Monday, August 02, 2010

Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel Ethics Charges – Politico Runs with Race Card

Both Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel have come under the cloud of ethics charges from within Congress – a body of their peers, for allegations with legs. In both cases, months have gone by, and yet nothing came out of hearings until recently, unfortunately for the House Democrats, less than 100 days before a mid-term election, where they are trailing in polls. The committee that oversees house ethics is made up of equal parts Democrats and Republicans, and has brought ethics charges against peers, most often, with punishment no worse than a public (inside Congress) admonishment from their peers. That said, since the two national figures, Rangel and Waters have been brought up on charges, within a week of each other – over at Politicoit must be about race. The article, entitled: “Ethics Cases Raise Racial Questions”, points out the fact that both Maxine and Charlie are African-American – and that the last time anyone (they can recall) who was brought up on ethics charges, was New Gingrich (who was cleared of all wrong-doing, but not before he resigned).

Apparently, Politico has forgotten about Tom Delay , who faced ethics charges and was also cleared of any wrong-doing, but none-the-less resigned.
Could it be, that rather than Maxine and Charlie sharing a common background – that both have made errors in judgment that would be considered somewhat unethical – regardless of whether they are black, white, Asian or “other”. The article by Politico continues to name other recent cases where African-American’s got their hands caught in the proverbial “cookie jar” – most recent was Jesse Jackson Junior who was found to be less than truthful when it came to an Illinois Senate Seat for Sale.

The problem lays not with the fact that they are African American, (or any other racial or ethnic background) - the problem lays with the fact that they got caught – Timing in life being everything – the press is growing concerned that ethics violations by Waters and Rangel might, in some way, affect the outcome of the 2010 elections – that, according to polls taken over the past year, ship has sailed – the Democrats are trailing on Generic Congressional Ballots by an average of 4.8 points, with the latest polls shown an 11 point deficit (Real Clear Politics). It is obvious, therefore, that regardless of what charges may come down the pike for both Waters and Rangel, it would have little if any impact, as the general public appears to have made up its collective mind. It may be worth noting in specific races, as both Rangel and Waters face reelection in 2010 - but ethics charges do not necessarily equate, in Democrat terms, with a loss of one’s seat (See Barney Frank (D-MA).

It has become increasingly popular by both the media and the political class to charge “race” as soon as something that may impact public opinion rears its ugly head – unfortunately, calling “wolf” one time too many, has unintended consequences. The country now is more divided than at any other time in history – not only politically but racially and ethnically – with the daily media drumbeat of separatism rather than inclusion. It is articles such as this, which pulls American’s further apart, pits one group against another and does no good what-so-ever. Herein lays a fresh approach, both Rangel and Waters, being American Citizens, have allegations and charges pending regarding ethics violations – it is personal responsibility rather than any other lesson that should be brought to the public, specifically by the media.

2 comments:

Guy DeWhitney said...

Great piece! But, what is with this bit?
"The country now is more divided than at any other time in history – not only politically but racially and ethnically..."
Either you are under 45 and just never really absorbed what happened from the late 40's to the mid-70's, or you are just spinning off hot air to pump up the choir.
Last time I looked violence,riots and murder (on both sides) does not characterize the last 30 years, thank god.

Tina Hemond said...

Hi Guy, Good catch – it should have been written “recent history” - I recall well the 1960’s, 1970’s – and know about the violence and hatred that was (racially and ethnically) from the beginning of our nation – (when one really wants to get technical) – that said, from the 1980’s onward, it started to appear (at least to my mind) as if we’d have the political back and forth, but the slurs, and racism were something that was reserved for the university professor to perpetuate – (went back for my second childhood degree at the age of 45) – whereas, people appeared not to care about what color one was, or where they came from – recently it’s all you hear about – and it’s getting nasty – especially with the younger people. It’s as if they are being told they are a racist, or on the other side, being attacked and it has really set us up for a lot of grief. Thank you for stopping in.

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