So why exactly do Republicans think that Rep. Rangel (D., N.Y.) should step down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee? What’s the standard here? That people should give up their leadership positions if allegations are made against them and the press treats them as serious? As Eugene Robinson points out today, that’s not the standard Republicans applied to Tom DeLay — or, he could have added, to Newt Gingrich. Is it a standard to which Republicans really want to bind themselves for the future?
There will probably be some point in the future where Rangel’s defenestration will be appropriate. But if allegations of wrongdoing are all it takes, then we’re going to see a lot more of them, whether or not they’re justified.