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November 27, 2006

A Clarification Of Rep. Rangel's Remarks

"I am not a warrior, but who is?" he shrugged. "I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it."

- Oscar van den Boogaard, Dutch secular gay humanist on the Islamification of Europe

In the interests of fairness, the half vast editorial staff feels a duty to clarify certain unfortunate remarks made by the Honorable Charles Rangel. It has come to our attention that certain reich-wing sites known as "weblogs" have been circulating highly misleading video of the Congressman which uninformed or malicious persons may be passing off as his actual thoughts on the matter.

Fortunately, the recent vicious attacks on Senator John Kerry by right wing nut jobs taught the American public an important lesson: we should never, never assume any relationship between the literal words spoken by various public figures and their actual thoughts on the issues of the day.

After all, we now know that when a public servant speaks there may be up to four "official versions" of his prepared remarks lying in wait to tell us what he really meant to say and if we would just stop trying to think for ourselves, the press will discover and interpret them for us.

Having watched this extremely dangerous video, we now feel the only morally and intellectually responsible course of action is to denounce John Hinderaker in the strongest possible terms and distance ourselves from shameless partisan statements like this:

Better yet, Rangel promises hearings that will prove that American soldiers are dumb, ill-educated and otherwise unemployable!

Judge for yourself. What Rep. Rangel really meant to say could not be clearer:

QUESTION: Contrary to what you’ve been saying, isn’t the volunteer Army better educated and more well to do than the general population?

REP. RANGEL: Of course not.

REP. RANGEL: The record is clear and once we are able to get hearings on this everyone will see what they already know and that is that those who have the least opportunities at this age find themselves in the military as I did when I was 18 years old.


No, we feel sure that Rep. Rangel's unfortunate statements cannot possibly have been intentional. Surely, after having just been told that the more military recruits have high school educations and are from more affluent areas than the average American, Rep. Rangel did not turn around and say that the military was LESS educated than the average American and that no "bright" young man would choose to fight for his country? Surely he didn't say that our volunteer military are little more than mercenaries?

Those choosing to enlist in the military do so for a variety of reasons. Many are interested in economic factors, such as skills training and GI Bill educational benefits. For some it is travel and adventure. But the primary reason young people join the military today is service to their country. What we are witnessing in this time of war is a larger proportion of enlistees joining the military primarily for duty, honor and patriotism. Economic factors, while still important, are secondary for many.

Surely this must be some kind of botched joke:

No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits.

Clearly Rep. Rangel is out of touch with the young men and women currently serving in Iraq, with their background and their motivation for serving or he could not possibly make such demeaning and insulting remarks. Obviously this young graduate of Duke University whose parents are both college educated professionals joined the military to escape the economic and intellectual impoverishment of her Red State Southern background:

While many of my peers from Duke University work in the top financial institutions in New York and the influential political offices in Washington, D.C., I would not hesitate to compare their competency to those of my Marines and the U.S. troops serving in Iraq and at home. While the education in the "arts and sciences" may not be of equal quality, the dedication, integrity, courage, and initiative of our men and women in uniform is unmatched. A college graduate makes daily decisions that may affect my bank account, but 18 and 19 year old Marines make daily life and death decisions. Which education is more viable?

In my post-college education in Iraq I came across the below quote...

"Does there exist beneath heaven a spectacle more debased than that of a demagogue orating before the masses? Each syllable screeches of shamelessness, and why? Because we discern, hearing this vile wretch pimp himself to the multitude, that his speech springs not from the true conviction of his soul, but is crafted cunningly to truckle to the whim of the mob. He seeks his own advancement by their favor and will say anything, however wicked or infamous, to promote his stature in their eyes..."

And this poor yokel obviously had no other choice than to pick up a gun and blindly follow orders:

I am a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I am currently on my second tour in Iraq, a tour in which I volunteered for. I speak Arabic and Spanish and I plan to tackle Persian Farsi soon. I have a Bachelors and an Associates Degree and between deployments I am pursuing an M.B.A. In college I was a member of several academic honor societies, including the Golden Key Honor Society. I am not unique among the enlisted troops. Many of my enlisted colleagues include lawyers, teachers, mechanics, engineers, musicians and artists just to name a few....

Perhaps Rep. Rangel might care to listen to the advice this poor, uneducated Sergeant gave Senator Kerry. After all, even a stopped clock is right twice a day:

I am not a victim of President Bush. I proudly serve him because he is my Commander in Chief. If it was you who was President, I would serve you just as faithfully. I serve America Senator Kerry, and I am also providing a service to the good people of Iraq. I have not terrorized them in the middle of the night, raped them or murdered them as you have accused me of before. I am doing my part to help them rebuild. My role is a simple one, but important. You see Senator Kerry, like it or not, we came here and removed a tyrant (who terrorized Iraqis in the middle of the night, and raped them and murdered them). And we have a responsibility to see to it that another one doesnt take his place. The people of Iraq are recovering from an abusive relationship with a terrible government and its going to take some time to help them recover from that. We can't treat this conflict like a microwave dinner and throw a temper tantrum because we feel like its taking too long.

Senator Kerry, you don't have to agree with this war. You don't have to say nice things about those of us who choose to make sacrifices for the rights of every American rather than sit back and simply feel entitled to it. But please Senator Kerry, if you're going to call me a stupid murdering rapist, stick by what you say. Don't tell me that I misunderstood or that you would never insult a veteran because you are one too. Having been there and done that does not give you a free pass to insult me.

My suggestion for you, Senator Kerry, is to remember that your speeches are recorded, and broadcast to us simpletons over here. You may want to write down what you want to say before you say it, maybe have somebody look at it before you say it and tell you what others might hear. Remember that we can't read your mind, if there are any misinterpretations in what you say, it's because you didn't communicate clearly.

We await what we are sure will be a most reassuring clarification of Rep. Rangel's remarks with complete confidence.

Because surely, he did not mean what he just said.

Posted by Cassandra at November 27, 2006 05:08 AM

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Seems to be a pattern developing.

Posted by: Sgt Hook at November 27, 2006 08:02 AM

"We await what we are sure will be a most reassuring clarification of Rep. Rangel's remarks with complete confidence.

Because surely, he did not mean what he just said."

I wouldn't wait too long, thus deferring more useful activity. Rep. Rangel seems driven to appear as often as he can before the public only in order to dance around questions. I suspect the folks at Fox love to indulge such a transparent example of an evasive, greasy panderer. In spite of this high refinement of political skill, he has not (to my knowledge) ever striven for a higher office. One reflects that it is this lack of ambition coupled with a thorough knowledge of what is acceptable to his district's power structure that permits him to occasionally issue the type of broadly offensive statement that you have cited. It brings to mind a line from Casablanca:

"I don't mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one."

Posted by: socialism_is_error at November 27, 2006 08:41 AM

*fingers in ears*

LALALALALALALALALA I'm not listening until
Katie Couric reads the tea leaves on the teleprompter.

Shameless tech wench. How DARE you take them at their word? It is nuance, cherie.

Posted by: Cricket at November 27, 2006 09:15 AM

I think we need more cowbell, not more Rangel.

But then, who am I to argue with POWERLINE!! ?

Then again, how about more cowbell AND more Rangel? Is that a compromise we can live with??

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at November 27, 2006 11:54 AM

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