The Democrats have an impending problem surfacing at an inopportune time, the investigation of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) by the House Ethics Committee. This comes as a surprise to many — the House has an Ethics Committee?
“House ethics” is an oxymoron, much like the “Senate intelligence” that led up to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When she is not lassoing votes for bills members of Congress have not read and the public does not want, Nancy “The Enforcer” Pelosi uses a financial cattle prod to get her way. Such prods and similar devices are easy to find in the novelty shops of her San Francisco district.
Nancy had best whip her Democrats into line, or come November she will be forced to reckon with her biggest fear: having to fly commercial. This Rangel mess is making her try to wrangle him into a quiet capitulation to the ethics charges.
Like Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Rangel’s tax dodging serves to underscore the hypocrisy of a Democratic administration bent on raising taxes on non-constituents. They do have a plan, however, to reduce their own taxes. They simply don’t pay them.
If you see John Kerry, ask him why the long face? He just got caught trying to avoid $500,000 in state taxes on his yacht. Under pressure, he said he would pay the taxes. It probably felt good to Kerry to be able to flip-flop again on a national stage.
As its Chairman, Rangel was the chief tax writer for the House Ways and Means Committee. Beside not paying taxes on hundreds of thousands of income dollars, there are allegations that he accepted improper vacation trips from wealthy business owners. This is just the Democratic way of being “bi-partisan” and reaching across the aisle. Democrats these days are either reaching into your pocket or, as in the cases of John Edwards, Eric Massa and Al Gore, reaching into your pants.
Unfortunately, they only “reach out” to line their own pockets with cash. Had Rangel used the proper Democratic money-raising technique, he would have required that the cash be delivered in Glad Wrap so he could cool it down in his freezer. A simple instructional diagram for this method is included in the DNC policy manual.
Rangel actually gave large sums of money to other Democrats. In Washington this is known as a “donation.” In the world the rest of us reside in, it’s known as “hush money.” Sadly, that is how Washington works. You can buy a health care vote from Ben Nelson of Nebraska with $300 million and it is not a “bribe.” If I try to give ten bucks to a DMV office worker to move me to the front of the line, I get perp-walked for trying to bribe a government official. Constance Jackson in the Atlanta DMV, you know who you are!
Like pretty much everything else, the Rangel mess comes at an unfortunate time for the Democrats. Grappling with unemployment (theirs) and a host of other gaffes that the mainstream media cannot shield them from, they seem to be on the ropes. This explains why they are looting the U.S. Treasury like post-Katrina New Orleans, before the authorities arrive in November.
Rangel remains defiantly opposed to even a letter of reprimand. I guess he is counting on an O.J. jury. He has said he “looks forward to explaining himself” when he goes to trial. This rings so true, since we know there is nothing a Congressman looks forward to more than his own corruption trial. I am looking forward to it, too.
The last Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who was forced to resign was Chicago’s own Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL). Having the opportunity to spend unlimited quantities of other people’s money reveals a person’s hubris while making other people angry. Just ask Mel Gibson’s girlfriend.
I have always liked Rangel, the Cab Calloway-esque Congressman from Harlem who now closes his act with a rendition of “Minnie the Moocher.” He has a great accent, he fought in an actual war, you always knew where he stood, and he really seemed to believe the Democratic talking points. He also had a good sense of humor, rare among today’s politicians. Even Al Franken of “Saturday Night Live” hasn’t been funny since he joined the Senate.
I hope Congress does the right thing on this one. Having just rushed in a West Virginia Democratic appointee to sit in Robert Byrd’s musty Senate seat, Congress should pay its respects to his passing. Byrd would have liked nothing better than a rancorous vote, straight down party lines, to commemorate his Senate career.
Ron Hart is a syndicated libertarian op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit: RonaldHart.com.