In an exclusive interview on Sirius/XM satellite radio with Politic365.com, Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) offered insight into his state of mind post-censure and grilled both Republicans and President Barack Obama for forging a tax cut deal that “has no benefit in this recession.”
With the Congressman attempting to “move on” from under the dark cloud of ethics, Rangel’s office was initially reluctant to offer any interviews in which the ethics controversy was discussed at length. However, the longtime Harlem pol decided to briefly share his thoughts on the matter, claiming that his “state is excellent” despite the fact that “… the last two years have been a nightmare.”
Rangel offered a bit more on the topic than was originally anticipated for this interview. He admitted that although he approached the House Ethics Committee and prompted an investigation out of blind faith that “… there was no better way to clear my name” he realized later on that he “… got more than I asked for.”
Reluctant, but reflective, Rangel was back to his famously candid self, offering sometimes brutally keep-it-real assessments of the current climate on the Hill. It was an attempt to aggressively re-inject the Rangel we all know into the debate. And he took it on with all the enthusiasm of a young soldier storming an armed beach head.
On the tax cut deal currently chided by Democrats and awaiting passage through the House, Rangel was unapologetically blunt and cold. He argues that “[w]e are dealing with a program that has played a large part in the increase of the deficit.”
“Republicans just want to reward the rich,” Rangel scolded, asserting that the tax benefits for those who make over $250,000 “far exceeds other taxpayers.”
But in his most damning assessment of the President, Rangel pulled no punches – a sign that he is not making any attempt to mend differences with Obama, especially after the President suggested that he resign earlier in the year. “I don’t want to look at this as though he hurt Democrats,” said Rangel in the interview. “He hurt Americans. And he didn’t enrich Republicans. He enriched Americans that have been blessed with an excessive income boom the likes of which we have never seen since the creation of this Republic.”
Some observers are already saying that this could very well be Rangel’s last term as a Congressman. There are reports that he could resign by 2012, hence opening up a potentially competitive race in New York’s 15th district. But, it also means that the former House Ways and Mean Chair will enter the fray with the demeanor of a man that will have nothing to lose politically while determined to repair his legacy at all costs. In the days ahead, we should expect the gravelly voice of “Charlie” Rangel to get a bit louder in the coming months.