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Rangel Hands Out Free Turkeys in Harlem

From an admiring New York Times:

Thanksgiving Ritual Gives Rangel a Respite

November 23, 2010

[O]n Tuesday, Representative Charles B. Rangel seemed almost willfully upbeat as he strode into his old Harlem political club to hand out turkeys to needy constituents, a Thanksgiving ritual that allowed him to speak publicly about something other than his political future. If only for a moment.

“I’m putting today in front of me,” Mr. Rangel told reporters curbside at 128th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, as dozens of bundled-up and mostly elderly womenthe lucky holders of about 120 tickets that were given out by several community groups — waited inside for the congressman to start loading their grocery carts.

“These people here are not the least bit concerned about anything but how they’re going to get their families together on Thanksgiving,” Mr. Rangel said. “It just seems to me that I have a moral obligation to take care of them — and then, when I get to Washington, take care of me.”

Inside the political club, as photographers captured his forced smiles, Mr. Rangel loudly took charge, herding recipients toward the free groceries and whistling with two fingers to clear a path to the door. For about 20 minutes, he handed out 18-pound Butterballs — donated by the nearby Fairway supermarket, a club member said — and bags of fixings, accepting heartfelt thank-yous, handshakes and expressions of loyalty in return.

Imagine, the great man handed out turkeys for 20 minutes! But notice that Mr. Rangel didn’t have all that much to do with this generosity. "Community groups" organized the lottery, and the turkeys themselves were provided by Fairway’s – a store which even advertises on the Rush Limbaugh show.

But in the best tradition of Democrat machine politics, they did their best to make it seem like the turkeys were coming from Mr. Rangel.

“He’s good; I don’t care what they say,” said Mary Reed, who was given a ticket for a turkey because of her participation in the tenant patrol in the Manhattanville Houses, a city housing project. “He does help the people. That’s the important thing.”

The political club, named for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has been distributing turkeys for years, but the giveaway on Tuesday was overshadowed by Mr. Rangel’s problems.

Aides choreographed it to look like a spontaneous show of support; Mr. Rangel called the turnout “a very pleasant surprise.” But the stagecraft suggested a calling-in of debts.

Or it could have just been that people showed up who wanted a free turkey.

A campaign worker and former House aide, holding a bullhorn scrawled with Mr. Rangel’s initials, got onlookers to chant the congressman’s name as he arrived.

The onlookers and volunteers, too, consisted largely of people who owed something to Mr. Rangel, including more than a dozen loudly chanting construction workers in hard hats from a job-training group called Positive Workforce.

Mr. Rangel, who was the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee before relinquishing that post during the ethics investigation, earmarked $240,000 for Positive Workforce to buy and renovate an East Harlem building this year. The group received $250,000

Yes, Mr. Rangel is good to his people. (And what a timely argument this is against earmarks.)

But did anyone from the media think to ask if the building they are renovating is one of Mr. Rangel’s rent controlled apartments?

[A] middle-age man walked up and edged his way into the media scrum next to Mr. Rangel. “Keep the faith!” the man said, his hands shaking as he spoke. “Y’all should all look at all the goodness that this man has been doing.”

Mr. Rangel, grinning broadly, turned back to the cameras, saying, “He makes a lot of sense.”

Let’s hope Mr. Rangel gave this shaky middle-aged man an extra Fairways turkey for efforts.

Still, could anything be more symbolic of the sad state of politics in our country? Even Hugo Chavez would blush at such an obvious and pathetic show.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Rangel Hands Out Free Turkeys in Harlem”

  1. Mithrandir says:

    Ah good theater! (amazing that the media was there to capture all this!)

    ~Show up for photo-op for a whole 20 minutes.
    ~Pretend to donate turkeys donated by someone else.
    ~Have your rent-a-mob show up for you.
    ~Say prepared statements from cameraman’s cue.
    ~Let the liberal editors craft it properly for t.v. or print.

    I am surprised a trophy wasn’t awarded to Rangel! Whenever a Democrat screws up and/or embarrasses himself, they usually hand out a trophy from one of their millions of non-profit civic groups.

  2. proreason says:

    These people rule us.

  3. White_Polluter says:

    Marc Jacobsen wrote about this very same practice in “American Gangster,” his collection of short stories about New York. In that article, Rangled made sure that a constituent who had not completed the proper paperwork to receive a turkey got his. The constituent just showed up and said he was owed a turkey. I thought at the time what a wonderful example of liberalism at work. Don’t bother with the rules, don’t bother standing in line, don’t worry about all the others who did the right thing, who listened to the rules, who did what the were asked, instead just jump to the front because it’s all about you. And then have the congressman validate you because your not just an ass****, you’re a victim. Much like Charley was a victim of the Ethics committee. It’s time we realize who the ass****s are and just who are the victims.

  4. Reality Bytes says:

    Meanwhile, Obama pardoned a turkey at the White House. The bird, A TYPICAL WHITE TURKEY was last seen headed for Chicago to work on the Rahm Emanual mayoral campaign.

  5. Right of the People says:

    Where did these turkeys come from? Did Revs Jesse and Al extort them from Whole Foods?

  6. canary says:

    Wonder how much crack a turkey will buy?

    Something they need to do to lesson food stamp fraud is make it wear people can’t sell their food stamps.
    This would reduce the drug addicts. They’d have to cash their own food stamps & then sell or trade their food stamps to people that actually are hungry.

  7. Chuckk says:

    I wonder if Rangwl “forgot” he has a trukey farm hidden away in a warehouse in Harlem. It might be fun to look into the queston.

  8. Liberals Demise says:

    What a waste of time and space. I’m willing to bet Teddy is getting a bed of coals stoked up for his emanate arrival. I am sure they’ll have plenty to talk about.

  9. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Rangel to Ask House to Reject Censure Ruling

    From a heartbroken AP http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/28/rangel-ask-house-reject-censure-ruling/

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Charles Rangel is ready to make a last stand to salvage his reputation and tell the House that a censure should be reserved for crooked politicians.

    He will argue that he’s not one of them.

    The 80-year-old Democrat from New York’s Harlem neighborhood wants his punishment for ethics violations downgraded to a reprimand, according to congressional and nongovernment sources who are in touch with Rangel but are not authorized to be quoted by name.

    Rangel will ask the House ethics committee chairman, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., for time to plead his case on the floor of the House, where he has served for 40 years, including a stint as chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

    The ethics committee voted 9-1 on Nov. 18 that Rangel should be censured for committing 11 counts of fundraising and financial misdeeds that violated House rules.

    There is precedent for Rangel’s argument that censure — the most severe punishment short of expulsion — is too harsh in his case. It won’t be easy because he’ll have to overcome the overwhelming vote of a committee that has an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.

    Rangel plans to argue that censure has been imposed for violations including bribery, accepting improper gifts, personal use of campaign funds and sexual misconduct; none is present in his case.

    So, Charlie Rangel, who was at Selma Alabama, shouldn’t be censured for other infractions because they don’t match what other (non-black) people did. Well, I sure hope it works out for the guy; Wouldn’t want him to feel discriminated against. What with all those millions of dollars he has and all… (just sayin’)

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