Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rangel's birthday gift to the Republican Party

News coverage of Charlie Rangel's birthday party fundraiser, attended by all the New York Democratic party big shots and elected officials, was the equivalent of a multi million dollar national political advertising buy for the Republican party.

It was a dramatic but fitting start to an evening that brimmed with political defiance. About 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, as guests began strolling into the Plaza Hotel to celebrate Representative Charles B. Rangel’s 80th birthday, former Mayor David N. Dinkins turned to confront a heckler.

“You know you are attending a party for a crook,” the man yelled.

At that, Mr. Dinkins, a paragon of statesmanship and dignity, raised his middle finger at the man, displaying it for all to see, according to witnesses, whose accounts were confirmed by the former mayor.

. . . And a raucous, at times celebratory, mood prevailed as Dionne Warwick belted out her famous pop ballad “That’s What Friends Are For” and Harry Belafonte rubbed elbows with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

. . . The state’s senior senator, Charles E. Schumer, and the state attorney general and Democratic nominee for governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, who had relentlessly dodged questions about their attendance, showed up and spoke warmly about Mr. Rangel, steering clear of the ethics charges against him.

Mayor Dinkins' act was appropriate. The night was a raised middle finger at the voters.