More Dems Abandon Rangel

Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) made headlines as the first Democrat to call for the ethically challenged Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to resign. And she seems to have opened the floodgates.

Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID), my congressman, became the second Democrat to demand Rangel's resignation today. "I think it was appropriate for Rep. Rangel to step down from his post as a committee chair pending the investigation, but I always prefer to let voters decide whether or not someone should keep his or her seat. However, now that the investigation is complete, and provided the facts are as alleged, I think it’s clear that he should resign from Congress." Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that it's Rangel's choice alone to make. As a party leader, Hoyer has to be a good diplomat and really can't call for a Member's resignation without a conviction, so this is about as damning a statement as he could make under the circumstances. And he made it.

It would obviouslly be helpful to the party if Rangel would step aside, and it would help his district too. Seniority usually helps a district, but once a member's lost his gavel and caucus credibility as Rangel has, there are no benefits to seniority left. If Rangel left now, a new member could begin to build up seniority of their own. His refusal to resign or at least retire is proof that he doesn't have the best interests of his constituents at heart.

That said, this is a legal matter, and legally, someone is innocent until proven guilty. Justice is justice and due process is due process, so I'm more inclined to agree with Hoyer than I am Minnick and Sutton. Rangel has the right to a committee trial if he wants it, even though it would yet again prove that he values himself over his party. I certainly want him to resign and I will be apalled if the Ethics Committee cuts him a deal, but I can't in good conscience declare that the process doesn't matter and that he MUST resign.

But here's hoping, and I'm certainly glad to see Minnick and Sutton stepping forward. The last two ethics investigations to get this far both ended with the accused's eviction, and Rangel said moments ago that he expects to get a trial rather than a plea bargain, so whether he resigns or not things do not look good for "the Chairman."

Ridiculous Repub scheme to bump Pelosi

This is ridiculous. From Roll Call:

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) is trying to foment a long-shot Democratic rebellion against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that would install House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in her place after the November elections.

The scenario, as Simpson sees it, runs like this: Democrats lose a bunch of seats but cling to a narrow majority. If a handful of Democrats withhold their votes for Pelosi, Democrats would have to put up another candidate, or else Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) would become Speaker.

“I’m trying to help Steny,” Simpson said with a smile. “If it gets close enough, six or eight Blue Dogs could make the difference." ...

“Mr. Hoyer is focused on keeping the House in Democratic hands and being Majority Leader in the next Congress,” Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Grant said. Hoyer, indeed, hasn’t given any hint of challenging the Speaker.

This scheme is ridiculous. First, "six or eight Blue Dogs" might be a large part of the Blue Dog caucus, given that, like in 1994, it won't be House liberals who lose this fall. Most of their districts are safe; any voter anger at liberals will more likely take out Democrats in vulnerable districts, who are mostly the conservadems. Most pundits don't get that, and apparently neither does Simpson. Second, Dems are very loyal to Pelosi. She helped get many of them elected, lets them off the hook for tough votes when she knows she has the margin, and most importantly, is extremely effective at passing their agenda. The House health bill was better than the Senate health bill; financial regs are being watered down because of folks like SENATOR Scott Brown; climate legislation and tax extenders have passed the House but failed in the Senate.

Nancy Pelosi is a very partisan figure who knows how to hold a grudge, and I don't like that. But given her effectiveness, Democratic lawmakers aren't about to send her packing. Mike Simpson, get a life.

(Since this attempt will go nowhere, the only reason this story warrants any attention at all is that it gives one the chance to emphasize the fact that it's the Blue Dogs who will suffer, not the progressives. It caught my eye not because of the leadership "challenge" but because of the Idaho connection. Simpson is the state's other Congressman, ie, not mine, but is a big figure in western funding and politics.)

Harry Reid's Public Option Presser

Here's the conference Josh was talking about.

This is probably the boldest thing Reid has done as Majority Leader. The Q&A includes some interesting words for Olympia Snowe:

On a related note, Congress Daily says the House may vote as soon as the first week of November:

House Democratic leaders are hoping to unveil health reform legislation this week so they can vote on the package by Nov. 6.

House Majority Leader Hoyer has warned members to be available Saturday, Nov. 7, and possibly the Monday and Tuesday before Veterans Day so the chamber can vote on health care. Moving that quickly would put the House out in front of the Senate, an unexpected shift.

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Who's upset with the Omnibus Spending Bill?

When the Omnibus Spending Bill (H.R. 1105) passed in the House by 245-178, was anyone upset that it was filled with earmarks? This after Obama's team went to great lengths to avoid earmarks in the Stimulus Bill.

As Down With Tyranny pointed out this morning:

Pathetically, Democrats are defending earmarks by pointing out Republicans-- who American voters already detest for being corrupt-- do it too. Yes, they do; and that's part of why they were kicked out of office. Disgracefully, Hoyer distributed a handout yesterday claiming "You can't spell `earmark' without an `R,'" which stated that 40% of the earmark dollars included in the omnibus spending bill were put there by Republicans.
Geez! Doesn't that mean that 60% are put there by Democrats?

I know I have low personal feelings for Steny Hoyer who made that statement (and he used to be my Congressman when I lived in Greenbelt! One of the reasons it doesn't hurt to not live there anymore), but all Democrats should be down on this crap.

When is Feingold's bill to end earmarks going to go through?

Under The LobsterScope

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Blue Dogs Hold Up Impeachment and an Obama Win

The light went completely on as to who is using these anti-impeachment arguments on the Democrats when I read this article.  Obama deserves a better party than this.  Rob Kall on HuffPo says:

It's time the Democrats in Congress did what the vast majority of democrats want, and the constitution demands-- impeachment hearings for Cheney and Bush.

I've had a chance, over the past few months, to get a feel for this. I commissioned a Zogby poll which found that a big majority of Democrats wanted impeachment. I've spoken at local democratic meetings and the support for impeachment is always close to unanimous. Even at the recent Obama unity even, when I asked the 25 people in attendance if they thought Bush and Cheney should be impeached, the response was unanimous.

But Nancy Pelosi won't put impeachment "on the table." And John Conyers has offered some pathetically weak arguments on why he should not hold impeachment hearings, including the shameful argument that it will produce and adverse reaction from the right wing.

The fact is, congress's ratings are at an all time single digit low-- a well deserved rating, primarily due to the hijacking of the Democratic party by it's bluedog wing. These right wing DINOs (Democrats in name only,) led by Stenny Hoyer, have sold out The "Dem" bluedogs have sold out the Democrats who voted for them again and again. Glenn Greenwald has written about what to do about them recently. Let's give "Blue Dogs" the boot.

But meanwhile, I think the bluedogs are the reason Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers are refusing to act upon the evidence Dennis Kucinich and all the people who testified in front of the House Judiciary committee last Friday, at the pseudo impeachment hearings.

The brutal fact is, and I do believe it's a fact, impeachment hearings offer the Democrats the best chance they have of not only insuring Obama's victory, but also for taking 60 seats in the Senate.

First, I'm talking about hearings. There's no need to rush to a vote in the senate. The successful efforts to dump corrupt White house administration people never reached the senate. Both Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon were forced to resign because of HEARINGS.

The recent ruling that Harriet Meirs must testify before the House Judiciary Committee in September gives HJC Chairman Conyers the chance to do exactly what former congresswoman Liz Holtzman suggested in the near-impeachment hearings last month.  Holtzman back in the '70s was on Judiciary when they were impeaching Nixon.  Conyers would say, "this is an impeachment inquiry" which means there can be no pardons or claims of executive privilege.  To do so is automatically impeachable, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.  Bush claims Executive Privilege, there is only one way to vote.  Now you have Holtzman's "Twofer", both Bush and Cheney gone.  

This has always been a matter of political will.  The charges, crimes and evidence have always been there.  How long will this party's agenda, and talking points, be run by Democrats who should be registered Republicans, who are allowed to flout party-line votes continually without being disciplined by the leadership, without ever losing committee seats?  They should be given places of honor at the Republican convention taking place right now for all the wonderful things they have done for them.

Kall winds up:

Ask most of the Democratic party members of congress and you get a unified front -- the talking point that they don't want to waste the Congress' time. This is pure garbage -- an affront to the constitution they continue to allow to be violated by Bush and Cheney and their appointees, as the news demonstrates with new examples every day.It's time, and its the right, smart thing for the Dems to do.

But even beyond what Kall contends is an incorrect analysis by Blue Dogs of how impeachment would affect Democrats, there is a point where we must rise above the partisan politics and unite to defend what belongs to all of us, the Constitution and our constitutional rights.  Bruce Fein of the Reagan administration, in the July 25th hearings, said Bush and Cheney are eminently impeachable and that it could be swift.  Fein, a lifelong Republican, said he "never felt prouder to be an American" than when he saw Richard Nixon resign.  Fein called the Nixon impeachment "immensely unifying." Nixon broke the law, and the law applied equally to everyone.

Fein said this impeachment would differ because the Bush offenses are so "open and notorious," requiring little investigation.  

Let's face it, pro-choicers are never going to convince all pro-lifers to switch, and anti-illegal immigration activists are not going to agree with proponents of amnesty.  We Americans are a squabbling tribe, and we will always go back to being so.  But we can unite for this magic moment.  Impeachment will not divide, it will unite.  This is a holiday weekend.  Pick up the phone and leave a message at your congressman's office.  If nothing else, you can answer your grandchildren, far in the future, if things go bad and we live through endless wars against invisible enemies, lawless administrations which have seized upon the Bush precedent, when they ask:  Did you do anything to try to stop this?  Back when it was just beginning?  Did you try to stop the men who started doing these things?  At least you can tell your grandchildren, yes, it wasn't much, but I did call my congressman and said: "impeach them." It wasn't much, but I did it.

On Tuesday morning let the congressmen return from their vacations and conventions to find voice-mailboxes chock-full with renewed demands for democracy.  Chairman Conyers must not miss this opportunity.  Leave a message and say: "When Meirs testifies, as she must, declare this is a formal impeachment inquiry. Conyers must say the word." This closes the door to the administration's plan to blanket-pardon itself into the sunset, leaving 4200 fine Americans dead over lies, their families heartbroken and with children who will never know their fathers or mothers, unmeasured carnage among civilians who did not attack us, a spat-upon Constitution, and an economy broken for the benefit of the newly  rich at Halliburton.  Don't believe the Blue Dogs.  They are not on your side, nor on Obama's.

Your congressman/woman

Bruce Fein: Impeachment was "immensely unifying."

video which has footage of Bush Cheney etc. saying one thing at one time then exactly the opposite at another.

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