A resolute Rangel waits

Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 5:28 p.m.

No matter the charges, Rangel appears to be resolute in his stance. "I've put in 80 years on these streets, minus four with the Army," Rangel told a gaggle of admirers recently. "They really don't think this thing is the most important thing to them."

Even so, there are a number of Harlemites who feels its time for him to bow out gracefully and not endure any further humiliation that may lead to his being carried out on his shield.

"When you survey the Democratic ranks and consider the number of elected officials out there, many of them owe their positions to Congressman Rangel," Assemblyman Wright said. "And if those Democrats want to return the money he helped facilitate to them, then they should return it directly to him because that would help defray his legal expenses."

Wright said that Rangel had committed no crime, unlike Rep. Jim Traficant, an outspoken and often irascible Ohio Democrat who was accused and convicted of taking bribes and filing false tax returns.

"Hey, we call him the 'Lion of Lenox Avenue,' and we expect him to continue his successful tenure into his 21st term," said Wright, clearly minimizing the presumed contenders. "When you've been in office as long as he has, then he's obviously done a lot of right things."