Rangel, the Race Card, and Iraq

Charlie Rangel is trying to fight off several primary challengers, ethics charges and–who knows?–possibly jail time for tax evasion. What to do? The Post headlines: “Desperate Rangel wraps self in civil rights.”

Rep. Charles Rangel played the race card yesterday as he entered the final stretch of his renomination campaign before the Sept. 14 primary.
Speaking to scores of supporters at an outdoor celebration organized by church leaders in Harlem, the embattled Democrat described himself as a “foot soldier” in African-Americans’ struggle for equality, and urged everyone to vote for him to keep the fight alive.
“All of you remember that this fight is never, never going to end. I’m just one of the foot soldiers; just one of those [who] fought in the march so that one day our kids [will] be able to say, ‘Do you remember when there was bigotry and prejudice in this country? Do you remember when there wasn’t fairness?’
“This is not Charlie Rangel’s struggle. All over this country these things are happening,” Rangel said.

Remember the good old days when the last refuge of a scoundrel was patriotism? But this is like the Democrats’ attempt to race-bait the Tea Party movement; I doubt whether anyone actually takes it seriously. What struck me most about Rangel’s defense, however, was his aligning himself with President Obama:

Rangel defended the president yesterday and put him in the same category as other African-American politicians who are under pressure because of race.
“It’s very difficult to understand . . . when the commander-in-chief is leading our great nation involved in two wars for people to be so overtly critical of him knowing, knowing, that the enemies of democracy are listening to that — it’s just not right,” Rangel said after the rally.

So Rangel, evidently, has seen the light! When President Bush was “the commander-in-chief leading our great nation in two wars,” Rangel had no problem being “overtly critical” of him. As, for example, when he said that Bush’s “fraudulent war” in Iraq was “as bad as the Holocaust”. Or when he quipped that Bush had “shattered the myth of white supremacy,” or when he accused Bush of “throw[ing] away lives in Iraq”. No doubt the “enemies of democracy” were listening then, too, but for Rangel–as, to be fair, for a great many Democrats–that was then, and this is now.

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