Pelosi’s Stark Contrast
The buzzards are circling over embattled House Ways & Means Chairman Charles Rangel.
Speaker Pelosi’s defense of the veteran New York Congressman, who’s on the hot seat for undeclared income and corporate-paid trips to the Caribbean, has been tepid at best.
Now, House Republicans are pushing a resolution, and a vote later this week, to strip Rangel of his committee chair.
What if Republicans got their way?
Pelosi would have to decide if the Ways & Means gig would go to the man next in line for the job fellow California Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark, the chamber’s resident atheist and resident loose cannon.
That is, unless she skips over Stark.
Which is what happened a few years ago when Rep. Henry Waxman jumped over Rep. John Dingell in a hostile takeover of the mega-powerful House Energy and Commerce committee.
Of course, that was one very powerful Californian (Pelosi) looking out for another (Waxman) — a stark contrast to what could be Stark’s fate.
Here’s what the Los Angeles Times had to say about Stark last October, in looking at Ways & Means’ life after Rangel:
“He once called the American Medical Assn. a bunch of “greedy troglodytes.” He assailed one Republican colleague as “a whore for the insurance industry,” called another a “fascist” and a third a “fruitcake.” Recently, when a pesky journalist asked the same question too many times, Stark threatened to throw him out the window.
“Oh yes, oh yes, I personalize it and I shouldn’t,” Stark says, slouched in a chair, confronting what he calls “my outbursts” like a chagrined schoolboy who might do it again anyway. “A member has a right to have a position different from mine without my challenging their mental capacity, their integrity, their manhood, their womanhood.”
As for other “outbursts” . . .
So Stark doesn’t play nice with others.
But there’s a bigger problem: he’s no ethics puritan either.
Stark originally said he did not recall completing the application online. Later in the interview, the memorandum says, he said he knew he completed the application.”
Leaving Speaker Pelosi to ask Casey Stengel’s question: can’t anybody here play this game?