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Rangel conspiracy theories: one impossible, another almost certain

As conspiracy theories go, New York State Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell IV's assertion that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is conspiring to choose his replacement for the seat he's held since 1971 is pretty rich. According to Powell, this diabolical plan calls for Rangel "to be reelected and then resign abruptly to appoint his successor." I wouldn't put it past Rangel to try something like this. If only it were remotely possible for him to do it or get away with it.

The problem with the Powell scenario is that a Rangel resignation would trigger a special election called by the governor. Under other scenarios, the likelihood of Rangel mischief in that case ranges from remote to none. And Rangel is so politically weak right now that his seal of approval could be the kiss of electoral death. That Powell is trying to unseat Rangel adds to the high-drama in Harlem. Rangel ran and won in 1970 against the ethically challenged incumbent, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. -- the father of the man now trying to keep Rangel from a 21st term in the House.

Rangel gave up the gavel as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee after a wrist slap from the ethics committee last month. But there are more serious allegations that are being probed, such as how the man who helps to write tax laws somehow forgot to disclose two checking accounts that have up to $500,000 in them -- each. Now here's my not-so-far-fetched conspiracy theory. That ethics report won't see the light of day until after the November election, if ever. You think Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) wants that hot potato landing on her members in tight congressional races across the country? To release it now is to hand Republicans a juicy talking point that will resonate with struggling and frustrated voters tired of the gilded ways of Washington.

Come to think of it, this isn't a conspiracy theory. It's a political reality. And this leads to the second part of my hunch and where I'm in agreement with Powell. If Rangel is lucky enough to be entrusted with another two-year term, I wouldn't be surprised if he resigned before the end of that term, assuming he takes his seat in the 112th Congress at all. In this way, the man who appeared to play by his own rules gets to leave on his own terms, which is how he always wants it.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 14, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Rangel belongs where others who have done as he has done belong: prisoo.

Posted by: sailhardy | April 14, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yeah. That's right. It's all a conspiracy. He's NOT a CROOK. He doesn't have FIVE RENT CONTROLLED APARTMENTS. He DIDN"T use one of them as a CAMPIAGN OFFICE. Everybody has CHECKING ACCOUNTS with $500,000 in them, that 'Slips their minds'. I know that I park my JUNK CAR where I work? (Can't keep that Checking Account up to snuff, if I'm paying Storage fees.) He FORGOT to REPORT INCOME on his TAX FORM, for RENT he received from his Caribbean Villa. It's really not his fault. Those things are hard to understand. It's not like he's the Chairman of the TAX WRITING COMMITTE. Ooops. (Where DOES he get ALL THAT MONEY?) Or is THAT a Conspiracy too?
Just remember the Liberal Template. Charlie Rangel was a Slave in a past life. He's Black, so he's really not that SMART. NOTHING should be EXPECTED of him, because he's BLACK and he just doesn't understand the way things are done. We should all feel a little more EMPATHY for the PLIGHT of this POOR BLACK MAN, living under the White Mans' OPPRESSION, and just forget that any of this ever happened. And concentrate on the things that are important for our future. Like, how stupid Sarah Palin is.
Right, Sweetheart?

Posted by: GoomyGommy | April 14, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Everyday I read wapo.com and damn near every day there is an article or opinion piece critical of the Tea Party, conservatives or Republicans. Few and far between are the criticisms of the progressives or Democrats. Has Charlie Rangel suddenly gone straight? Is Waxman no longer abusing his authority? Is ACORN's demise just a publicity stunt? I guess the citizens need to start doing their own investigative reporting since the mainstream media has abandoned all pretense of objectivity and have become the public relations arm of the Democratic Party.

Shame on all of you at the Washington Post.

Posted by: tulsadave | April 14, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

He is protected by Congress, he also owns island property financed by the tenements of Manhattan.
As an Untouchable, he can retire very well.

Posted by: RayOne | April 14, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Powell is a far cry from his dad. As ethically challanged as Rangel is he would still beat him. State Sen. Perkins or Assy member Wright are far and away better candidates.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | April 14, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Would any of Rangel's problems matter if he were a member of the "FAMILY" and a C-Street resident?

Probably not!

Posted by: ddoiron1 | April 15, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm amazed at how how lefties like ddoiron1 writes opinions like they do. They just point their "little" fingers at Republicans and try to change the subject.

TODAY IS TAX DAY! DID ANY OF YOU PLAY BY THE RULES LIKE I DID ALL YEAR, AND STAND IN LINE AT THE POST OFFICE TODAY??? OH, BY THE WAY, DID ANY OF YOU HAPPEN TO SEE CHARLIE RANGEL (D)NY, OR TIMMIE GEITHNER, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY STANDING IN LINE TO PAY THEIR TAXES LIKE "WE THE PEOPLE" DID? I THINK NOT!

OH, MAYBE CHARLIE RANGEL (D)NY, WAS TOO BUSY WRITING THE LAWS THAT "WE THE PEOPLE" ARE EXPECTED TO OBEY, TO NOTICE THAT HE "FORGOT" TO PAY HIS TAXES! OH, AND TIMMIE GEITHNER, HE WAS PROBABLY ENJOYING HIS TAX DAY WITH HIS BUDDIES ON WALL STREET!

SO MUCH FOR "LIBERTY, AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!"

WE THE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING, AND WE WILL NOT BE DIS-RESPECTED AND TREATED LIKE A BUNCH OF UNEDUCATED SUCKERS LIKE THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION AND THEIR FELLOW DEMOCRATS THINK THAT WE ARE.

WE'LL CONTINUE TO OBEY THE LAW, AND BE PEACEFUL, AND DO THINGS IN AN ORDERLY MANNER! BUT WE WILL NOT BE TREATED LIKE THE "SUCKERS" THAT YOU THINK WE ARE!

NOVEMBER IS COMING, AND SO ARE WE!!! WE'LL REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Posted by: barrysal | April 15, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

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