On a day when the Governor of Illinois has been arrested for allegedly attempting to sell Obama’s Senate seat, I would like to shed some light on another corrupt individual. Charlie Rangel is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and he has been up to some rather shady dealings. Here is a list as reported by TIME magazine (hardly a member of the vast right wing conspiracy):
Recently paid his son $80,000 in campaign funds "for a pair of political websites so poorly designed an expert estimated one should have cost no more than $100 to create."
He claims to simultaneously occupy 4 rent controlled apartments in Manhattan, paying less than half of the going market for rent in each
While doing this, he also claimed homestead exemption for a house that he owns in Washington DC
Failed to report $75,000 of rental income to the IRS for a villa that he owns in the Dominican Republic
According to the New York Times (also not part of the vast right wing conspiracy), he was “instrumental” in preserving a tax loophole for an oil company whose CEO contributed $1 million to a school in NYC bearing Rangel’s name and supported by Rangel
All of this is going on while Rangel continues to serve as chairman of the committee that writes our tax codes and is responsible for funding the nation’s entitlement programs. The NYT has asked Rangel to step down from that position while his ethics investigation is ongoing. Rangel has refused and claims no wrongdoing, and has even written a scathing letter denouncing the Time’s irresponsible reporting, thus giving credence to the notion that the corrupt are not sorry for their transgressions as much as they are sorry for getting caught in the process.
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker who hasn’t hesitated to use her power to strong arm opponents and exert maximal control of her caucus, has stopped short of chastising Rangel and has yet to take any action on the matter beyond calling for a conclusion prior to Obama’s inauguration. Pelosi is the same person who took office in 2006 promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington with sweeping ethics reform. Also of note: Chris Dodd and Barney Frank have yet to be investigated for their involvement in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac collapse.
Ethics reform? Give me a break.
So here is what I would like to see. It’s evident that corruption spans both political parties and is so deeply entrenched in Washington and elsewhere that replacing one party with another will get us nowhere. So now is the time for a viable third party. I would like to see a split in the Republican party, with a new group of young conservatives leading the charge in forming a new party separate from the old guard, with a new agenda that maintains American traditionalism while turning away from the old ways that spark kickbacks, palm greasing and the same old DC ways; an agenda that seeks to return power to the people via local government while reducing power in Washington. What was it that someone said about power, corruption and absolute power?
The leader of this movement would find some willing ears among the moderate “blue dog” Democrats who are about to be isolated by Pelosi’s congress and Obama’s spend-happy administration. Recently, Obama hinted that the pay-go rules may be suspended for a while, not something the blue dogs will be eager to support. And these Dem moderates are very much a part of American traditionalism and preserving the things that made America great. The fringe Left has become the dominant force in the Dem party, thus making the blue dogs potential allies for a new party of American traditionalism.
It has become clear that our government is now one of elites, run by a class of people with vast wealth who abuse their office for personal gain with little interest in common Americans, seeking to expand their wealth regardless of the best interest of the country. Often, these people are voted into office by people who seek the same, with campaigns funded by industries with similar motives. A wise man once said the democracy fails when the population realizes they can vote themselves rewards from the treasury. The government should always be of the people, for the people, by the people. Does anyone out there think these words are our current reality? Me neither. Now it’s more like of the elites, for the special interests and the entitled, by those with the means to fund a campaign.
We have a lot of problems to deal with, problems created by government and in many ways magnified by it. Both parties have been in control at one time or another in the past century, so for one to blame the other is ludicrous. For the voters to believe that only one party is at fault is even worse, taking naivety and blind partisanship to a new level.
The two party system has failed because both parties are corrupt and unwilling to serve the people. Power is what they want and there is simply too much of it in Washington. This must change. The balance of power must be in the favor of the people, by local government. The further government is from the people the more corrupt it becomes. In 2010, I want a third option, made of people who serve for the purpose of serving, not for personal gain. This may be idealism at it’s finest, but that’s the only way things will improve in this country and it’s the only way to keep us from complete domestic disaster.