Charlie Rangel is in the hottest water of his political career as the embattled House Ways and Means Committee chair announced he wouldn’t be resigning from his leadership position amid calls for his ouster from Republicans, and now from Dem. Rep. Artur Davis, who said that Rangel “should do the right thing and step aside.” At least 14 other Democrats have joined in the call for Rangel to step down as well, putting intense pressure on both Rangel and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Rangel is accused of massive tax fraud, an offense compounded by the fact that Rangel’s committee sets tax law. It’s hard to envision Rangel lasting much longer as chair of the committee with calls from both sides for his sacking. Quite frankly, it’s more than embarrassing that he has lasted this long.
Rangel’s stubborn refusal to give up his power is quite indicative of the state of Washington as a whole. Too many career politicians have used the system for their own benefit, and feel that government and the people owe them one for all their terrific service. The arrogance and know-it-all attitude, while steadily present in both parties for years, has been turned up several notches in recent months. Does this signal a return to sanity in our nation’s capital?
Don’t bet on it. The Democrats will be forced to oust Rangel kicking and screaming, and the health care debate is likely to enter a whole new realm of partisanship with the probability of unilateral reconciliation. The ridiculousness isn’t over – it’s only just beginning.