Leave of absence? Rangel ruckus is a chance to see what Democratic bipartisanship is made of.Embattled U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel says he is taking a leave of absence from his post as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
This, after being tapped twice already for ethics violations that include not paying his taxes.
What happens now is really going to be a test of the claim that Washington has changed -- and that politics is not nearly as important as serving the people and their needs, no matter which party claims your allegiance.
If all that is true, then there should be no doubt in anyone's mind -- it is time for Rangel to go.
Another round of ethics concerns have surfaced -- even before the last set has been resolved, and that means the congressman's credibility has been severely damaged. And that also means Rangel has no business being in Congress, let alone running a powerful committee. He has not earned the right.
The problem with Washington has always been that everyone is ready to call for someone's resignation if the transgressor is from the other party. If it is someone who has the same affiliation as the ruling party -- or if the accusations come at an inopportune time -- there is a chorus of those willing to defend the offender -- even if he or she is dead wrong.
Charlie Rangel is supposed to be a nice guy. And perhaps he is. But anyone who believes that he did not know he had such an ethics mess in his administration is simply foolish. He has been in the game too long for that.
It is the Democratic Party's duty to let him go.
Published in Editorials on March 4, 2010 10:35 AM