Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rangel to die by a thousand small knife wounds in the back? 

Does Nancy Pelosi have a Charles Rangel voodoo doll that she's using to stick pins into Charlie's back -- in the form of the House Ethics Committee?

Charles Hurt, political observer, observes...
...[an] indication that things were starting to go badly for Rangel came the morning after that vote [on Rangel's ouster] when the Congressional Black Caucus wrote Pelosi blatantly threatening that one of her most obedient voting blocs would abandon her if she abandons their beloved Rangel.

What was interesting is that the letter came one day after Democrats had protected Rangel -- meaning the CBC was getting very different signals behind the scenes.

Then came the news later that day that the Ethics Committee had unanimously decided to expand its investigation into Rangel...

The key here is that the Ethics Committee -- while supposedly independent of Pelosi -- is run by top Pelosi loyalist Zoe Lofgren, a fellow California liberal who understands exactly the trouble Pelosi is in.

If she dumps Rangel, she loses the CBC. If she keeps Rangel, Democrats will pay the price in next year's elections.

Pelosi's best bet is to be seen as trying to protect Rangel while the Ethics Committee shreds him to pieces, so that eventually he gives up or even the CBC agrees that he's damaged beyond repair.

For concrete evidence of this strategy, look no further than the startling revelation that the committee had already issued 150 subpoenas, interviewed 34 witnesses and analyzed 12,000 pages of documents probing Rangel's finances and business dealings.

"That tells me they are taking this very seriously," said a top Republican leadership aide who was previously convinced that the Ethics Committee investigation was just some kind of sham...