U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel is a scandal-ridden politician if there ever was one.
Unlike his fellow Democrat, Anthony Weiner, he hasn’t whipped it out and shown it to prospective playmates, but he’s still far from squeaky clean. In fact, if we take the Clintonian stance of “it was just sex,” Rangel is an infinitely worse leader than the much more publicized Weiner.
After all, Anthony Weiner merely makes no bones (yes, really bad pun intended) about his attraction to women. Charlie Rangel, however, was convicted of violating 11 out of 13 House ethics rules, including:
· Using House stationary and staff to garner further funding for personal interests
· “Failing” to disclose over $600,000 on his financial disclosure report and “failing” to pay taxes on the rental income he received from his Dominican Republic villa (known to us lesser mortals as “tax evasion” or “tax fraud”)
· Violating Harlem zoning laws
In other words, he’s a giant hypocrite, shrugging off the regulations his own cherished big government foists on everybody else. That’s the beauty of being a politician, especially a liberal one: you get to make the rules and then willfully break them, receiving little more than a slap on the wrist when you’re caught being naughty.
Oh yeah, and you also get to blame other people and groups for your own mistakes. Along with illegal and unethical behavior, Charlie Rangel has that particular politician’s privilege down to an art.
“Terrorists couldn’t do a better job [sabotaging America] than the Republicans are doing,” he said in a recent interview. And the Tea Party “is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn’t care about how they looked. It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused America to say enough is enough… What the hell! If you have to bomb little kids and send dogs out against human beings, give me a break.”
Did I say he has it down to an art? Let me clarify: Rangel has it down to a post-modern art, where anything goes just as long as it’s argued with enough passion. Facts be damned.
I’m not sure how else to sum up his conclusions since the facts, as I understand them, don’t include the Tea Party “bomb[ing] little kids and send[ing] dogs out against human beings.” Nor do they throw the burden of American decline on Republican backs alone.
There’s plenty of blame to throw around on that last charge, and a humongous chunk of it falls solidly on Charlie Rangel and his ilk.