Charlie Rangel doesn't know when to quit
I almost spit out my leftover stuffing when I read the convenient leak (no, not that one) that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) intends to ask the House Ethics Committee to slap him with a "reprimand" instead of the more serious "censure." The guy is determined to shred what little remains of his tattered dignity.
There is a difference between reprimand and censure with censure meted out for the most serious offenses. Rangel, forever full of high self-regard, contends that he doesn't deserve to lumped in with crooks and criminals. And while even the committee's chief counsel gave him a rhetorical "get out of jail free" card by saying he didn't think the Harlem congressman was corrupt, the committee did note that "the cumulative nature of his offenses" pushed it to slap the former chair of Ways and Means with censure. It made the right decision.
Rangel's latest maneuver is yet another attempt to put off the inevitable. A reprimand is just a vote and probably a blurb in the next day's news briefs. But censure requires the accused to stand in the well of the House while he is admonished by the Speaker and the resolution against him is read in the chamber. Rangel loves the House and its role in a democracy he helped to defend. That's why censure would be the ultimate indignity for a man who placed himself on such a high pedestal within it. But cry me a river on that one. He only has himself to blame.
Rangel had the chance earlier this year to cut a deal to avoid this shameful public spectacle. Instead, he opted to play cat and mouse with the committee. In fact, during a press conference in August, Rangel boldly declared, "I'm not asking for leniency." Such tactics worked for him in the past. Not anymore. The cat is now mouse, crushed in a trap of his own making.
| November 29, 2010; 8:32 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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