Thingish Things

The Audacity of Rangel

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Mar• 27•12

It is amazing that the Republic has survived 236 years with representatives in office like Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and his supporters. His defiance in receiving the lightest slap on the wrist today for stealing money and public benefits over a period of years in the form of four rent controlled apartments is the stuff of Tammany-Hall-style legend. If one sought to capture the arrogance  of the American career politician under a glass, one could not have found a more perfect specimen to display.

Rangel, for anyone who has forgotten, was caught living in three rent-controlled Harlem apartments — he combined all three to create a pied-à-terre overlooking Central Park — and using a fourth, several floors below, for a campaign office.  Several problems: 1. Rent-controlled apartments are supposed to be for lower-income people; not the then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee with a secret Caribbean hideaway; 2. Even the poorest New Yorker is prohibited by law from having more than one rent-controlled apartments, much less four, and 3. It is illegal to use rent-controlled apartments for business, especially for the business of congressional campaigns.

So how did Mr. Rangel, through a spokesman, respond to a miniscule $23,000 fine for his actions?  Here is the quote: “People settle not because they’re guilty but because they don’t want to go through the arduous process and expense to show they’re not guilty.” This after Mr. Rangel fought the legal proceedings against him for more than three years.

Whenever Charlie Rangel comes under fire for these and other misdeeds, he goes on attack or pulls out his Korean War veteran card. What that has to do with his crooked behavior God only knows.  We all thank him for his service; now what about those apartments, Charlie?

The worst example of modern politics is not Mr. Rangel, though.  He is merely a player on the grand stage. The real culprits are those who condone his behavior by attending lavish parties for him in the wake of the scandal, return him to office time after time, and erect monuments in his name — with taxpayer dollars — throughout Harlem. They are now monuments to gross political arrogance. 

Charlie Rangel is an amiable man and a talented politician.  But in the end, he is a crook, like so many others. And an unrepentant one at that.

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One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    Great post.

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