Congresswoman Maxine Waters, California Democrat, and Congressman Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, both facing charges from the House Ethics Committee, have hinted that fellow party members at large could very well be turning their backs on them. While there have been calls for Mr. Rangel to resign from 11 Democrats, Maxine Waters has managed to duck such calls.
Using a point of personal privilege, Mr. Rangel took to the House floor on Tuesday afternoon and aired a long grievance list regarding the aftermath of being charged by the ethics committee. He made it clear he will not resign despite calls for his ouster by some Democrats.
“If I was you, I may want me to go away, too. Hey, I’m not going away,” Mr. Rangel said. “I’m here…you’re not going to tell me to resign to make you feel comfortable.” The New York Democrat also reminded his fellow party members, “I’m the guy that was raising money in Republican districts to get you here.”
Ms. Waters spoke to a local public radio program in California last Thursday and defended herself before the House Ethics Committee released the ethics violations against her on Monday.
Ms. Waters talked about whether or not leaders in Congress were standing behind her, and her response was not reassuring that Democratic leadership was necessarily fighting for her.
“Oh I don’t know about this business about who stands with you or who stands…I don’t even understand that game,” she said. “I think you stand on truth and at some point in time if people would like to reveal whether or not they believe you, they will do it, but I don’t go around organizing people to say ‘stand behind me, support me.’ I think the facts will speak for itself.”
Ms. Waters also believes the only reason she and Mr. Rangel are being compared is because of their race, she said “I see people talking about us (Rangel and Waters) in the same vein, and someone wrote that our charges are so different. The only reason we are talked about in the same vein is because we are both African Americans.”
However, Ms. Waters and Mr. Rangel are both considered prominent Democrats facing ethics charges right before the November midterms. It should be remembered Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, campaigned for Democrats to take back the House in 2006 on a platform to clean up ethics problems among members. In the speaker’s own words, she wanted to “drain the swamp.”
House Republicans now find themselves with a strong chance to take back the House after Ms. Pelosi stamped the GOP as having a “culture of corruption” during the 2006 campaigns. Comparisons between Mr. Rangel and Ms. Waters are bound to happen regardless of race.
Mr. Rangel will soon see which Democrats truly support him on Wednesday, when a belated birthday gala for the 80-year-old congressman happens in New York City.