Charlie Rangel’s Enablers

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the world’s worst cleaning lady. How has she fulfilled her vaunted promise to “drain the swamp” and preside over the “most ethical Congress in history”? By shrugging her shoulders, downplaying the gravity of myriad ethics charges against corruptocrat Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel and waiting for the “political chips” to “fall where they may.” Imagine a custodial service that fixed toilet clogs by letting the overflowing waste and polluted waters “fall where they may.”

At a press conference to preempt the bipartisan House ethics panel’s announcement of 13 ethics and federal regulation charges against Rangel on Thursday afternoon, Pelosi claimed to take “great pride” in her swamp-draining record. Unblinkingly, she cited the House trial against Rangel as proof that the “process” is working. But that beleaguered panel has been pathetically understaffed, has dragged its feet for two years on the Rangel case and has administered more halfhearted wrist-slaps than all the pushover parents on a season of “Nanny 911.”

Clinging bitterly to the moral equivalence card, Pelosi carped about Bush-era GOP corruption. (Cue a chorus of “Let’s do the time warp again!”) Her lips were sealed, however, on the continuing wheeling and dealing behind the scenes between Rangel’s lobbyist-funded lawyers and the ethics panel on a deal to avoid a congressional trial.

A full-blown public trial would thoroughly air his self-dealing, habitual bad-faith failures to report income, multiple House gift ban and solicitation ban violations, flouting of franking privilege and letterhead rules, and a fundamental “pattern of indifference or disregard for the laws, rules and regulations of the United States and House of Representatives,” as the House ethics statement of violations put it. But, hey, what about that GEORGE W. BUSH, eh, Pelosi?

Bush-whack all you want. The Rangel stench is overwhelming. Along the way, Rangel has obstructed House investigators, failed to produce documents and refused previous settlement offers — prompting House ethics investigative subcommittee member Rep.

Jo Bonner, R-Ala., to reject the Rangel-as-victim narrative. Misfortune didn’t befall Rangel. He chose his path. While bleeding-heart lefties in the media, like The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, mourn entrenched incumbent Rangel’s sudden fall (he “took 36 years to climb to the top, only to lose it all in an instant”), there is nothing sudden about the entitlement sclerosis that took hold of his career.

And there is nothing ethical about the Democratic enablers who have shown their own long pattern of indifference or disregard for clean, open, transparent government.

I remind you that in March, Speaker Mop & Glo was minimizing Rangel’s mountain of alleged transgressions by pooh-poohing that “it was a violation of the rules of the House. It was not something that jeopardized our country in any way.” GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, a member of the House ethics investigative subcommittee, begged to differ. “Credibility is what’s at stake here; the very credibility of the House itself,” he said at the hearing announcing the baker’s dozen of ethics charges. Echoing Pelosi’s nonchalance, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters sniffed that “many members” of the House are as habitually sloppy and apathetic toward House ethics rules as Rangel — her good friend and Congressional Black Caucus ally.

Since Day One, the identity-politics caucus that Rangel helped found has stood by his side and blamed anti-black bias for Rangel’s troubles. Rangel likened media scrutiny of his shady rent-controlled apartment deals and tax troubles to a “lynching.” CBC member Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., called it a “witch hunt.” And an unidentified, tinfoil-hatted black House Democrat told Politico: “It looks as if there is somebody out there who understands what the rules (are) and sends names to the ethics committee with the goal of going after the (CBC).”

Never mind that the supposedly bigoted House ethics panel exonerated four CBC members of their participation in corporate-funded tax junkets to the Caribbean. When the polls are down and damning evidence keeps mounting, first yell “BUSH!” Then yell “RAAAAACIST!”

As last-minute deal-making between Rangel and the foxes guarding the congressional henhouse continues, more and more Americans are coming to the same conclusions: House-soilers can’t be cleaners. Voters, not Washington politicians, are the ultimate ethics committee.

July 29th, 2010
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