Friday, August 27, 2010

Can Harlem Do No Better?

Harlem is currently represented in Congress by Charles Rangel, a 20-term Democrat who is facing 13 ethics charges that could result in his expulsion from Congress and criminal charges stemming from multiple ethics, legal, and tax problems that I've repeatedly commented upon.

Facing him in a primary is Adam Clayton Powell IV, whose father was Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Powell the younger came out and made the ludicrous claim that his father would be appalled by Rangel's actions.
Challenger Adam Clayton Powell 4th attacked Rep. Charles Rangel's character on Thursday night with the audacious claim that his dad - the current congressman's rogue predecessor - would be appalled by Rangel's behavior.

"My father...might be turning over in his grave if he saw some of the political trickery that has been going on over the last 40 years," Powell said at a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

The Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., elected to the House from Harlem in 1944, was one of the most powerful black politicians of his era. But a corruption scandal - including helping himself to taxpayer funds for vacations to the Bahamas - led to his expulsion in 1967.

He got his seat back after the 1968 election but not his clout. Neophyte Rangel finished him off in the 1970 primary. Two years later, Powell died.
Really? Powell's father engaged in corruption and all manner of unethical behavior that led to Powell's expulsion from Congress. Rangel won the election in 1970 over Powell on the basis of cleaning up the corrupt mess that Powell left.

Now, the son is in the position that Rangel was in 40 years ago, except that Powell is revising history to ignore the reason that Rangel entered Congress in the first place; his father's corruption.

And there's little reason to think that Powell IV will do any better than Rangel or Powell's father in the corruption department. Harlem needs better representation - one that does not have links to the stench of corruption left by either Powell or Rangel. Harlem must do better, but alas I expect Harlem to reelect Rangel to yet another term in office despite the legal and ethics woes.

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