Rangel, Waters, ethics and Congress
Our Readers Who Comment are having a wonderful time this morning bashing Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and congressional ethics in general as they ponder a Ruth Marcus column that asks "What is wrong with these people?" and says the tempting answer is "They're members of Congress."
Many readers are appalled at what they see in Congress generally as Rangel and Waters face trials in the House ethics committee. Some complain that only Democrats are being targeted. There are the ever-popular calls for term limits. Many readers suggest that Rangel and Waters will use the "race card" in their attempts to avoid punishment, an argument Jonathan Capehart find ridiculous.
But as Marcus writes, "...there is something in the congressional atmosphere of compliant aides and fawning courtiers that enables and encourages their sense of ordinary-rules-don't-apply-to-me entitlement. The longer they stay... and the safer their seats, the sloppier they tend to get, and the more there tends to be an unseemly merger of the personal and the official."
We'll start with two rather different positions on the question.
ZnanaB asked, "Why have a 'trial' after all. You seem to have convicted these two already. Why not wait to hear their side of the story?"
While BuyAmerican wrote, "Both of these individuals have been caught red-handed and they still don't have the class to resign. If the democrats dont want to loose the house in November they better get busy and take out the trash."
staterighter said, "Poster children for Term Limits. Of course as long as they continue to send "earmarks" to key supporters they will remain in office. There is more than enough corruption to go around."
viejo70 suggested that "With both of them being black and members of the black caucus, any threat against them will be deemed racist. If a white non-member of any government organization were to do what Rangel did I would go to jail for tax evasion where they will be judged by their peers. As the story goes they will live happly ever after."
bjrboyd said, "They're both crooks. But, the question is, will the race card save them?"
kstack wrote, "Okay, I am willing to admit that many House members swim in a soup of tainted money, and latch onto it in ways that are problematic.
So how is it that the only two Reps facing ethics charges are a) black and b) Democrats?"
mirrorgazer opined that "...if either of these so-called leaders plan to play a race card in the current political environment, most voters (taxpayers) are too weary to fall for it. Maybe political correctness is on the wane. Nothing like a country's citizens losing their livelihoods to put things in perspective about who we'll elect to lead us."
Listening2 said, "It is called arrogance. Rangel and Waters have been in Congress so long they forget and think they own the place. Maxine Waters has done a lot for her district and she really cares, however, what she did was unethical and possibly a crime. She and Rangel should suffer the consequences of their actions. It is time for Rangel to retire, too bad he is going this way, but these are the consequences of his behavior."
poster1231 was one of several who asked, "Why do you insist on making this about conservative v progressive? [Rep.] John Ensign [R-Nev.] is in trouble for payoffs and breaking federal laws around lobbying (all to cover up an extra marital affair). [Sen.] Tom Coburn [R-Okla.] just turned over evidence. Ensign's aides are testifying against him. He's a conservative. This has nothing to do with progressive/conservative. It's just about being honest or not."
sun52shine wrote, "Believe non of what you hear, 25% of what you see and none of what you read in the newspapers. A person is innocent until proven guilty. Just because the ethnics committee said does not make it so."
jdonner2 said, "The Washington culture of entitlement goes far beyond Rangle and Waters and the House. It extends to the entire Washington political class, the politicians, ex politicians, political consultants, lobbyists, lawyers, staffers and "journelists" in Washington. How is it that a city that produces nothing is the center of the richest metro area in the Country. You all live off the taxpayes money and the billions upon billions that you extort from the rest of the Country as the price of keeping Washington off our collective backs."
jkk1943 wrote, "I have some respect for Rangel. He is a decorated Korean War Vet and although I don't like his liberal politics, he seems like a decent man that made some serious mistakes. Waters, on the other hand, seems totally inept if not brain dead. I looked at some of her performances on YouTube the other night. Life imitating art; staright out of a Saturday Night live skit mocking Congress."
jkk1943 said, "We need to clean house, establish term limits and reduce their perqs, especially the Congressional Fleet of Jets. The thought of Pelosi jetting back and forth between DC and SF on her own private plane as she touts herself as a tribune of the downtrodden is chuzpah elevated to an art form. This has to stop. Thank God we will have a chance to turn things around this November."
gasmonkey wrote, "Marcus, you are dead right...This behavior is RAMPANT. If you work for an agency, it is common practice for Congressmen to contact the agency to strongarm them into giving contracts to their constituents, or prevent them from terminating contracts to their constituents. They ALL do it, because they all think those ethics rules are for someone else."
We'll close with thesilverback, who asked, "Haven't the lot of you grown tired of the Dems are better than Reps and Reps are better than Dems arguments? Are you guys really that unaware of reality that you believe so firmly that one party is better than the other? Anyone with any sense would register as an Independent, think and research before voting, and then vote for an individual rather than a party... It's time to separate yourselves from the herd and think independently."
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