Saturday, July 24, 2010

Charlie and Dan

The Charlie Rangel imbroglio is more and more making remember the decline and fall of another Congressman of great talent and impressive achievement who stayed too long and forgot that it was not About Him--until it was. That would be Dan Rostenkowski, a master of the Old Chicago rules who did not figure out that the rules hand change. Or perhaps he never did figure it out: I suspect there is a good chance that Rosty served out his 15 months in the slammer bewildered that anything so awful could happen to one so skilled, so hard working and so devoted (as he saw it) to the interests of the folks who sent him there. You look at Rangel these days, you see the same intelligent sparkle in the eye, the same thin (if just slightly supercilious) smile, the same look of not-quite-get-it. Rangel says he looks forward to a trial so he can vindicate himself. I suspect he is sincere in this: he doesn't really see how he has taken anything more than his due. I feel for him: he's been a good man in his time: smart, warm-hearted, funny and a powerfully effective player. But I suspect that soon now he is going to find himself face to face with the rule set down by Enoch Powell.

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