Monday, August 09, 2010

'I Think Rangel's a Sleaze Ball'

No wonder Republicans want to keep Charles Rangel around and Democrats are eager for him to disappear. The guy could be electoral gold come November. He's already become an issue in upstate New York, far from his own district.
More than 200 miles from Harlem, Charlie Rangel has become a household name. That's a problem for Rep. Michael Arcuri.

The Oneida County Democrat, locked in one of the tightest House races in the nation, has in recent months scrambled to cut ties with the embattled Rangel. Arcuri was the first -- and so far only -- Democratic congressman from New York to urge Rangel to quit in the wake of 13 ethics charges.

In March, he gave to charity $23,000 in campaign contributions from the longtime Harlem lawmaker.

Conversations with voters in Arcuri's hometown of Utica explain his hasty retreat from one of Congress' most senior Democrats.

"I think Rangel's a sleaze ball," Gisela Bronga, a Republican who voted for Arcuri in both of his congressional wins, said as she left a Walmart. "Basically, I think he's sleazy."

Lifelong Democrat Jim Luvera agreed.

"Rangel should resign right now for the good of the party," he said at Caffe Caruso in Utica's Italian East End. "He's been in there long enough. It's time for him to get out."

Voters were quick to condemn Rangel's conduct and generally praised Arcuri's decision to call on Rangel to resign. But the Republican candidate for the seat, Richard Hanna, slammed Arcuri's attack on a former ally as "opportunism."

"It's pure hypocrisy," Hanna said. "Charlie Rangel is a bad guy tomorrow, yesterday and last year. Siding with Rangel for three years and then going against him one afternoon because [President] Obama says it's OK is not a profile in principle or courage."
When have Democrats ever displayed courage? It's al about political expediency and survival.

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