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Get out of the race, Rep. Rangel

It turns out that Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.) and the ethics subcommittee he led for nearly two years looking into misconduct allegations against Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) don’t have the authority to recommend sanctions against the Harlem congressman. "I found out that wasn't our authority," Green said. That’s good to know -- because it gives Rangel that much more time to do the honorable thing before the (velvet, no doubt) hammer hits. The 20-term dean of the New York congressional delegation must step aside in his bid for reelection.

Rangel is a very proud man. Chris Smith of New York magazine chronicles his extraordinary rise, his accomplishments and the emerging leaders champing at the bit to replace him. But it is that pride -- his continued resistance to admitting wrongdoing and his view that what he’s accused of is no different than what other members of Congress, mainly Republicans, have done -- that has irreparably damaged a career he spent 40 years building. And now Rangel’s self-indulgence threatens more than his legacy. It threatens his beloved Democratic Party, which is heading into the midterm elections with weakened prospects of holding power in the House amid raging anti-incumbent fever.

The trial of Charles B. Rangel by the adjudication subcommittee of the ethics committee will be a very public event. Its expected start date, Sept. 13, is significant for two reasons. First, it hands the Republicans a juicy target for their fall campaigns. They will say that Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed in her promise to drain the swamp of corruption in Congress. And Rangel would be their Exhibit A in what the GOP would claim are the excesses of an out-of-touch and cossetted Democratic majority. The former chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee stands accused of not paying taxes, not reporting investment income and flouting rules to benefit a pet project.

Second, the New York primary is Sept. 14. Folks in Rangel’s district were none too pleased by the charges against him. Though it was once unimaginable, some of his most ardent admirers and supporters are calling on him to "pack it in." The people are making their voices heard in the press. They should be heard at the ballot box on primary day by giving them a chance to send to Washington someone free of ethical taint.

"I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served his constituents very well, but these allegations are very troubling, and, you know, he's somebody who is at the end of his career, 80 years old," President Obama told CBS News in a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday and today. "I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity, and my hope is that happens."

Pride cometh before the fall. Rangel has fallen. The most dignified thing he could do -- for his constituents and his party -- is announce that he will not seek reelection.

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 1, 2010; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

The GOP has to say Pelosi failed in her promise to drain the swamp of corruption because the media is afraid to even mention it.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | August 2, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

The past doesn't justify the present. Yes, Rangel should get out of the way as soon as possible.

We must be a government of laws, not men.

Posted by: TomMiller1 | August 2, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I think Charlie should fight tooth and nail and force the Democrats through the entire House trial process if they want him out. So he got a deal on an apratment? Who cares? So he dodged a little tax, he paid up. So he took a few junkets, it's small potatos. The charges in the House should be dropped and if the Democrats want to REALLY drain the swamp, they'd go after House and Senate banking officials, such as Chris Dodd. They'd go after Pelosi and the sweetheart tax breaks that have been bestowed upon narrow categories of business that ooops, just happened to include her husband's businesses back in San Fran. Interested in draining a swamp? How did the Obamas, BEFORE any book revenue came in, buy a quarter million dollar piece of land back in Chicago and put a $1,600,000 mansion on it? How did Michelle Obama, the very week Obama became a state legislator in Indiana wind up on a hospital board in Chicago at a salary of $350,000 a year? Maxine Waters sat there and roasted bank and Wall Street officials for months when her husband was in the middle of milking FDIC and the Federal Reserve and later, TARP with his banking enterprises back in Ca. AND, the bank paid the Waters' tens of millions and then received rescues over and over since 2002. The sheer size of the theft, corruption and cozy deals and hypocrisy by all the other heavies in the Democrat party literally DWARF Charlie's foibles a thousandfold. Every one of them, from Pelosi, Dodd, Waters, the entire FreddyMac and FannyMae cadre', their corruptions the past 2 decades render unto Charlie's issues the status of a grain of sand on a beach by comparison. Yet, it's Charlie they now throw under the bus in a great bluster of "outrage" to distract from THEIR thievery and corruption. Democrats eating their own to cover themselves. As I said, brathtaking.

Posted by: JamesChristian | August 2, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Rangel is a Black, a Democrat and from a Black District in NY !

He will and can get re elected as a Black Democrat !

The ethic problems he faces are not a problem for him !

Why does he owe tax on income from out of the country ?

Can someone answer that for me ?

.

Posted by: Acornisascam | August 2, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

And Johnathan you are a glaring example today of why the repubs are much better than dems at this game.

I ask you. What happened with William Jefferson of La? Did he resign from office or was he voted out? Voted out right?

So why not allow that to happen to Rangel as it has worked for Vitter, Ensign, Kyl et. al? The reason you won't is because democrats love to "show the world" that we are above it all when at the end of the day, the ONLY reason dems and yourself (as you clearly indicated here) want Rangel to retire is for POLITICAL reasons.

So please spare me with this "our better angels" crap because we backed a former president found guilty of lying under oath for his affair. The difference here is that the "politics" is not on Rangels side and the media and whimpy dems like you like to take napkins to a knife fight.

Posted by: dcis1 | August 2, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm not from NY so I'm not a Rangel constituent.

I have admired Rangel for many years. He’s a Purple Heart and Bronze star Korean War recipient. When Rangel called for the draft to be reinstated for the Iraq War as an enlisted man he had the moral authority.

I’m very sorry to see that in his final years this is what so many will remember him for and not his outstanding military service and congressional career.

Posted by: rlj1 | August 2, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention that we also share the same birthdate :).

Posted by: rlj1 | August 2, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

rangel should only go to trial if he is going to name names with dates, the corporations that are invovled etc of the other congressmen he says are corrupt.

Posted by: newagent99 | August 2, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Kudo to Pelosi for draining the swamp. Unfortunately, it is uncovering corrupt Democrats who have been the mainstay of the party for decades.

Should Rangel fall on his sword for the good of the party? Right, Party Uber Alles.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | August 2, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It never seizes to amaze me that the republicans have chosen to go after 2 black dems. during Obama's term. Cheney and the great ole boy network stole for years and they are still heavily involved in corruption with the government and not one word has or was said. Come on what this ethics panel has brought up has been going on with every congressman and senator for decades. they should be questions those that are the banks and insurance company's pockets. Most people who don't live in the DMV would be very distraught with this headline, we people ho is around this Hill know that this is not uncommon for Congressmen and Senators. All of them are crooks, why you think only Millionares run for these offices and not your everyday Joe.

Posted by: rickyjohnson1 | August 3, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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