I’m a fan of Charlie Rangel. He’s been a solid player as Chair of Ways & Means, and is perhaps the wittiest denizen of Washington not named Barney Frank. (And Rangel’s wit is gentler, which I prefer.)
I’m not a fan of John Murtha, who aside from taking a bold stand on the Iraq War after it started has been wrong on just about everything. He’s a “social conservative” and a fiscal spendthrift, especially when the spending is on useless military toys. And he used the “earmark” porkbarrel to deliver liberal Democratic votes for absurd defense appropriations.
Time to tear up the ethics truce, bounce the pair of them, and then start some hearings on the outrages of the Armey/DeLay era. But the Democrats can’t go back to the country in 2010 as the defenders of gross corruption. And if that turns out to be true of John Conyers as well, too bad.
I understand the reluctance of the Democratic Caucus in general, and the CBC in particular, to throw old colleagues under the bus. But it has to be done. As a C.S. Lewis character remarks, loyalty is a precious virtue: far too precious to waste on individuals. It’s time for the Democrats in the House to be loyal to the cause, and not to their corrupt colleagues.