Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dynamic Tension?

The Charlie Rangel situation is getting more and more interesting. While Rangel himself is digging in his heels and welcoming the ethics investigation into his alleged crimes, President Obama has taken a different position. He said the following in an interview with CBS News:

I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served -- his constituents very well. But these -- allegations are very troubling. And he'll -- he's somebody who's at the end of his career. Eighty years old. I'm sure that -- what he wants is to be able to -- end his career with dignity. And my hope is that -- it happens.

Set aside the disjointed sentence structure and rampant ageism by the President for a moment and really think about the implications of Obama's statement in the context of the rising tension between the White House and Congress. It's safe to say that Congressional Democrats and Obama aren't getting along like they used to anymore because the former can't seem to get the latter's help in supporting his agenda. The President talked a great game about health care reform, but left Congress to try to make the sale to its constituents. That didn't go well, and Obama did little to help them. This made the Congressional Democrats look bad, and I firmly believe it caused the health care reform bill to stay stuck in Congress far longer than it should have been. But it wasn't Obama who took the heat for that. It was Congress. And given some of the egos in Congress, that's not going to sit well.

There are a lot of other dynamics in play here, but the tension between the Obama White House and Congressional Democrats are going to get worse in the light of Obama's statement against Rangel before they get better.

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