The back-story behind Democratic Representative Eric Massa's sudden decision to retire - allegations of sexual harassment against one of his male staff members. Add in Charlie Rangel's ethical problems and some are already drawing parallels to the Republican ethical scandals that precipitated their loss of Congress in 2006. No wonder Rangel's fellow Democrats insisted that he step down of his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee. Of course, 78-year old Pete Stark is not an improvement. That's why some House democrats are objecting to Stark taking over the committee. He's not the smoothest person, to say the least.
POLITICO reported earlier this week that officials found Stark “extremely belligerent” toward investigators from the Office of Congressional Ethics and that Stark had used a semihidden video camera to tape his interview during a probe of whether he improperly applied for a homestead tax exemption in Maryland even though his official residence is in California.
The incident is just one in a series of stranger-than-fiction episodes featuring the tart-tongued Stark.
He once accused a former Republican Ways and Means Committee colleague, Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, of getting her information from “pillow talk” and called her a “whore for the insurance industry.” And he called another former committee member, Scott McInnis of Colorado, a “little fruitcake.”
He pointed his finger at Jewish members as a cause of the 1991 Gulf War.
In 2007, he accused Republicans of sending soldiers to Iraq “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”
Republicans gleefully circulated some of Stark’s top hits Wednesday — a bit of a warning shot for any Democrats who thought handing him the gavel would give them a respite from Rangel’s bad headlines.
How convenient: one of the Democratic representatives who voted against the health care bill in November is Utah's Jim Matheson. And now President Obama has just nominated the Representative's brother to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. It might be totally unrelated, but now Representative Matheson will have to decide whether he wants to risk switching his "no" vote to a "yes" and face allegations that he was bought off by his brother's nomination.
Geert Wilders' party won several local election in the Netherlands and Mark Steyn notes how the politically motivated prosecution of Wilders for supposed Islamophobia doesn't seem to be working out for the mainstream politicians there.
David Broder finds all the Washington Post praise of Rahm Emanuel at the expense of Barack Obama as both strange and in the tradition of Washington journalists thinking they can give better political advice to a president.