House Speaker Pelosi is apparently loathe to take on the problem of her House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY). From Politico:
Why is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing a growing chorus of calls to drop the hammer on ethics-challenged Charlie Rangel?
Because, at the moment, doing nothing creates a lot less trouble for Pelosi than doing anything, current and former House aides tell POLITICO.
Stripping the Harlem Democrat of his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee would force Pelosi to make a series of unpalatable decisions about Rangel’s successor that would create a ruckus in the Democratic caucus.
It would also infuriate the Congressional Black Caucus, which is still sore over Pelosi’s decision to strip committees from former Louisiana Rep. Bill Jefferson – even after Jefferson had been found with a wad of tainted cash in his kitchen.
Unless they find $90,000 in his freezer, like they did with Jefferson, we’re going to wait [for the outcome of a House ethics probe],” said a Democratic aide familiar with Pelosi’s thinking on the matter.
This may represent a new low in standards among the Democrats that ostensibly operate the most ethical and transparent government in history, but it is also an example of the “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy of that infects the elitist Washington ruling class. This is not some new phenomenom. Speaker Jim Wright comes to mind. So does the House Post Office scandal. And the House check kiting scandal. In all of these instances, House members were way behind the public’s understanding and outrage, which is why many members lost their long held seats in Congress.
The tacit understanding among Democrats in the Rangel affair is that the race card is the only politically effective device remaining in the left’s ideological toolbox of race, gender and class. A deteriorating economy and the very real prospect of a jobless recovery will trump the class and gender domogoguery that Democrats have historically exploited, rendering them useless in the coming election seson. The race isssue, however, has some residual political value only because of the disruptive damage it may cause within the Democratic caucus. In other words, Speaker Pelosi is now more concerned about Brutus (Rangel) than she is about the Republican hordes that threaten the power of her political Rome.