The Photo That Could Doom the Democrats

Charles Rangel Brigitte Stelzer / Splash News Nancy Pelosi is protecting Rep. Charles Rangel, who failed to pay taxes on his Caribbean villa, among other miscues. But the ethically challenged congressional baron is endangering the Democrats’ control of Congress.

Today’s Democrats should remember Dan Rostenkowski. The former Democratic Chicago congressman was the kind of guy who would have made an all-Madden team for pols. Growing up, his home doubled as a meeting house for precinct captains. He attended Catholic schools, fought in Korea, then became a made man in the Richard Daley machine. Dispatched to Washington, he learned the inside game from masters like Lyndon Johnson and Tip O’Neill, and by the 1980s had become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Parochial, crusty, inarticulate, and tough, he sat for decades atop Washington’s pyramid of power—until the Gingrich Republicans made him a symbol of Washington’s decadence. Skewered for keeping “ghost” employees on his payroll, using government money to buy presents for friends, and abusing privileges at the House bank, he lost his seat in the 1994 Republican landslide. “The Rules Kept Changing,” observed Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko, “Dan Rostenkowski Didn’t.”

Read more: The Daily Beast


March 1, 2010 - Posted by | 398 |

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