Diary

Rangel loses it on the House floor today

Apparently today’s “emergency” House session included letting Charlie Rangel rant and rave and mostly whine for 30 minutes. I bet all the members who had to fly back to Washington today were thrilled to sit there and have to listen to his diatribe before resuming their month-long vacation.

One of the first things he said was: “I’ve always tried to play by the rules.” At least he didn’t waste a lot of time before making it clear that he had become totally disconnected from reality.

He spent a good amount of time griping about how fellow Democrats are throwing him under the bus because they think it helps their re-election chances. He also kept explaining what Obama meant by saying he should retire with dignity, including that the President “didn’t put a time limit on it.”

Then he went on to whine about how unfair the Ethics Committee has been, saying they keep stretching things out and keeping him in the dark. “I’m 80 years old. I don’t want to die before the hearing.”

He says his “mistakes” include things like “grabbing the wrong stationery” – nothing that shows corruption in any way shape or form. He says the building that would bear his name was just a broken-down dump that no one would want their name on. He didn’t know that he was supposedly getting an office there and that he didn’t want or need one. It’s all just about helping the kids of course – that’s all he cares about.

As to the rent-controlled apartments, he says he wasn’t “sensitive” that “appearances” could be bad because he did nothing wrong and received no special treatment. In fact, he was just helping out the poor landlord by renting extra space because there were vacancies at the property.

He said there’s “absolutely no excuse” about his “negligence” in the disclosure and tax situation, then proceeds to give excuses as to why it’s all innocent.

He moves on with how he’s never done anything other than public service and that he doesn’t want to offend the Ethics Committee, then goes on to offend the Ethics Committee. He doesn’t take all this unfairness personally – he’s just trying to help out his fellow members down the road. Have you ever seen anyone who cares about other people so much more than about himself?

Then he shows how he’s just looking out for others by taking another shot at fellow Dems who’ve spoken out – “Do what you have to do” to get re-elected even though they’re throwing him under a bus after he had helped their campaigns earlier (he notes that is “not a criticism” in case you were wondering) – as well as at Republicans – “You don’t have much to run on” so he can see why they’re trying to make political hay out of what newspaper articles say.

Then he turns the whining and the detachment from reality up a notch: “Isn’t this historically the first time that it appears as though partisanship has entered the Ethics Committee?” He says that he hasn’t a fair chance to talk to anyone or do anything or say anything during this whole process, and that the Ethics Committee is just screwing him over left and right. He’s worried that this will get stretched out longer than he afford to pay his attorney for, so she may do some work pro bono but that he “expects the Leadership to help” him. He tells the members not to “walk away from here because it’s convenient that I disappear” because it could happen to them and they they might not be able to take it like he has.

“I am not asking for leniency. I’m asking for exposure of the facts.”

“For God’s sake, just don’t believe that I don’t have feelings, that I don’t have pride.”

He says that the voters in his district won’t kick him out, but if the House votes to do so then that’s fine – it would be an ending with dignity, which would show that the system is broken for him just look it could be for any other member. After more shots at members on both sides and whining about how he’s getting convicted without a hearing, he says “If I can’t get my dignity here, then fire your best shot at getting rid of me through expulsion.”

He adds “You can’t get so carried away with good intentions that you break the rules,” and then continues bashing the DCCC and House Democrats, including black ones, who weren’t on his side all along. “You’re not going to tell me to resign to make you feel comfortable.”

He closes with a shot at the Ethics Committee, saying for the umpteenth time that they need to tell him – “an American, a patriot, and someone who loves this country” – when he’s going to get the hearing he deserves. Then he leaves to a standing ovation from the Democrats who are still there.

Incredible.