Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hickey: Charlie Rangel Goes All Blago - Veiled Threat, to Colleagues?

Pat Hickey, who's been on a blogging roll lately, quotes Dana Milbank on Rangel's taunt at Democrats in Congress.
"You're not going to tell me to resign to make you feel comfortable," Rangel informed his Democratic colleagues. "And for those who disagree, I'm sorry, but that's one thing you can't take away from me."

Midway through the diatribe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left her seat and walked to the back of the chamber. When Rangel finally finished, a few dozen Democrats -- mostly members of the black caucus, New Yorkers and liberals -- stood to applaud. Most Democrats -- including Rep. David Obey (Minn.), the man who was leading the teachers-and-cops bill on the floor -- sat in silence. Democratic members, approached by reporters for comment as they left the chamber, looked stricken. . . "You're not going to tell me to resign to make you feel comfortable," Rangel informed his Democratic colleagues. "And for those who disagree, I'm sorry, but that's one thing you can't take away from me. . . Rangel rambled through the allegations against him. Fundraising with official letterhead: "Grabbing the wrong stationery." The center named after him at the City University of New York: "A broken-down building." The office in the rent-controlled apartment: "The landlord has said he didn't treat me differently." The unpaid taxes on his Caribbean vacation place: "You'd have to be a tax expert" to get that right, said the deposed chairman of the tax-writing committee.

The diatribe was directed mostly at his own side of the aisle, where "no one is coming forward saying Rangel is not corrupt." He said he was told that his colleagues "all love you . . . but they love themselves better." He mocked those who turned against him for political expediency: "Do what you have to do."

Repeatedly, he dared his colleagues to vote on his fate. "Are you going to expel me from this body?" he demanded. "Are you going to say that while there's no evidence that I took a nickel, asked for a nickel, that there's no sworn testimony, no conflict, that I have to leave here?"

The angry lawmaker left his colleagues with two words: "Go home."
Go home is lucky.... anyone else in Rangel's shoes would face hard time at the hands of an unforgiving IRS and DOJ. Much truth spoken by Rangel here though, as by Blagojevich. Get in a bind, the threats against friends flow, truth revealed. That they all go home for America's sake our hope.

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