from Chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post stated the following in her recent Blog post: “Congress’ approval rating is at 21 percent, a 10-point drop over the last month. If the Democrats want to see it hit single digits, by all means, keep Charlie Rangel as Chairman.”

Some see it fit to compare Charlie Rangel to another African American Congressman, William Jefferson, whose ethics problems were criminal in nature, while Rangel himself has been found to have done nothing illegal thus far, insinuating that there is a problem with “those types” of Congressmen. “Those types” of course meaning Black.

As Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas put it on his blog’s diary:

“Memo to House Democrats — the “culture of corruption” crosses partisan lines. Last time the Democrats looked the other way — with William Jefferson — Republicans picked up a seat in one of the most Democratic districts in the nation. Next time, they may pick up the entire U.S. House of Representatives.”

As of yet, no ethics violations have been adjudicated and no criminal misdeeds have yet come close to being alleged. Yet it is ironic to me how White liberals who always claim to stand by African Americans as true friends are now willing to stand on top of Charlie Rangel as he’s being raked over the coals by the right wing and some of their own  ilk.

Let us be fair and withhold judgment until all investigations are complete instead of joining in on the right wing pile on. Truly, with liberal friends like these, does a Democratic politician really need enemies?


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ralph Kenol permalink
    October 11, 2009 7:50 pm

    The problem is that Rangel has already admitted some misdeeds. The misdeeds are exactly the wrong thing to do while holding that seat. (It would be like a timekeeper always showing up late) I think that Rangel’s actions in another era would be completely ignored. The problem is that times have changed but Rangel hasn’t. Unfortunately, Rangel’s position has not brought his district what such a position would offer. The other issue is that the Gang of Four has not really made any any apparent heirs to succeed them. Even if it is agreed that Rangel has to go, who should replace him? Patterson? He has established himself as a failure. (Contrast this with Andrew Cuomo. The younger Cuomo is set to take the reins without much hassle.) I hope Rangel can hold on if only to prepare some one else to take the seat.

  2. October 12, 2009 5:40 pm

    Charlie Rangel and the Gang of Four have done much for African-Americans throughout their tenure in U.S. Politics. It pains me to see Rangel go through this, much of what he has done was never made issue of previously.
    These black politicians of yore worked hard for their communities, they understood how to get things done for their constituents in a way that the young guard doesn’t seem to understand. Seems the youngsters don’t really understand how race and politics come together in this nation and the ways one might have to circumvent the system in order to provide equal rights and protections under the law.
    I am saddened that a career and reputation like Rangel’s will be sacrificed for partisan politics founded in racism. I fear he will be one of the casualties of this teabagger time period.

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