As Mark Hemingway wrote at the Washington Examiner on Tuesday after watching Charlie Rangel’s rambling speech on the House floor, “Rangel: Sure there’s an economic emergency, but ‘what about me?’”
Examiner congressional reporter Susan Ferrichio’s report on the 37-minute floor speech by Rep. Charles Rangel, R-N.Y., is a must read. It’s bad enough that Rangel remains so defiant, but his hubris is appalling — see this less than cogent defense:
“Don’t leave me swinging in the wind until November,” Rangel said at the conclusion of his speech. “If this is an emergency to help our local and state governments out, what about me?”
Incredibly, following Rangel’s rant, some members of Congress told Ferrichio they are still willing to defend him:
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he does not think Rangel is being treated fairly and that even though he advised Rangel not to take to the floor and give the speech, it was a good think in the end.
“The message I hope everyone got out of it is that this can happen to them,” Cleaver said.
I addressed the Rangel double standard at length last week. Let’s just take one of the many charges against Rangel: “Last year, the Sunlight Foundation claimed to have documented 28 instances in which ‘Rangel omitted assets worth between $239,026 and $831,000 that were either purchased, sold, or held from his financial disclosures.’”
That could happen to you? You could — oopsie! — simply fail to declare assets worth over $200,000, and do it 28 times?
I advise you to try that when you file your taxes. When the IRS comes to arrest you, give the armed federal agents a 37-minute stemwinder where you say, “Forget about the law, what about me?” Let’s see where that gets you.
Well, if you’re powerful Democrat lifer with a “what–me worry?!” attitude and loads of equally powerful friends who don’t care at all what the optics look like, it can get you quite a bit, no matter how ugly it looks to the rest of us. As Jonathan Tobin writes at Commentary, “Democrats Fail to Notice the Latest Writing on the Wall:”
Back in 1884, when Republican presidential standard bearer James G. Blaine sat down in New York for dinner with some of the wealthiest and notorious men in America, including financier Jay Gould, the gathering was widely lampooned in the press as a new version of the Book of Daniel’s Belshazzar’s Feast that preceded the fall of Babylon. The point was that the GOP and its cash-and-carry candidate was so blinded by its alliance with plutocrats that they were unable to read the proverbial writing on the wall. Unfortunately for Blaine, there was no latter-day Daniel available to translate that writing for him, and the scandal-plagued candidate became the first Republican to lose a presidential election in 28 years.
Last night, some 126 years after “Belshazzar Blaine” dined his way into the history books, that corrupt feast of the politically blind was replayed in the Big Apple. Except this time it was the Democrats’ assuming the part of the powerful potentates who care nothing about the rapidly approaching day of political judgment. The 80th-birthday party for embattled Rep. Charles Rangel at the Plaza Hotel drew out the high and the mighty of the New York Democratic Party: Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo all showed up to express solidarity for Rangel despite the numerous ethics violations with which he has been charged. A day after Rangel defiantly harangued the House of Representatives, challenging them to expel him for his pay-to-play shenanigans and tax cheating, the paladins of the party of the people were unashamed to associate themselves with the new poster child for congressional corruption.
Indeed, the most telling moment of the evening may have been before the festivities started when, according to the New York Times, former mayor David Dinkins responded to a heckler outside the hotel (who told him, “You know you are attending a party for a crook”) by giving that citizen the finger.
Meanwhile, another former media darling, who’s even further to the left of Dinkins, is also keeping it classy.
And of course, as we all know, it’s all Bush’s fault anyhow.