Just in time for the fall elections it seems as if the new bad boys of the Democratic party are not going away nor going to get booted by the Democratic leaders. As Obama and the Democrats circle the wagons for a tough fall campaign their problems are compounded by the fact Governor David Paterson and Congressman Charles Rangel are refusing to resign from their posts thus keeping both in the public limelight and reinforcing to the public that our political establishment is corrupt.
Paterson started out bad enough when he took over as New York governor for Eliot Spitzer after a prostitution scandal cost Spitzer his governors office. Then just after taking the oath of office Paterson admitted to affairs while he was married. But the people of New York seemed to forgive him. Then he tried to use the power of his office to silence a woman who was beaten up by one of his aides.
This abuse of office would not go away and Paterson multiplied his problems by first sending two state troopers out to talk with her, then personally calling her the day before she was to testify on the beating. In the end their threats to get her to drop the charges scared her off and she refused to go to court. It was an abuse of authority that may not be forgiven by the New York voters. Paterson refuses to resign. Yet President Obama, the national and state Democratic parties refuse to condemn the actions.
Rangel today asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give him a leave of absence as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, one of the most powerful positions in Congress, in order to fight charges from the House Ethics Committee that he took numerous trips financed by corporations, a violation of House rules.
However, it is widely known that this is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption with Rangel as other investigations are underway including IRS inquiries into failing to pay taxes on apartments in NYC and foreign owned property among other issues. These will soon be added to the first House ethics charges and will make the most powerful tax Chairman in Washington defend himself from not paying taxes.
Of course Pelosi knows about all the investigations even though she has only commented on the first minor revelations and she could remove him permanently from being Chairman, or even ask that he be thrown out of the House which should happen if IRS files charges. Pelosi has defended Rangel, one might presume because she appointed him Chairman of Ways and Means, and continues to allow him to remain in the House. Obama, though both Paterson and Rangel were supporters, has refused to say anything as if this institutional corruption has nothing to do with him.
Since Obama campaigned against the Washington establishment and corruption in our nation's capitol and throughout politics it seems odd he would not comment on the cases. Notwithstanding their support for his campaign, there comes a time when one must disassociate themselves from corruption. Once again the Democratic party has had no comment as well.
If these two politicians are not thrown out of office before the election it will be yet another albatross for the president and example of how he said one thing during the campaign and did another once he was elected. Protecting potential crooks or abusers of power does not seem like a defensible position when it comes time for the people to vote again.
It is actions like these by our Washington and Wall Street leaders that caused the formation of the Tea Party Movement and that will further empower that movement this fall. Not to be overlooked is the role the media played in not covering these issues nor pressing for the facts when they started to leak out. Now, of course, the media are writing about it but for a long time they have known about it.
In one of the ironies of politics it was just a short time ago that Rangel called on the public to let his friend David Paterson finish his term in office. The New York Daily News headline shouted Rep. Charles Rangel, Congressman Gregory Meeks and Rev. Sharpton: Let Gov. Paterson finish his term. Now he has to worry about finishing his own term.