It’s hard to believe that my previous column represented my fifth full year of writing for The Daily Star. That’s around 120 columns (I missed a few times), 100,000 words, hundreds of supporters and a bunch of ticked off secular progressives.
It is impossible to run out of ideas, and there are a lot of topics I still want to write about but haven’t yet had the chance. I must admit, however, that the submission deadline has been creeping up on me faster and faster, and I find myself procrastinating more and more.
But back to the latest news. This time it involves that crook Charlie Rangel, just the latest of a string of dishonest Democrats bringing embarrassment to their colleagues. He was just censured by his House colleagues when in all actuality he should have been expelled from Congress and then prosecuted for all his brazenly intentional misdeeds that took place over many years.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could commit all kinds of ethical lapses and cheat on our taxes like Rangel did and only have to stand before an IRS panel and be chastised for a half-hour or so? Also, after this “censure,” we could go on and pretend nothing had happened while we suffered no further consequences.
My, what an actor Charlie has been over the last week or so. First, he was all smiles and not worrying one bit about what was going to happen to him. After all, Nancy Pelosi, that old self-proclaimed swamp cleaner, was going to continue to ignore the facts for a little while longer. All his misdeeds were going on under her surgically perfected nose, and she hadn’t done a thing about it for the last four years, so why should she start now?
She also stalled the ethics hearings on Rangel for more than 60 days so that he would not be a distracting and embarrassing element during the then-upcoming 2010 elections. After this, all of a sudden, the push was on to have the hearings take place as soon as possible before a Republican was appointed head of the ethics committee.
Alas, it was to no avail. He tried everything from talking about his heroism from 60 years ago (as a matter of fact, he kept bringing this up until people were beginning to get nauseated), then he kept shrugging it off as if it were no big deal. He tried the brazen approach when he chastised the committee for not giving him enough time to prepare (the investigation had been going on for more than two years) and not giving his entire 60-year record the appropriate respect.
After the bluster strategy, he tried the whining approach and then even turned on the tears to see if that gained him any sympathy.
Maybe he finally quit defending himself because of the 4,200 pages of evidence the committee had. Maybe it was because the committee attorney presenting the case said there wasn’t even the need to call any witnesses since the evidence was so damning.
Whatever the reason, the embarrassment should now switch to the House itself and its members. The evidence was so stacked against him the House should have been voting for expulsion rather than censure, but it circled the wagons around a colleague and only voted to censure him. Even then there were 79 representatives who voted to not even hit him with censure, even when the evidence so clearly proved his guilt. These people are going to have to be the next to be evicted from Congress in 2012. I’m sure some of them also served on the O.J. Simpson trial and voted not guilty.
We the people are going to have to continue to take matters into our own hands and take out the trash ourselves come election time. Charlie Rangel is an embarrassment to himself, his colleagues and his country, and should be sitting in jail this very moment. Let’s hope this still could happen.
Tom Sears is a local professor of accounting in Oneonta. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears every other week. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/tomsears.