[This post has been UPDATED]
I have MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on to provide background noise, and I just heard (about 7:45 AM) Sen. Dick Durbin give a breathtakingly novel defense of why Rep. Charlie Rangel should keep his chairmanship. You have to understand, Durbin said, that when Rangel went in the army he was assigned to a segregated barracks, and that’s why we have to keep him.
Really. Durbin said that. I’ll provide a link when a transcript becomes available.
It wasn’t clear whether the point (if there was one) underlying Durbin’s rationale is
a) that the House needs the “diversity” that having a Ways and Means chairman who experienced segregation can provide;
b) that Rangel deserves compensation in the form of suspending rules and regulations that apply to other Congressmen; or
c) that those who personally experienced segregation have been so damaged by their experience that they cannot be expected to meet the same legal and ethical standards expected of others (but they can be trusted to write the tax laws that others must obey).
He also found Democratic strategist saying, as if on cue, the same thing:
I think Charlie Rangel deserves his day in court, if you will. This is somebody who served in the Korean war, was put in a segregated unit, fought in a segregated unit, came home to serve his country, and has been there for a long, long time.