Rangel: I don’t deal in average American citizens

posted at 9:30 am on December 3, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

One might have thought, given all of the handwringing from Capitol Hill last night over the horrors of censuring, that Charlie Rangel would have learned a little humility from the process.  For instance, on CNN moments after Nancy Pelosi read aloud a written scolding, Mary Matalin was aghast at the notion of a public shaming, demanding that Congress find some more civilized way to punish its members for ethical transgressions.  Others, notably callers to C-SPAN during the House votes on Republican, Democratic, and New York phone lines, said that the so-called punishment Rangel endured was nothing more than a slap on the wrist and that average citizens would be facing jail sentences for failing to report income and pay taxes, among the charges for which the House found Rangel guilty.  Democrats and Republicans alike scoffed at the idea that reading a strongly-worded memo aloud amounted to any kind of deterrent punishment.

Kerry Picket of the Washington Times asked Rangel how he felt about that criticism, and Rangel showed that he hadn’t changed at all:

PICKET:There’s been criticism from the floor tonight essentially comparing you to the average American citizen, who, if they went through similar circumstances such as yourself that they may be punished in a worse way. What’s your response to that?

REP. RANGEL: What paper are you from?

PICKET: Pardon?

REP. RANGEL: What paper are you from?

PICKET: Washington Times, sir.

REP. RANGEL: What’s the question? Can you kind of make the question a little more exact? This criticism came from the floor? The floor can’t speak. Who said what?

PICKET: Well basically….

REP. RANGEL: What is the question?

PICKET: I’m just asking what is your response to criticism that if the average American citizen. Someone who is not a congressman

REP. RANGEL:Please, I’m not a psychiatrist. I don’t deal in average American citizens. Citizens are diverse. They are broad. I don’t know what is average, and so I don’t really agree… I’ll come back to you when you think of a good question.

Well, how about this for a definition of “average”: not in Congress?  That question didn’t just come from the floor.  It came from every corner of the US that doesn’t include Capitol Hill.

Matalin is correct in one sense; the House needs another form of punishment, one that fits in the range between strongly-worded memos spoken aloud and expulsion.  Anyone who thinks that a public scolding is some sort of cruel and unusual punishment for corruption and ethics violations has marinated in Beltway stew a little too long.


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Well, Clinton is still often referred to as being “impeached,” so I don’t think these public actions are without their own real sting.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Hogwash . . . actions like this mean nothing to these amoral political scum.

rplat on December 3, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Matalin is correct in one sense; the House needs another form of punishment

I’m thinking “horsewhip“…

Khun Joe on December 3, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Rangel belongs in jail.

zoyclem on December 3, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Well, Clinton is still often referred to as being “impeached,” so I don’t think these public actions are without their own real sting.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 10:50 AM
Hogwash . . . actions like this mean nothing to these amoral political scum.

rplat on December 3, 2010 at 11:30 AM

I’ll agree with Ann on this one…

Words like “impeached” or “censured” will be in their biographies forever… It’s tombstone material; it survives them AFTER DEATH… And that’s a very good thing…

Khun Joe on December 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Tool!!!

LASue on December 3, 2010 at 11:43 AM

He will be reelected as long as he wants to run…sadly.

d1carter on December 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Oh yeah, that impeachment thing has really haunted BJ Clinton. I mean, one hardly ever hears about him and he has no influence or following anymore. Why, after he left office he has remained a hermit in NY, still too ashamed to show his face. /s

Jvette on December 3, 2010 at 11:09 AM

THIS.

Hogwash . . . actions like this mean nothing to these amoral political scum.

rplat on December 3, 2010 at 11:30 AM

And THIS.

it survives them AFTER DEATH… And that’s a very good thing…

Khun Joe on December 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

History is victorious, but the man is still getting off scott free bcs he is still CONSULTED & LISTENED TO.
THAT is the problem.

Badger40 on December 3, 2010 at 11:57 AM

His peeps just reelected him, so he can’t be all that bad.

/s

ornery_independent on December 3, 2010 at 11:59 AM

I think stocks should be built on the lawn outside the Capitol building. After conviction and a week before serving sentences, lawbreakers could be pelted with rotten vegetables and eggs.

TugboatPhil on December 3, 2010 at 12:01 PM

We got any tar and feathers left?

ornery_independent on December 3, 2010 at 12:01 PM

“Why don’t you mind your G%d@^^# business?”

Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t do Average American citizens (unless there is a way to cheat them out of their own money)

Vntnrse on December 3, 2010 at 12:05 PM

He’s a criminal. What do you expect?
Skin merchant living off the same victim card that Islam flashes.

Hening on December 3, 2010 at 12:14 PM

And you should thank God that average citizens don’t get to ‘deal in you’ Charlie. If an informed group of citizens could pass sentence on you, I daresay there would be a bucket of tar and feathers somewhere at the end it. I’d lock your a** up until the sun burned out just for being a giant arrogant pr*ck.

austinnelly on December 3, 2010 at 12:20 PM

There’s no doubt that if Charlie had packed up and moved around the corner and set up shop as a lobbyist two decades ago he could have made himself far richer than he is today.

But Charlie didn’t want money, he wanted power. Money is ‘soft power’, if you will, a means to an end, but Charlie already had the levers in his grasp and wasn’t about to let go.

If you measure the depth of a man’s corruption not just by the fatness of his wallet but by how he uses or misuses those things he’s worked hardest to attain, Charlie doesn’t look so good.

JEM on December 3, 2010 at 12:25 PM

I think we should use every one of the 16k new IRS agents called for in the “health care bill”? to open investigations on every member of Congress and the administration. That would be a good start. And then handle them as they would”any ordinary average citizen”. In my dreams.

retiredeagle on December 3, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Anyone who thinks that a public scolding is some sort of cruel and unusual punishment for corruption and ethics violations has marinated in Beltway stew a little too long.

Oh, my bad. For a moment, I thought that word was another -rinated, but I can see that Ed has a higher class of thought process than I do.

unclesmrgol on December 3, 2010 at 12:47 PM

it survives them AFTER DEATH… And that’s a very good thing…

Khun Joe on December 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

But being removed from office and thrown in jail would have only been temporary. Historians would never bring to light the removal of a world leader from power…/s

Nice try there Joe, but I believe that these jack@sses need to suffer the same penalties (if not more severe ones) the rest of us do.

Pattosensei on December 3, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Gutless piece o sh*t congress don’t have the balls to do the right thing and send this as*hole to jail.

Both parties should be punched in the face and you clowns should be far far far more pis*ed off than you are.

Dave Rywall on December 3, 2010 at 10:09 AM

First of all, with respect to evasion of taxes, the recompense falls into the pervenue of the executive branch. The abuse of public housing falls there too.

As for the laws passed for his personal benefit, there’s nothing that can be done — they were voted upon by his peers and passed.

As for being p*ssed off, I think you severely underestimate the feeling here.

With respect to parties — we’re lucky the Democrats even allowed censure — did you see the ovation for Rangel after the reading? I can’t blame Republicans for taking what they can get out of this.

unclesmrgol on December 3, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Words like “impeached” or “censured” will be in their biographies forever… It’s tombstone material; it survives them AFTER DEATH… And that’s a very good thing…

Khun Joe on December 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Bullcrap. Is this about his posthumous record, or stopping the corruption and the crimes?

Because if it’s the latter, it’s a COMPLETE failure. If it’s about the former, I can only suggest you revisit your priorities.

Merovign on December 3, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Well, Clinton is still often referred to as being “impeached,” so I don’t think these public actions are without their own real sting.

AnninCA on December 3, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Oh, hogwash. The only people who refer to Clinton as “impeached” are Republicans. Most Democrats still worship the ground he walks on, which is unsurprising-at the time he was impeached, they all thought he was above the law for a felony Federal offense, and currently his favorability rating is 20 points higher than O’bama’s.

Did you know that as President, Clinton had his Justice Dept. successfully prosecute a female Federal employee for lying under oath about sex? She wasn’t held to be above the law, but he was. Same offense.

Del Dolemonte on December 3, 2010 at 1:31 PM

I’ll agree with Ann on this one…

Words like “impeached” or “censured” will be in their biographies forever… It’s tombstone material; it survives them AFTER DEATH… And that’s a very good thing…

Khun Joe on December 3, 2010 at 11:39 AM

See my 1:31 PM post.

If one does a Google News Search on “Clinton Impeached”, there are hardly any results. The only time it’s mentioned in the press these days seems to be when the yearly anniversary rolls around. Otherwise the Democrat Media who got Clinton elected has managed to erase it from their collective vocabularies.

Del Dolemonte on December 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM

I’d rather we avoid these situations proactively by enacting term limits NOW.

MadisonConservative on December 3, 2010 at 10:56 AM

You’ll never get Congress to enact term limits, but let’s see ‘em try to get around a Federal Criminal Law that’s already on the books.

Mr. Grump on December 3, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Did you know that as President, Clinton had his Justice Dept. successfully prosecute a female Federal employee for lying under oath about sex? She wasn’t held to be above the law, but he was. Same offense.

Del Dolemonte on December 3, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Things like this NEVER get enough attention.
Clinton was, & IS a ba$t@rd!

Badger40 on December 3, 2010 at 2:10 PM

He will be reelected as long as he wants to run…sadly.

d1carter on December 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM

The logical conclusion being that the people who vote for this POS are themselves POS.

infidel4life on December 3, 2010 at 2:17 PM

We got any tar and feathers left?

ornery_independent on December 3, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Make it Elmer’s Glue to contrast with his skin color.

Dark-Star on December 3, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Matalin is correct in one sense; the House needs another form of punishment, one that fits in the range between strongly-worded memos spoken aloud and expulsion.

Stocks installed in front of the west side of the Capitol and an abundant supply of gubmint surplus cheese for throwing at the offender. That’d be fair, and it would introduce Chuckles to the “average American citizens”.

ya2daup on December 3, 2010 at 2:53 PM

Censure was used to shame the sitting congressman in days gone by. Since shame isn’t a part of a liberals vocabulary, the censure was a total waste.

Compare what Rangel was charged with and what Randy “Duke” Cunningham was charged with and compare the punishments. Had Cunningham been a Democrat, he wouldn’t be in prison now.

Same offenses. Cunningham even had less counts against him.

The hypocrisy is just blatant.

iamsaved on December 3, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Sigh. When Allan Drury wrote of the censure of Sen. Van Ackerman in “Advise and Consent”, it seemed to be a far more severe punishment than what we see with Rangel. However, that may have been back when people actually had a sense of shame.

stoutcat on December 3, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Humility isnt something you learn when you spend most of your life inside the beltway

pgrossjr on December 3, 2010 at 6:56 PM

I think public flogging would be a good punishment for corruption.

xplodeit on December 3, 2010 at 7:40 PM

I wonder why Rangel does not keep his mouth shut at this point . . . ..

I’m just saying . . . .

Sherman1864 on December 4, 2010 at 6:43 AM

You know what I’m thinking? Really?
Take a wild guess what I’m thinking right now.

Dave Rywall on December 3, 2010 at 10:24 AM

I’d say you are thinking bout takin a break, grabbing some hand lotion and a magazine, and heading to the loo.

Right? Did I nail it?

BigAlSouth on December 4, 2010 at 8:05 AM

The only thing we have going for us is their age, that includes George Soros (85 I think)they are getting closer to meeting their maker and their final judgement( I can say this without prejudice because I am fast approaching that time myself)
Like the old dinosaurs they will soon die off and hopefully the new young guns will restore some honor to our government.

TERM LIMITS ARE A MUST!!!!!

concernedsenior on December 4, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Term limits and jail time.

Theophile on December 4, 2010 at 2:46 PM

This clip should be sent to every single Congressperson who applauded for this arrogant fool on Thursday with a note asking them to explain why they applauded for this arrogant fool.

redwhiteblue on December 4, 2010 at 3:19 PM

I guess is constituents will re-elect him again in two years. They are truly are not average/ordinary people to have re-elected him this year. The man believes himself to be some god or something.

SC.Charlie on December 4, 2010 at 7:19 PM

This clip should be sent to every single Congressperson who applauded for this arrogant fool on Thursday with a note asking them to explain why they applauded for this arrogant fool.

redwhiteblue on December 4, 2010 at 3:19 PM

He got away with out real punishment.

Slowburn on December 5, 2010 at 4:39 PM

This one is where we should look to China. Elected officials found guilty of any crimes should get the death penalty. They are given a very sacred trust and if found to have violated it, death is the only true penalty that would make others causious when contemplating doing something that would violate it.

Claimsratt on December 6, 2010 at 12:49 PM

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