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Rangel defiant

Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 5:23 p.m.

"I think Charlie was marvelous in refusing to go to trial without an attorney," said the Rev. C. Vernon Mason. "They deliberately let him twist in the wind for two years, thereby exhausting his legal funds and then denied him the opportunity to seek counsel. Not having a prompt exercise of due process is a grievous miscarriage of justice."

Fellow New York congressional colleague Rep. Eliot Engel concurred with Mason and was concerned that Rangel might be condemned before the full Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has ruled on the charges. "I think that people should judge Charlie Rangel by his long career and put into perspective what has happened as of late," Engel told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. "I think he has done a very many good things for his district and for New York and for the country."

Thousands of Harlemites thought the same thing when they reelected him for a 21st term.

"What I remember most about Congressman Rangel is what he did back in the late '80s in disallowing tax breaks for corporations doing business in South Africa, which at that time was under an apartheid government," said professor Michael Thelwell of the University of Massachusetts. "For that alone, his legacy, for me, is secure."

In his autobiography, "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since," this bill is discussed as part of the "Rangel Amendment." And after the full committee's decision on Thursday, let us hope that the good congressman will not have to amend the title of his autobiography.