July 31st, 2010

Pelosi’s most ethical Congress ever…

is planning two trials of long-time House members:

The expected trial [of Democrat Maxine Waters of California], coming just after the start of a similar proceeding on Thursday for Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, would be a modern-day precedent for the House, Congressional officials said. At no time in at least the last two decades have two sitting House members faced a public hearing detailing allegations against them.

It would also be an embarrassment for the Congressional Black Caucus. Ms. Waters and Mr. Rangel are two of its most revered and long-standing members, and both have spent decades as key leaders in banking and financial services issues in the House.

Power corrupts—if not inevitably, then certainly often. Both Waters and Rangel are claiming innocence, of course, and it’s possible that they actually are. But somehow I suspect not. And President Obama isn’t waiting for a trial, at least in Rangel’s case—it’s under the bus with him:

“I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served his constituents very well. But these allegations are very troubling,” Obama said on the “CBS Evening News” in his first comments on the Rangel scandal.

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

Looking at that quote again I’d like to revise my remarks; maybe it’s not so much that Obama is throwing him under the bus as asking him to crawl there himself. Neither Rangel nor Waters seems inclined to do so; they are both choosing (at least so far) to fight the charges.

27 Responses to “Pelosi’s most ethical Congress ever…”

  1. OlderandWheezier Says:

    This administration would throw Rosa Parks or Dr. King, Jr. under the bus if it suited their purposes.

    When one’s only priorities are 1) one’s legacy in terms of far-reaching goals, and 2) damage control in terms of the day-to-day challenges, one then governs in the manner we’ve witnessed these past long 18 months.

    As many have said, the real scandal over the Sherrod incident should have been the abrupt judgment and firing by this administration (not that she’s proved worthy of the job since), and its hasty attempt to minimize the fallout without caring enough to review the situation and make an informed decision.

    Expecting campaign specialists to don different coats and govern efficiently is a sign of immaturity at the least – and, in the worst case, of a dangerously delusional personality. This administration reeks immaturity out of every pore.

    The real outrage over the remarks made by dingbat Dunn’s pairing of Mother Theresa and Mao in last year’s school address shouldn’t so much be that she would dare to tie in both in her speech, or that she was expounding any support for communism. It should be that a high-ranking official is so infantile in her thinking as to think it would be “cool” to pair the two of them in a public address. Just like it’s cool to send your adversary a dead fish, or to have a “beer summit” when you’ve stuck your foot so squarely in your mouth. That so much of the media fawned so much on the latter event shows, as do the Journolist transcripts, just how sadly immature those covering this nation and its politics are, also.

    Unfortunately, “cool” wins major elections in this media-driven age, and with this largely uninformed and apathetic population. But cool just doesn’t cut it when it comes to governing a country in a manner that benefits its stature and its people.

  2. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Both Rangel and Waters have been getting away with breaches of ethics for so long neither of them is capable of seeing what they have done as anything but SOP. Let the trials begin!

  3. Tom Says:

    “Most revered”, sez the NYT. Yup. I revere poisonous snakes in the grass, too, myself. I practically worship them. Like rattlers, they sometimes give warnings, like Maxine’s threat to nationalize Big Oil; other times, not.

  4. Tom Says:

    It’s best to revere them. Otherwise you will be called racist, and shrivel up into dust, never to be seen again.

  5. expat Says:

    Interesting. Blacks are going to have to decide whether they have been electing sleazebags or whether The Won has tossed yet another of theirs under the bus.

  6. OlderandWheezier Says:


    Who says that the two possibilities must be mutually exclusive?

  7. expat Says:

    Well for me they aren’t, but if some think both Rangel and Obama are right, I see a little inconsistency. If they think both are wrong, maybe they will seek elsewhere for their leaders. Yeah, I know I’m an optimist.

  8. gs Says:

    A few years ago, during the Republican Congress iirc, Pelosi and Rangel voiced support for a measure that I favored but have since forgotten.

    I called their offices. To paraphrase, “As a libertarian conservative I rarely agree with the Representative, but on this particular issue I’d like to express my appreciation and support. We have strong disagreements, but we’re all Americans.”

    Rangel’s receptionist treated the call courteously and respectfully. Pelosi’s receptionist was barely civil.

    (OT) Note to self: speaking of the Black Caucus, remember to phone member Edolphus Townes for tackling a job that the Party of Limited Government seems unwilling to do.

  9. Paul J. Says:

    This is interesting. These are both members of the Black Congressional Caucus. The BCC have accused Tea Party people of being racists and calling John Lewis the N word, without any real proof. The only proof we have is their reputation. We all know they are about as reputable as a street gang, but many indies and moderates don’t. Now 2 members of the BCC are accused of disreputable things, maybe the moderates who are paying attention can see what we all have seen for a long time.
    God knows our establishment “ruling class” Republicans won’t bring it up, they may get snubbed from the next important cocktail party.

  10. Mr. Frank Says:

    It’s a black thing going all the way back to Adam Clayton Powell and including people like Marion Barry, Alcee Hastings, and William Jefferson and his freezer full of cash. Black voters keep electing these guys no matter what. I guess they are seen as sticking it to the man.

    In the same vein, Obama will have 90% black support no matter what he does. The irony is that the black constituents are getting screwed and don’t know it.

  11. Scott Says:

    While I could not disagree more with Charlie Rangel’s politics, the guy strikes me as affable and a genuinely nice guy. For some reason, I feel a little sorry for him.

    Maxine Waters, on the other hand, is stupid and nasty. She said some truly despicable things about Bush and Cheney. I do not feel sorry for whatever comes her way.

    I tucked away in the memory hole and always remember it when her name comes up. Maxine Waters said at a pro-abortion rally a few years ago (I swear its’ true):

    “I have to march because my mother couldn’t have an abortion.”

    She’s the best and the brightest from southern California.

  12. NeoConScum Says:

    Rangel, I’m wagering, will give a flat, fish-eyed look back at His Infantile Majesty and say:”You talkin’ to me, Boy?”

    20-Term, all powerful Charlie, knows where ALL the grift, bodies, graft, sleaze, mistresses, crookedness of Demoville are buried–well, hidden. I further think he’ll look at his cards, then at his “friends” and challenge:”Go ahead, Punks. Make my day.”

    God, it would be wonderful to see ‘Red’ Maxine Waters go down in flames. But, there again, I’ve got my doubts.

  13. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I am so waiting for Sheila Jackson Lee to fall under the bus wheels. Dumb as a post, racist as all get-out, notoriously demonstrative when it comes to using the “do you know who I am” card…
    Oh, yeah. I could watch her take the swan-dive underneath the bus with the greatest of enjoyment.

  14. Tatyana Says:

    Scott, “a genuinely nice guy”?

    A person who obtained rent-stabilized apartment by false pretenses and used it as his virtually rent-free office? A person who “forgot” to pay taxes on $600K or that he has to report income from his Dominican rental villa? Most importantly, who traded tax breaks for donations to a school of public policy (or, irony!!) under his name? For $30 mln crisp.

    A person who wanted to reintroduce draft, because he considers American professional army “unequal” and therefore, unethical?

    Such a nice guy.

  15. Scott Says:

    Yeah, he seems like a nice, jolly, old guy. Sorta like Santa. He’s non-threatening and would probably be interesting to talk to over a beer. Juxtaposed against Waters, who strikes me as mean, stupid, and vindictive.

    I wasn’t commenting on the seriousness of the charges of his ehical lapses. I just meant that his likeable personality made him more sympathetic than Waters (to me).

  16. Gringo Says:

    I see this as a preemptive strike. The Democratic Party leadership anticipates the Pubs taking control of the House in November. Once the Pubs take power, they are going to go after Democratic Party corruption in a big way.

    This way the Democratic Party leadership can say, “See, we began to deal with corruption ourselves.”

    Moreover, by getting rid of the likes of Rangel and Waters, they will have better people in Congress next year. [Does anyone believe those Districts have a ghost of a chance of going for a Pub?]

    Win, win. Clever move by the Democrats.

  17. Richard Aubrey Says:

    What do you think the effect on the electorate will be if the fireworks are going off full bore in the fall?

  18. Tom Says:

    One of my pet unprovable social theorems is that Africans, whether American or not, expect, seemingly require, to have a chief, a Lord Who Must Be Obeyed; and chiefship has nothing to do with merit.

    This is more that tribalism. Tribes can be run in many different ways; compare Iroquois with Apache with Comanche, for example.

    Africans , whether or not American, simply do not do well with democracy. I give you Marion Berry, Thomas Bradley, the whole Detroit and DC sagas, and the entire subSaharan continent as examples, to say naught about Sharpton, Jackson et al.. These unworthies simply abide, with their everloyal subjects in unshakable allegiance. The evidence is ignored or excused.

  19. rickl Says:

    I think you’re right. Around the time of Clinton’s impeachment I vividly remember hearing a black woman on TV say, “He da Big Man! Why dey be runnin’ down da Big Man?”

    Obviously, she was a half-literate imbecile, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more glaring example of tribal thinking in the modern United States. I was disgusted.

  20. Charles Says:

    Both Rangel and Waters know that the black folks will vote for a BAD black candidate before voting a white candidate.


    Marion “the bitch set me up” Barry was even elected AFTER spending time in jail! All he had to do was wrap himself in African Kente cloth, say that whites were trying to bring back slavery and that they need to elect him to prevent that from happening. Folks in Anacostia (in S.E. DC, an over 90% black area) ate it up.

  21. Alex Bensky Says:

    I disagree with your theory, Tom. It strikes me as similar to black assertions that Africa is “the homeland.”

    There is a great deal of what might well be termed tribal thinking among black Americans, but it’s not because of any African cultural ties, especially as any such ties after centuries are greatly attenuated. For perfectly understandable reasons, though, appeals to racial solidarity over everything else resonate with many blacks and as they are effective in getting votes and/or maintaining power and influence, they continue to be made.

    I don’t say it’s wise or productive; quite the opposite. But I understand why it happens. I lived in Detroit for nearly two decades and now live in a contiguous suburb. The city would not be in good shape under any conditions–the economic and social stresses would be present even if the city had had more enlightened government–but the ossified bureaucracy and corrupt leadership certainly aggravates the situation markedly.

  22. Tom Says:

    I did not say my theorem was culturally rooted; far from it. I did say I think it is not tribalism. It is something more.

  23. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Tom, if you’re saying it’s something more, then one possibility you’d be posing is a hard-wired propensity to behave that way, more so than other races.
    There are two problems with that. One is that African Americans who came here or whose parents came here from elsewhere do not exhibit that trait,afaik.
    The other is that you’d have to posit a different set of environmental pressures in Africa than in the rest of the world in order to press the humans resideing therein to have differing reactions to the Big Man.
    Keep in mind that, until democracy, most governments combined the qualities of fascism and a protection racket.
    Louis Quatorze, for example, attacked everybody he could find on a map, and it was said that the trees along the country roads leaned inward because of the frequency of supporting hanged peasants.
    A few, Rome, for example, tried to have a government of laws (“civis romanus sum”) and bless them for it. But, even in Rome it was rare.
    So we’re talking about a Big Man–the local baron, for example–as a constant in most of history and why it would have been different before that is unknown.

  24. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    “Neither Rangel nor Waters seems inclined to [throw themselves under the bus]”

    Well, of COURSE not. They have spent a lifetime playing the race-victim card, being OWED (not just money, but deference and respect) because they are black in a white-racist world. Society at large has let a verrrry looong generation of these race-grievance-mongers coast along on the excuse that “Whitey done me wrong”. The trouble is, this “helpless me, I’m a victim” whine still works. Waters and Rangel figure all they have to do is turn on the spigot of “Waah, those racists are picking on poor little black me AGAIN” and they’ll get a pass. It’s worked for them their whole lives, hasn’t it?

  25. Tom Says:

    My point, Richard, is that the Africans who came here and have been members of our polity for a good while, have not changed to any meaningful extent. I repeat: it is not tribalism. You don’t see it; I do.
    Hard-wiring certainly exists in humans and in other species too. Part of the nature/nurture debate.

  26. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Tom, my assessment is even grimmer. It’s not just Africans, but most of humanity. Outside of the Anglosphere – and a good portion inside it – that is how everyone thinks. Let your mind drift over the nations of the world and see how often it is true. Then look back on history, including honky-white European history up until relatively recently, and you see much the same.

    In America – and Canada, NZ, Australia – we had the enormous advantage of British political theories of something better taking hold when we were looking around for what kind of government to have. We adopted those things before the mother country did, showed they could work, and they began to spread back toward some countries of Western Europe.

  27. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    AVI, I agree. Our ancestors lived in tribal units for 125,000 years. It has only been since the invention of cities and then states (6000 years + or -) that we have had something more sophisticated than the tribe. Our genes gravitate toward the tribal form of organization. Much of what has happened since the Magna Carta has been on a trend away from tribalism toward the concept of individualism. In spite of the superior results in terms of living standards and freedom, it has been a struggle every step of the way because the genetic pull of tribalism has been strong. What we are experiencing today is not that unusual in the fullness of history. I believe that tribalism may have many more years of fight left in it, but the concept of individual rights will eventually triumph. However, that day will not occur in my lifetime. Another hundred years – perhaps?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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