The House Ways & Means Committee; the committee which has sole authority to write tax law; which has power to make huge corporations pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes with the addition or deletion of a semi-colon; the Committee which is, even more than the Appropriations Committee, under the absolute authority of its Chairman who is, ladies and gentleman, at the absolute center of power in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman Charles Rangel (DEMOCRAT - NY) was the chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. As you know, he was forced to resign in disgrace because even the House Democrats couldn't overlook the vast array of ethical and legal lapses this 40-year incumbent DEMOCRAT from New York had committed.
I know you can suffer a lapse; I'm not at all certain you can commit a lapse. Nevertheless Charles Rangel is a crook and a cheat and everyone (with the possible exception of Rangel) knows it.
The House Ethics Committee yesterday announced a series of 13 violations for which Rangel will have to stand trial.
Thirteen violations is bad enough. But if you read through the Ethics Committee report (which you can do by going to the Secret Decoder Ring Page) you see that the Committee needed 273 - TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE - separate specifications to explain the details of each of the thirteen violations.
Assuming Rangel doesn't cut a deal - at this point the details of a deal would have to be made public and would have to include an acknowledgement of guilt - according to that loudspeaker for GOP dogma, NPR, "a full trial will take place in September, following a seven-week summer recess."
Seven weeks? Doesn't that sound just a little excessive what with the North and South Koreans jawing at each other;
with unemployment at 9.5 percent;
with China taking over control of the world;
with Hugo Chavez threatening to cut off our oil supplies;
with Arizona and the Obama Administration suing each other over immigration policy;
with BP re-writing some of the agreements we were told Obama had gotten them to accept;
with OUR car company, GM, announcing its new electric vehicle will cost over $41,000 making it available only to rich people who won't be able to afford it because their taxes will skyrocket at the end of this year
with Afghanistan going backwards, and
with Ellen DeGeneres being fired from "American Idol"
Maybe the Congress should stay and work.
I'm kidding, of course. We want the majority of them to go home. Permanently.
Charlie Rangel is not at the center of the Democrats' problems. House Democrats are caught in a political rip-tide which is washing them out to electoral sea.
When they lose control of the House in November, as I suspect they will, Mr. Rangel will be a handy scapegoat. "If not for Charlie Rangel, we would have held on to our majority," many will claim.
It took 40 years for the Democrats to become so bloated and corrupt that they lost control in the election of 1994. It took only 12 years for the Republicans to become so bloated and corrupt that they handed control back in the election of 2006.
Now, it will have taken the Democrats a mere four years of bloat and corruption to hand the gavel back to the GOP.
The House and Senate Democratic leadership have done too much, to too many, for too little, on behalf of too few.
The Rangel Tangle is not the Democrats' problem. Democrats are the Democrats' problem.