Democrat Dirty Laundry: “The Swamp Is Still Very Much Alive”

July 24, 2010

“The Swamp is Still Very Much Alive”
Pelosi’s Majority Still Engulfed in Ethics Problems Years after Promise to ‘Drain the Swamp’

SPIN CYCLE: Democrats Promised to ‘Drain the Swamp’ and Sweep Corruption out of Washington

“‘Drain the swamp’ means to turn this Congress into the most honest and open Congress in history. That’s my pledge — that is what I intend to do,’ Pelosi stated in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams.” (Brian Williams, “Rep. Pelosi poised to make history,” NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, 11/08/2006)

RINSE CYCLE: “The Swamp Is Still Very Much Alive” As Ethics Panel Levies Charges Against Notorious Tax Cheat

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Friends and Allies are “Noticeably Quiet” about Rangel’s Plight: “Friends and political allies of embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel are noticeably quiet after the disclosure that the 40-year House veteran and dean of the New York congressional delegation may face serious charges from a House ethics panel. Rangel, 80, told reporters Friday that he looked forward to a public airing of the charges next week and fully intended to fight to clear his name. But national Democrats, already nervous about the party’s prospects in the November election, had little to say publicly about Rangel’s plight.” (Beth Fouhy, “Rangel ethics charges create headache for allies,” Associated Press, 07/24/2010)

Rangel Image “Symbolic of a Broader Out-of-Touchness Pervading Congress”: “The news that New York Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel violated House ethics rules and could be subject to a Congressional trial — likely in September — has party strategists panicked at what such a spectacle might do to an already difficult election climate for their side… The image of Rangel as symbolic of a broader out-of-touchness pervading Congress, which many voters believe to their core, is a dangerous one for Democrats… One Democratic consultant described a Rangel trial as a ‘no-win situation’ for House Democrats running in competitive races… For a party trying to desperately to turn the election into a choice between the two parties rather than a referendum on President Obama and Democratic majorities in Congress, the Rangel allegations — and his combative approach to fighting them — is an unwelcome headache that could further complicate its efforts to keep the majority on Nov. 2.” (Chris Cillizza, “Democrats’ Charlie Rangel problem,” Washington Post, 07/23/2010)

Democrats are Worried Rangel Trial Will Cost the Party Seats: “The timing of Rep. Charles Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) public House ethics trial has House Democrats panicked and ethics watchdogs puzzled. Democrats are worried the unusual and high-profile trial will cost the party seats in the fall by undermining Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) argument that she is running the most ethical House in history… Party strategists were wringing their hands late this week over the news about the spectacle of a public trial of Rangel’s ethics charges and the disastrous impact it could have on voters’ perceptions of Democrats before an election that could hand control of the House to Republicans.” (Susan Crabtree, “Rangel proceeding worries Dems and puzzles ethics experts,” The Hill, 7/24/2010)

Trial Could Wind Up Tarnishing the Whole Party Just Weeks before Elections: “Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) hunkered down Friday as he prepared to stage a public battle over allegations that his financial dealings broke House ethics rules. His determination to fight the charges has left Democrats fearful that an ethics trial, planned for mid-September, could wind up tarnishing the whole party just weeks before the midterm elections… As of late Friday, Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), an endangered second-term incumbent, was the only Democrat to call for the 40-year veteran to resign, telling the Hill newspaper, ‘This is about preserving the public trust.’ No Democrats had come out in his defense… ‘The time has come for Charlie Rangel to think more about his party than about himself. Each and every day that a trial goes on would cost Democrats more seats,’ said a Democratic chief of staff to one of the dozens of incumbents who are facing difficult reelection campaigns.” (Paul Kane and Carol D. Leonnig, “Democrats worry Rangel’s ethics trial will hurt party in midterm elections,” Washington Post, 07/24/2010)

Spectacle of Chief Tax Writer “Will Infuriate Voters Who Know Their Own Taxes Are Going Up”: “The prospects of a public trial, perhaps beginning in September, are excruciating for Democrats. They won the House in 2006 in part by running against the corruption of GOP Members, and now one of their own barons is in the dock. The charges appear to be the kind that would cost any normal citizen a big fine if not jail time, and the spectacle of the nation’s chief tax writer not reporting all of his income and half his assets will infuriate voters who know their own taxes are going up.” (“The Rangel Standard,” Wall Street Journal, Editorial, 07/24/2010)

Rangel “Made Himself into the Personification of Congressional Abuse”: “Rangel’s disregard for basic proprieties was simply too cavalier to ignore at a time when his party, the Democrats, is threatened with major losses in the November midterm elections. He had made himself into the personification of congressional abuse – and thus into a ripe target for Republicans… A single alleged ethical slip in the late years of a career might be understandable; seeing this many dots in a straight line – or crooked line – suggests a sense of invulnerable entitlement that grew with Rangel’s power. There were rules; and there were Rangel’s rules.” (“Charlie’s comedown: Ethics charges against Rangel were his own doing,” New York Daily News, Editorial, 07/23/2010)

Rangel Turns Toxic for Party Leaders and Fellow Democrats: “Just one day after learning that he will face a House Ethics Committee trial on multiple ethics allegations, it looks like Rep. Charlie Rangel is starting to turn toxic for fellow Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer — who’ve been among Rangel’s staunchest defenders during the committee’s two-year probe — issued terse statements conspicuously lacking in political support… But it remains to be seen how patient his fellow Dems will be if polls show that they’re the ones who are really hurting.” (“Charlie’s fading friends,” New York Post, Editorial, 07/24/2010)