kens*ten: a political blog

Rangel Goes Under the Obama Bus

Delivering a Message the Chicago Way


Should we feel sorry for Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY)? 

Rangel is the subject of a two-year ethics probe related to his use of four rent-controlled apartments in New York City, the misuse of his office for fundraising, and the  failure to pay taxes on property in the Dominican Republic. The ethics panel previously admonished Rangel for taking a junket in violation of  House rules. 

Given Rangel’s history, some believe he deserves some slack. Rangel is a decorated Korean War veteran. His constituents in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City have elected him to Congress eighteen times. Over 36 years of congressional service, Rangel rose to chair the most powerful committee — Ways and Means — in the House of Representatives. He was a leader in the civil rights movement and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

The Associated Press reports that Democrats tried to send Rangel messages “between the lines” that he should haven taken to heart. For example: 

[The ethics hearing] will be hard on Rangel and his family. [Rangel] will get no breaks for seniority, friendship or good intentions. A trial would be very, very public. 

What Democratic leaders probably would say to Rangel if they could: For himself, for his family, for the Democratic majority already poised to lose seats in the November election, he should strike a deal with House investigators before they start a trial Thursday and air the tax and disclosure charges against him. 

The 80-year old Rangel already announced his intention to seek re-election. However, the ethics probe gave courage to several challengers in the September Democrat primary. They feel Rangel is vulnerable. 

Since Rangel didn’t seem to get the point, the White House had to get involved — Chicago style. 

In a CBS News interview, President Barack Obama said of Rangel’s troubles: 

He’s somebody who’s at the end of his career. I’m sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens. 

One has to wonder if Charlie felt the tires crushing him as the bus rolled over him. 

But, don’t count Rangel out just yet. Fellow Congressional Black Caucus member, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) has also decided to roll the dice on her ethics probe. And the CBC has delivered their own message Chicago-style: Leave Us Alone. 

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said members of both parties should not presume Rangel’s guilt. The strong statement makes it unlikely that the House Democratic leadership would act against Rangel and risk losing support of the 42-member Black Caucus for legislative initiatives. 

In other words, if your opponent brings a knife to the fight, then you better have a gun. That’s the Chicago Way. 

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved. 


The Chicago Way / “The Untouchables “ 


Written by kensten

08/03/2010 at 12:34 am

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