Posted on | January 2, 2013 | 17 Comments
“No one has been through the fire more so than our congressperson, and we in the district have sent him back because we have faith in him, and that he has our interests in mind, and quite frankly he’s one of us.”
— Keith L. T. Wright, co-chairman of the New York Democratic Party, praising Rep. Charles Rangel, June 25, 2012
“It is the inordinately selfish . . . who are likely to be the most persuasive champions of selflessness.”
— Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, 1951
Advocates of economic redistribution do not generally think of themselves as motivated by selfishness. Egalitarianism typically presents itself as a species of humanitarian philanthropy so that its political advocates are seldom compelled to defend their implicit claims to be acting in the altruistic spirit of charity.
The Democratic Party gets a free pass in this regard. Let any thievish political scoundrel put a “D” beside his name, and he thereby gains for himself the presumption that his every impulse is motivated by a selfless concern for the plight of the downtrodden poor.
As a hustle — a scam, a racket — this is brilliant. And it is an insult to people with common sense to expect us to buy into this hustle.
So last night, as the House debated the “fiscal cliff” deal, I was insulted when Charles Rangel got up and began ranting about how wrong it was for Republicans to want to reduce the deficit by cutting spending.
Corrupt tax cheat Charlie Rangel now lecturing about the immorality of Republicans
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) January 2, 2013
While I have been unable to find a transcript or video of that speech, it was shocking to think that Rangel expected his political sermon to be taken seriously, given what we know about his own shabby ethics:
A House panel on Tuesday [Nov. 16, 2010] found Representative Charles B. Rangel guilty of 11 counts of ethical violations, ruling that his failure to pay some taxes, improper solicitation of charitable donations and failure to accurately report his personal income had brought dishonor on the House. . . .
Since the accusations were first raised two years ago, Mr. Rangel has acknowledged bookkeeping errors in his financial disclosure forms and has said that his failure to pay more than $60,000 in taxes on rental income from a Dominican beach house was an oversight, caused, in part, by his inability to speak Spanish. . . .
The investigation of Mr. Rangel began after news reports that he had accepted four rent-stabilized apartments at prices hundreds of dollars per month below market value.
In the months that followed, Mr. Rangel confronted more ethics accusations. He was accused of failing to declare hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal assets on his financial disclosure forms, failing to pay state and federal taxes on rental income on his villa in the Dominican Republic and helping to preserve a tax loophole worth hundreds of millions of dollars for an oil company at the same time that he was seeking a $1 million contribution to the Rangel Center from a company executive.
Every cell of Charles Rangel’s being is corrupt and immoral. His entire career has been one enormous lie and everyone who ever voted for him should feel a deep sense of personal shame. Yet despite his proven wrongdoing — which would have been enough to send any ordinary citizen to federal prison — this congressional crook was re-elected by his constituents and remains a Democrat in good standing.
Why do Republicans sit silently and accept this? What combination of cowardice and stupidity in the GOP leadership grants a free pass to such despicable creatures as Charles Rangel?
Do Republicans actually believe that citizens of Harlem and other such deep-blue districts are incapable of understanding that the absurd philantropic pose of Democrats like Charles Rangel — “He has our interests in mind”! — is a perverse crime against truth?
Rangel is peddling the Big Lie, and until the GOP stands up to Big Liars like him, spare me your lame excuses about “demographics”:
Americans have been repeatedly told in recent years that “the rich” (however that term is defined) are not paying “their fair share” of taxes, and that this greedy unfairness is the explanation of anything that needs explaining. Did the local factory lay off workers? The rich are not paying their fair share! Is your daughter struggling to repay her student loans? The rich are not paying their fair share!
Especially in the “swing states” during last year’s election campaign, voters heard this Democrat message so often, in so many iterations, that it must have seemed like the universal panacea, a sort of snake-oil miracle cure. Whatever your problem — obesity, dandruff, halitosis, chronic flatulence — the Democrats promised to cure it by finally forcing the rich to Pay Their Fair Share. This message proved to be amply satisfactory to people too stupid or too lazy to bother themselves with arithmetic. Perhaps it is not entirely a coincidence that comparatively few of those math-deficient voters are themselves rich.
Since their Election Day catastrophe, Republicans have been wringing their hands over “demographics” (by which they mean black and Hispanic voters), but exit-poll data show that economics may explain more than demographics. Barack Obama spent much of the campaign espousing a message that pitted “the rich” against “the middle class,” but in the end, a majority of the middle class actually voted for Mitt Romney. While the Republican challenger got 53 percent among those earning more than $50,000 a year — who comprised 59 percent of the electorate, according to exit polls — Obama won by piling up massive margins among the poor and those struggling at the lower edges of middle-class status. Although voters making less than $30,000 a year were only 20 percent of the electorate, Obama got 63 percent of their vote, and he got 57 percent of those with annual incomes between $30,000 and $50,000. Among the Seven Deadly Sins, not even Lust is more important than Envy when it comes to electing Democrats. . . .