New York Democrats are planning a birthday bash for Charlie Rangel. This brought to mind the lyrics John Adams sings in the musical 1776:
Is anybody there? Does anybody care?
General George Washington supposedly wrote them when he received no replies to 15 dispatches to the Continental Congress.
Yes, President Obama suggested to CBS News that Rangel might step down. And a few House Democrats made similar suggestions. Good for him and them, even if the members were looking over their shoulders at polls that predict tough races for them in November. But you don’t need to search far for evidence that a lot of political types don’t care about what most Americans feel.
A House ethics panel charged Rangel with serious violations of House rules. Some suggest he could be charged by the IRS for not reporting income. And the band plays on. Donations to his campaign coffers pour in. About two-thirds of his campaign cash in 2009 went to legal fees — so when donors cough up for Charlie’s campaign they likely indulge in a bit of nudge, nudge, wink, wink: “this money is for getting old Charlie off the hook.”
While the band plays, the plans for the party progress. New York City Mayor Bloomberg is supposedly scheduled to attend. As is the candidate for New York governorship, Andrew Cuomo. (Let’s hope former Governor Eliot Spitzer shows. He loves a party.) According to The Hill, party guests will pay up to $2500 per ticket. Several prominent figures, even a rabbi, signed up for the committee to honor Charlie.
Does anybody care?
Yes, it is proper to recognize good work Charlie Rangel has done for constituents. But to party while the ethics cloud hovers over him? Maybe the invites should read: “Let them eat cake.” Or: “If he is a crook, he’s our kind of crook.”
“The best representative money can buy.”
Lawmakers routinely sneak unpopular items into the thickets of verbiage they spew. They know most voters find the items repugnant, and so they resort to subterfuge and sleight of hand. In other words, the public be damned.
If they don’t know by now that most Americans oppose amnesty for illegals, they need resuscitators. But the Associated Press reports the White House and Congress have apparently decided on stealth amnesty. They may allow bureaucrats to help illegals avoid deportation. They clearly don’t care what most of us think or feel.
I wonder what the Latin is for nudge, nudge, wink, wink. We should chisel it under the Capitol dome.
This week we watched a congressman stake out powers for the federal government that the writers of our Constitution forgot to include. San Francisco Congressman Pete Stark, in a video taken at his recent townhall meeting with constituents, said “the federal government can do most anything in this country.”
He seemed surprised a woman in the audience thought the Constitution might somehow limit the lawmakers.
A recent Rasmussen Report claimed two-thirds of what they call the political class feel the U.S. is sailing in the right direction. (See the report for how they define political class.) While 84% of mainstream Americans say it is not. That is a mighty fat gap. More of a chasm. The report claims 24% of mainstream voters place prime importance on fiscal issues like taxes and government spending. Only 2% of the political class voters do.
Rasmussen suggests that 68% of voters believe those in the political class don’t care what most Americans think. “Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?” Meanwhile, 59% are embarrassed by the behavior of the political class.
Hello out there!
Scott Rasmussen is no doubt promoting his book In Search of Self-Governance with his report. In it he suggests that many folks feel politicians care little about the concept of self-government. That would translate into “the will of the people.” They feel many of the political elite “ see self-governance as a problem to be overcome.” Consider how many controversial measures have been rammed through this Congress, controversial because most Americans oppose them. Most opposed ObamaCare. Most oppose the federal government suing the state of Arizona over its new law concerning illegals.
A group of 20th century Italian thinkers argued that democracy was not all it was cracked up to be — they believed it merely masked the reality that an elite always got its hands on the money and power. These days that mask is slipping. As it does, we are reminded that some animals are more equal than others.
Does the political class care about matters that concern the majority of us? Please. These days, they don’t even bother to fake it.