In keeping with her commitment to the American people, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should demand the resignation of Charlie Rangel, the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Charlie has been a very bad boy.
Pelosi announced in 2006, after the victories returning Democrats to the majority, "The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history."
Now Nancy has a chance to honor her word. Or will she weasel around and come up with several lame excuses as she has since taking her current position.
She has an opportunity here with Rangel to follow her own moral compass. Who can forget the vitriolic position Pelosi took against Tom Delay in 2004? DeLay was admonished by the ethics committee, and Pelosi let him have it with both barrels: "Mr. DeLay has proven himself to be ethically unfit to lead the party."
But that wasn't all. She went on to say, "The burden falls upon his fellow House Republicans. Republicans must answer: Do they want an ethically unfit person to be their leader, or do they want to remove the ethical cloud that hangs over the Capitol?"
Good question Madame Speaker! It's one you should ask yourself and fellow Democrats this weekend. The ethics committee is not yet done with Mr. Rangel. It is still conducting an ongoing investigation of his questionable activities. I suspect it will find more dirt on the embattled chairman. Why not spare him the pain and get him out now? What reasons could she find to keep him?
Quite a few.
First of all, Charlie is a liberal Democrat. They are not supposed to have ethics or morals. They can hide cash in the freezer, hire high-dollar hookers and cheat on a wife battling cancer, and no one seems concerned. They can have sex in the Oval Office with an intern or kill a girl in a car wreck in Chappaquiddick and still go on to serve for decades. So why should a few shady deals disqualify Charlie from future service? He didn't kill anyone, did he?
Second, the speaker may be worried about the same issue McCain and Hillary worried about in 2008. Charlie happens to be African-American. She has to be careful or she will be tagged with the "R" word, especially if Charlie's media hungry, race-baiting friends like Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al get involved. It could become very complicated.
Oh this could be good!
The whole sordid tale will be interesting to watch. Nancy promised to "drain the swamp." And while I think she was delusional, she did tell the American people she would restore accountability to Congress. Openness and transparency have been her trademarks. Ha!
What the speaker does with Charlie should be closely watched. Her boss, Mr. Obama, has been reminding the American people nonstop that the politics need to end and that it's time to get to the American people's business and not allow politics to impede that process.
Politics is the only reason Charlie may keep his job. He is very powerful. But if Mr. Obama and Nancy believe their own words, Rangel's lack of ethics, openness and honesty should cost him his job.
I think we all know what the speaker is going to do, but it will be a great lesson in consistency and the lack thereof. I only hope the stoners in Pelosi's district understand what a con artist they have representing them. If they send her back for another two years, which I fully expect them to do, they do so knowing she is willing to lie, cheat and steal to maintain power – even to the detriment of her own constituents.
Ethics and accountability are to Nancy Pelosi what holy water is to the devil. She can only pray that other Democrats demand Charlie's resignation for her, which I suspect will happen. In all of this, she will once again show the American people she is not a leader, but a loser.
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