The columnist’s lead was an attention-grabber: “Charlie Rangel is no crook.” Amid the swirl of denunciations of Rangel, the Democratic congressman from New York accused of breaking House rules — even President Obama strongly indicated he thinks Rangel done wrong and should go — The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson came to the defense.
Robinson writes the charges against Rangel range from “the technical all the way to the trivial” and that the congressman didn’t gain monetarily from any of his alleged transgressions. That’s certainly debatable. Rangel allegedly failed to declare rental income from vacation property in the Caribbean — the kind of omission that lands regular people in jail. No big deal, Robinson writes, because Rangel paid back what he owed in taxes, penalties and interest. As for allegedly using his official House letterhead to raise money for a college program bearing his name, Rangel is guilty only of padding his ego, not his pocket, Robinson writes. Move along, nothing to see here, seems to be the columnist’s attitude. Really?
So much for the crusading columnist, actively comforting the afflicted/afflicting the comforted, eh? Never mind the symptoms of entitlement and privilege wafting from Rangel’s ethics file. Hard to imagine Robinson, paid to propound liberal positions in The Post, giving such a wide berth to any of Rangel’s conservative colleagues.