Where, oh, where do I start? How about with the House “leadership”:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has picked liberal firebrand Rep. Pete Stark to replace ousted Chairman Charles Rangel on the tax-writing committee, according to a House leadership aide.
In Stark, Pelosi is picking a fellow Californian to head one of the House’s most powerful committees. Stark becomes the sixth House Democratic chairman from the Golden State.
Stark is next in line for the post in seniority, but his maverick personality had led some to question whether he would get the gavel even on a temporary basis.
The 19-term Democrat has a penchant for making controversial remarks. In 2003, Stark challenged then Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) to a fight during a Ways and Means Committee hearing, calling him “a fruitcake.” He also said in 2007 that President George W. Bush was amused by the heads of U.S. soldiers getting blown off. Pelosi condemned the remarks and Stark subsequently apologized on the House floor.
Last summer, Stark called Blue Dog Democrats “brain dead.”
Picking Stark, an atheist, is “not without problems” for leaders and potentially for the caucus, according to a Democratic leadership aide.
But every scenario that involved anything other than a direct passing of the gavel to Stark — in accordance with standing House rules — would have brought the Steering and Policy Committee and very likely the full caucus into the mix, potentially for votes for and against certain members. This was exactly the situation that House leaders wanted to avoid heading into Wednesday, aides indicated.
Dern. I would have loved to have seen that
BTW, speaking of “angry men”, did you catch the AP headline and story yesterday on Senator Jim Bunning just prior to his striking a deal with ReidCo on the whole drama surrounding the point he was trying to make on PAYGO, a point which was deliberately ignored by the left and their cohorts in the MSM who instead demagogued him as your typical heartless and cruel conservative who wanted to starve the unemployed? Here’s the “story” in case you missed it (bolded emphasis added by me):
FRANKFORT – The angry man of the Senate was at it again.
Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, 78, played hardball in Congress, single-handedly holding up a $10 billion spending bill for days because it would add to the deficit. On Tuesday night, a spokesman for Bunning said he finally relented and would let the measure proceed to a vote.
The move had forced some 2,000 federal employees into unpaid furloughs, put jobless benefits in jeopardy for millions and halted more than 40 highway projects.
Because of his ornery nature and ungovernable mouth, Bunning has come to be regarded as the crazy uncle in the Senate attic during his 11 years in Washington. And because he is retiring after this session, there isn’t much anyone can do to keep him in line.
“I think the older he gets, the more cantankerous he becomes,” said Kentucky Republican Larry Forgy, a two-time candidate for governor and one of Bunning’s biggest admirers. “He’s as tough as a pine knot. He doesn’t care what they say about him.”
Exactly the kind of conservative we need in Congress, and exactly the kind of conservative the liberals at the AP can’t stand, hence an entire article – published on numerous news sites – on how Bunning is supposedly always “angry.”
Here’s more from the article:
Few people in Kentucky, where the senator has been in politics for more than 30 years, were surprised last week when he stopped the legislation to extend funding for a variety of federal programs, including the flood insurance that many people in the nation’s heartland rely on when the spring flood season arrives.
“He’s cruel,” said George Boyd, who lost his job a year ago and could be affected by the impasse. “He’s heartless. He doesn’t think about the needs of other people.”
Bunning is so toxic that Republican leaders pushed him to retire when his second term is up at the end of the year.
At one point, he threatened to sue the party’s national campaign arm if it backed a primary challenger. But in July he relented and dropped his re-election bid, accusing his GOP colleagues of doing “everything in their power to dry up my fundraising.”
University of Kentucky political scientist Donald Gross speculated that Bunning’s effort to hold up the spending bill might have reflected frustration that after two terms he has no notable legislative legacy and has essentially been forced into retirement.
“He’s always been an argumentative type of person, testy,” Gross said. “This may be his last hurrah, his last chance to take a slap at people before he leaves.”
Got that? Because two people from Kentucky quoted in the piece expressed their obvious dislike of Bunning, that equates to “few people in Kentucky were surprised last week …” Gotta love it. Then again, we can always count on the Associated Press to give a basketball-like assist to Democrats when it comes to demagoguing principled conservatives.
Continuing on …
—– Yet another shake up in NY politics? Huge news from Politico regarding New York Congressional Rep. Eric Massa:
First-term Rep. Eric Massa announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election, saying his doctors have told him that he can’t continue to “run at 100 miles an hour.”
But several House aides told POLITICO that the House ethics committee has been informed of allegations that the New York Democrat, who is married with two children, sexually harassed a male staffer.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) subsequently confirmed Wednesday that the Democratic leadership had been informed of the allegations before the news broke.
“I’ve heard of that allegation before,” he said. “I had some indication, yes, but I don’t want to go beyond that. And my presumption (is) it’s being pursued in the course of business.”
Massa told POLITICO early Wednesday afternoon that no one has brought allegations of misconduct to him.
Asked specifically about the sexual harassment allegations, he said: “When someone makes a decision to leave Congress, everybody says everything. I have health issues. I’ll talk about it [later].”
Massa has suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. On a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, he said he was hospitalized in December and that his doctors made it clear to him that he needed to slow down. He denied that he was retiring because of a sexual harassment claim.
Whatever the reason, this seat sounds like a potential pick-up opportunity for the GOP:
The first-term Congressman, who twice ran for his upstate NY seat, was a top target of the NRCC from the beginning. In ’06, he lost to Rep. Randy Kuhl (R) by just 6K votes; in ’08, he returned and beat Kuhl by a narrower 5K vote margin.
Yet until today’s news, he had not showed any signs that he would step down. He had raised more than $1M to date and had $643K in the bank, according to the latest FEC reports he filed.
Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R) has been the lone GOPer in the race against Massa, but his fundraising hasn’t been stellar, and other GOPers may be easily enticed to jump in an open seat contest. GOP sources list Monroe Co. Exec. Maggie Brooks (R), Assemb. Min. Ldr. Brian Kolb (R) and state Sens. Catharine Young (R) and George Winner (R), among others, as potential candidates.
Dems, meanwhile, have a much smaller bench in the region, although one Dem source names Hornell Mayor/Steuben Co. Dem Chair Shawn Hogan (D) as a favorite to replace Massa on the ballot. Dems still have time to put a strong candidate forward, as the filing deadline isn’t until 7/15.
Still, without Massa, the GOP has an excellent shot to take back the seat Kuhl held for 4 years. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won the district by a 51%-48% margin, one of just 4 districts he won in the 29-district Empire State.
Massa’s district covers the southern tier of NY, including Elmira and the west side of the Finger Lakes.
May Democrat losses be our gains.
—– The John Edwards saga continues:
The ultimate fall from grace, a Federal grand jury is about to indict John Edwards, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.
In another shocker, close sources say Edwards’ estranged wife Elizabeth could help send the former presidential candidate to jail!
Edwards, the disgraced two-time Presidential loser, is being investigated by the feds, including the FBI and IRS, for possible campaign violations related to paying his mistress Rielle Hunter.
The grand jury has been meeting since April 2009, and insiders say an indictment is imminent.
“John is terrified that he’s going to be indicted,” a friend told The ENQUIRER.
“While he believes he’s done nothing illegal in trying to hide his extramarital affair with Rielle and their daughter, he thinks the Feds are going to make an example of him.”
Will we be seeing his Royal Phoniness doing the perp walk anytime soon? Stay tuned.
Gov. David A. Paterson violated state ethics laws when he secured free tickets to the opening game of the World Series from the Yankees last fall for himself and others, the New York State Commission on Public Integrity charged on Wednesday. The accusation came as the governor, already mired in scandal, met with his cabinet and insisted he would stay in office.
In addition to violating the state’s ban on gifts to public officials, Mr. Paterson falsely testified under oath that he had intended to pay for the tickets for his son and his son’s friend, according to the commission. Mr. Paterson had never intended to pay for the tickets, the commission determined, and did so only after inquiries from the news media, after which he submitted a backdated check as payment.
The commission has referred the case to the Albany County district attorney, P. David Soares, as well as to Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for further investigation and potential criminal prosecution. Mr. Cuomo is already investigating Mr. Paterson’s suspected role in trying to suppress a domestic-violence case involving a close aide, David W. Johnson.
Cuomo, of course, also wants Paterson’s seat.
How soon before the countdown to Paterson’s resignation starts?
—– Last but certainly not least, the Weekly Standard reports on a pretty obvious act of bribery on behalf of Team Obama to try and get a “no on healthcare reform” House Democrat back in line:
Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
So, Scott Matheson appears to have the credentials to be a judge, but was his nomination used to buy off his brother’s vote?
Er – I assume that was a rhetorical question?
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday that he would temporarily step down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, days after being admonished for breaking House rules by accepting corporate-financed travel.
The longtime incumbent from Harlem, who was facing a growing wave of opposition from within his party, said he didn’t want the ethics probe into his activities to affect fellow Democrats running in next fall’s House elections.
“In order to avoid my colleagues having to defend me during their elections, I have this morning sent a letter” to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), “asking her to grant me a leave of absence until such time as the ethics committee completes its work,” Rangel said.
Citing the ongoing probe, the 20-term incumbent declined to take reporters’ questions.
In a statement issued by her office, Pelosi said she would honor Rangel’s request to step down temporarily. “I commend Chairman Rangel for his decades of leadership on jobs, health care, and the most significant economic issues of the day,” the statement said.
Rangel, 79, becomes the highest-ranking House member to resign a leadership position amid an ethical scandal in four years, since then-Reps. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) stepped down as, respectively, majority leader and administration committee chairman amid the Jack Abramoff lobbying investigation.
Note the bolded part. That is what this is all about. Elections. The Democrats don’t want this embarassing episode on their hands so he’s “temporarily” stepping aside because he thinks it takes the heat off of House Democrats who are up for re-election this year. Ah, such a noble little martyr, isn’t he? Not.
Left Coast Rebel has some questions:
Why is it in this country that we put up with transgressions from leadership, especially an individual that has power over the tax writing branch of the government (think of Tim Geithner, ‘my dog ate my turbotax’ as well). Why is it that our leadership at this point just brushes over malfeasance with a willing accomplice press? How in God’s name can the head of the IRS cheat on his taxes yet keep his job? How can Charles Rangel keep his job as chief tax writer after myriad scandals as well?
That said, as Michelle Malkin notes, Rangel’s not out of the woods yet in terms of the ongoing ethics investigation -and furthermore no matter whether the ethics panel finds any more wrongdoing on Rangel’s part, the fact that he has “temporarily” stepped down after being admonished for ethical wrongdoing speaks volumes – and not in a good way.
It ain’t ovah til it’s ovah.